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NOTE: This column features NBIA members who have found creative ways to better manage their programs and serve clients. If your program has found a unique way to improve operations, let us know by sending an e-mail to news@nbia.org.

December 2011

When Gregg Fairbrothers began teaching "Introduction to Entrepreneurship" at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 2004, he wanted to do something a little different.

"Instead of having just a couple dozen upper-class business students, I wanted to open it to a lot more people because I thought they'd find it useful," he says. So, the college allowed others to audit the course: Dartmouth alumni, students from other disciplines, and when it opened two years later, clients of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center in Lebanon, N.H., where Fairbrothers is founding chairman. The nonprofit incubation program operates a 32,500-square-foot, mixed-use facility weighted toward technology and tech transfer.

"That class grew pretty quickly," Fairbrothers says, "from the original couple dozen to more than 300 people last year." Normally, the college restricts class audits, which is part of why the course is exceptional. The class grew so large, it required a second room equipped with a video feed.

"The goal was to cast a broad net, to bring in those who just want to be more entrepreneurial where they are. Some of the incubator clients are the most serious students because they know why they're there."

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Keywords: Seminars and training programs, Professional development – client, Client services-general, University partnerships

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