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Entrepreneurship & Innovation News

Ivy Tech Evansville Announces Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

New Program to Work to Equip Entrepreneurs with Key Skills for Success

Ivy Tech Community College today announced a new school at the Evansville campus, designed with programming to give students the skills they need to become entrepreneurs and innovators. The Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation will launch this fall, and the first cohort of students is now being filled.

The school has been named for South Bend Businessman Larry Garatoni and his wife Judy, following a $2.5 million gift to the college. Garatoni has owned and managed a dozen companies in health care, information technology, and digital commerce over a 40-year business career. He is also the founder of the Career Academy and the Success Academy charter schools in South Bend.

The School was launched in partnership with Regional Innovation and Startup Education (R.I.S.E.). It will initially offer a certificate in as little as two semesters; or a technical certificate in a year. Eventually, the Evansville campus plans to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in entrepreneurship, as well. The programming is open to current students who may also be earning a degree in a different program; as well as new students, small business owners, and others, who may want a stand-alone credential.

“The program will offer practical skills individuals can use immediately in areas such as marketing, finances, human resources and legal considerations,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Daniela Vidal. “My husband and I know firsthand the challenges that business owners face and the value of having a practical education and a mentor network to convert ideas into profitable businesses.” 

According to the Small Business Administration, within the first five years, about half of all small businesses fail. Common reasons include inadequate funding, poor planning and management missteps. In Indiana, there are more than half a million small businesses and they employ more than 1.2 million people.

Department Chair Named

Also during the event, Chase Coslett, a third-generation business owner and operator with 15 years of experience in Supply Chain Management, was named department chair. He brings experience from such companies as Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Carhartt; and has served as an adjunct instructor for Ivy Tech since 2019.

Chase Coslett

Coslett said the launch of this new school that will be focused on future and current small business owners is important news for our local community. “If our community is to continue to improve its economic and social well-being, it needs more people with the right experience and the right education.

“Our goal is to develop, cultivate and foster the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset,” Coslett added. “Our students will build ecosystems, create a business model, work with mentors and network with guest speakers and current small business owners.”

He explained that students will complete this program with the mindset and tools necessary to launch and run a new business.

Dedicating the Lab
Also during the announcement of the new school, an unveiling of the space that will be the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab took place. The lab is named for Thomas A. Boeglin, an entrepreneur who opened and owned the first-ever jewelry store in Ferdinand for 30 years; and who was the father of Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann.

Boeglin graduated from Huntingburg High School in 1951, completed a program in watch repair at Bradley University, and became a certified gemologist.

He worked for jewelers in Evansville and Jasper. While watch and jewelry repair provided a stable income, Boeglin wanted to own a business.  In 1965, with a family of 6, he and his wife Betty opened the first jewelry store in his hometown of Ferdinand in an old, rented building on Main Street. As Boeglin wasn’t sure the town could support a jewelry store alone, it also sold men’s clothing, the family said — Boeglin’s Jewelry and Gent’s Shoppe. 

After a burglary and the need for more space, a modern store was built in 1975 at 1320 Main Street. Boeglin operated the store with the help of part-time employees and family followed by working late each evening at his home watch bench.

He modeled entrepreneurism, integrity, and work ethic to his children. The store closed in 1995 as Boeglin and his wife retired, though he continued to repair jewelry from home until his death in 2022.

Learn More

To learn more about the program, go to To arrange a meeting with Dean Chris Kiefer or Department Chair Chase Coslett, go to

Registration for fall classes beginning Aug. 22 is now taking place.