AACC Entrepreneurial Studies Institute (ESI)
Ratcliffe Scholars Program

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AACC Entrepreneurial Studies Institute (ESI)
Ratcliffe Scholars Program

Empowering Entrepreneurship

About Us

Supporting Entrepreneurs
AACC provides financial support to students who are aspiring entrepreneurs or who currently own a business.

Supporting Academic and Career Goals
Students may seek degree completion leading to business ownership or transfer to a college or university to continue their education.

Supporting Students with Resources
The Ratcliffe Scholars Program includes an Entrepreneurs Scholarship, an Internship Scholarship, and Seed Fund awards.

Featured Initiatives

Entrepreneurs Scholarship

The Entrepreneurs Scholarship Supported by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation provides:

  • Funds for tuition, fees, books and supplies for credit and pre-approved noncredit courses (including BNS-393 Entrepreneurs Ramp Up mentoring)
  • Practical experience
  • Mentors and support from a peer cohort
  • Resources to support entrepreneurial student success

There is a lifetime maximum of $12,000 per student for the Entrepreneurs Scholarship. Availability of funds is contingent on a variety of factors including continued financial support by the Ratcliffe Foundation.

Business Pitch Competition

In AACC’s version of the ABC Network’s “Shark Tank,” credit and noncredit students who have successfully completed an AACC course in the last year compete for money to support their business venture. Students submit a comprehensive business plan and finalists pitch their idea to a panel of judges who evaluate and determine awards.

In spring 2020, nine businesses received seed funds ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 for a total of $50,000. One lucky business won an additional $500 for the Fan-Favorite award, selected by the viewing audience. Four companies received a one-year membership in the Hatchery, AACC’s student business incubator, and 15 new $12,000 scholarships were awarded. This competition provided over $100,000 for students!