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IU East looks to take ‘BOSS’ program statewide

(IIB Photo)

RICHMOND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) —  Legendary tennis star Venus Williams says her IU East experience gave her the wings to fly in the business world once she left tennis. The university is currently working to produce the next generation of business leaders through a program called BOSS, or Business Opportunities for Self Starters. “It’s given a lot of students the opportunity to dream and think bigger than what they had before,” said Tim Scales, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at IU East.

Scales discussed the program and his plans to take it statewide in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick. Click here to watch interview.

BOSS was originally created 15 years ago as a two-year pilot project focused on high school students. Scales says the program has been self-sustaining since its inception and has served more than 5,000 students.

“Several of those students have started businesses, mostly starting small and growing big,” said Scales. “You know, 15 years ago, it might’ve just been one or two small businesses. Today, there are much larger businesses that are coming out of it. So, it takes time for entrepreneurship to grow, but it’s just been amazing the opportunities the students have taken advantage of through the program.”

Over time, participating students have worked to grow the program. Cole Fosbrink, a recent IU East graduate, and a couple of his classmates created CEO, or Cash Equal Opportunities, which teaches financial literacy.

“We noticed that not much financial literacy was being taught in high schools. So, we just created a program – myself and two other students – to create a curriculum that just teaches financial literacy and personal finance to high school kids,” said Fosbrink.

Scales says he has plans to grow the BOSS program by taking it around the state.

“This year, we just finished a two week pilot at the IU East campus, and the pilot program is the BOSS Experience,” he said. “And that was with graduate students – the students who recently graduated from the college. So next year, I want to take the pilot program from this year [and] take it statewide. So I would love next year to see every IU campus involved in the BOSS Experience. And then after that, we’ll see where it goes across the state but next year for sure all IU campuses.”

You can learn more about the BOSS program by clicking here.