The hidden gem of the third floor of J.R. Howard Hall is, without a doubt, the John E. and Susan S. Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership. In offering a Seed Grant Program, hosting Lunch with a Leader sessions and workshops throughout the year, as well as Winterim at the end of each winter break, the Bates Center is a resource for every student at Lewis & Clark, not just students in entrepreneurship classes.
After two years of participating in Winterim, I can say that this program alone shows the dedication the Bates Center has to LC students. Winterim is more than just a fun way to come back to campus after winter break: it is challenging, exciting and a much better networking opportunity than any of the career fairs.
For lots of students, Winterim is just a title on a poster or a flyer you see around campus each fall semester. If you participate, though, it is so much more. Winterim is a week-long program packed full of workshops and opportunities for anyone with even the smallest interest in entrepreneurship. At the beginning of the week you are paired with your two teammates, and throughout the program you learn about everything from personal financial literacy to modeling and financing businesses. Between these workshops, you and your teammates will develop a product to present in a pitch competition on the last day.
As you learn more about how your business will develop, almost every team pivots to a different idea or two before they settle on their final product. You might come up with a physical product, like a vertical gardening kit or pressure-sensitive floor tiles, or you might decide on a digital product, working through an online business or app. You do not have to know how to program, or the difference between a for-profit or non-profit company, and you do not have to have an idea beforehand — all you need is the desire to solve a problem.
One of the key features of the Bates Center is how incredible its employees are with their willingness to help and work with individual students. If you do not have time in your schedule to go to one of their Lunch with a Leader events, ask Associate Director Chrys Hutchings or Associate Director of Operations Catarina Hunter and see if you could talk to the speaker before or after the event. If the price tag of Winterim turns you away, ask about the grants the Bates Center provides for students who demonstrate financial need.
The Bates Center provides resources through a network that exponentially supplements the Career Center on campus, and centers around tying LC’s liberal arts roots to the outside world to help students bring what we have learned here into our futures. By focusing on the liberal arts-based ability to look at problems from many different directions, the Bates Center will do its best to give you everything you need to make those real-world solutions a reality.