• Harper College News Bureau
  • February 14, 2018

Entrepreneurship and new businesses play a large role in the U.S. economy. As Harper
College’s Entrepreneurship Program continues to grow, so will the opportunities for
students to create their dream business.

Nate Reuben was able to start his right after graduating with an associate degree
in business in fall 2015. Reuben Digital Media (RDM) in Buffalo Grove is now three
years old and a budding full-service digital agency that runs websites and social
media channels for small- and medium-sized businesses.

When it was time to find an intern, Reuben knew he didn’t have to look far.

“RDM’s very first intern was a Harper student, my sister Hannah, who started in January
of 2016,” he said. “After a year of building my business with her and my mom, Michelle,
we decided to look for outside help. Our first stop was Harper College.”

Through Harper’s Entrepreneurship Program and courses focused on leadership, creativity,
innovation and mining funding sources, students gather and create business plans,
strategies and resources for starting their own business. By taking an entrepreneurial
financing class, for example, students learn how to design a crowdfunding campaign
that can help them pay for their business. Other courses center on creativity and
business strategy.

“It’s a mindset of working with minimal resources and coming up with a myriad of ideas
and being innovative and thinking differently,” Marie Farber-Lapidus, the Entrepreneurship
Program coordinator, said about the curriculum.

After speaking to a business simulation class on campus, Reuben met Harper Business
Administration-Marketing student Angela Schiavon. He was impressed immediately.

“She had a nice strong handshake, made good eye contact and I could tell she was interested,”
Reuben said.

Schiavon was looking for an internship, and Reuben’s presentation that day, in which
he mentioned he was looking for interns, led her to introduce herself.

“I was one of two people that spoke with him and he encouraged me to apply for their
Marketing/Social Media internship,” Schiavon, 22, of Roselle, said. “I went home that
night and applied immediately.”

Although students are encouraged to find an internship themselves, the Entrepreneurship
Program made it easy for Schiavon to find one in which she could prosper.

“I got real-world experience and fell in love with the digital marketing industry,”
she said. “Not to mention the company culture aligned perfectly with my personality,
so it made the experience just that much greater.”

Reuben also thought Schiavon fit in well at RDM, enough to offer her a full-time job
once she graduated in spring 2017. She is now a marketing account executive.

In addition to internship help, Harper’s Entrepreneurship Program works to develop
a student’s entrepreneurial mindset by infusing real-world perspectives and opportunities
into the curriculum. The program also includes the Dream Big-Angel Grant competition
held each spring in which student businesses vie for up to $25,000 in funding. Another
$25,000 is awarded to small businesses throughout the 23 communities that Harper serves.

Other new additions to the program will support student success, as well. One will
be a space located in the library, set to reopen in spring 2018 after a total renovation.
Here students will study, work and take advantage of the program’s resources, such
as a 3D printer and a laser cutter.

Harper’s Entrepreneurship Program not only helps its own students, but also alumni.

“I am very happy to be involved with Harper today,” Reuben said. “Serving on the Business
and Web Advisory boards, I am grateful to use my Harper experience to give back to
today’s students.”

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