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New Virginia Tech Start-Up Class Helps Students Turn Ideas Into Businesses

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A local college class is helping young entrepreneurs get their start-up businesses off the ground.

It's called VT Start-Up. It's something Virginia Tech Associate Dean Jack Lesko has been working on for years.

"Part of my goal was to try to re-create the start-up environment, the atmosphere, and the kind of support and problems they'd have to figure out on their own," Lesko says.

Masters student Elizabeth Collins says she's learned to understand the customer is key and she's re-focused her own business ideas to incorporate the need in the market.

"It makes me think from a business prospective, 'how can I best create positive value in someone's life?'" Collins says.

There are 45 mentors volunteering their time in the class to help pass on their business knowledge to the younger generation.

Recently, the National Science Foundation announced they are giving $3.75 million to Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, and George Washington University to launch a regional Innovation Corps. The money will be used to help students and faculty researches further bring their discoveries to the market. The curriculum from the I-Corps is what the VT Start-Up class is already using.

Ultimately, the goal is for the class, along with the grant, to help create even more technology leaders in our area.