GC Developing Center for Entrepreneurs


The Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC), a business “incubator” located on the Garrett College campus, has been evolving over the past year and is now the centerpiece for a new entity: The Garrett Center for Entrepreneurship. This new center offers expanded opportunities, support, and education for those who own a small business and those who would like to establish one.

Under the leadership of Julie Yoder, Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, and Mike Tumbarello, GIEC Coordinator, this vision for rural entrepreneurship has taken form and new programs have been launched.

Tumbarello, a seasoned and successful entrepreneur, consultant, educator, and coach, joined the Garrett College staff last year.  After a successful corporate career, he formed or ran four start-up ventures and has consulted with numerous others.  He has also developed and delivered courses on business growth at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Since taking over the reins at the GIEC, Tumbarello has applied his expertise to the development of the new Garrett Center for Entrepreneurship. He describes his approach as practical, actionable, and hands-on with respect for the different approaches and experiences of diverse students and clients. 

Tumbarello described the direction of the Garrett Center for Entrepreneurship. “The plan is to provide a complete, life-cycle-driven offering-set as well as a community of practice for potential, start-up and seasoned entrepreneurs, all working with, and leveraging, the community’s existing and future ecosystem.”

The end-goal is to grow entrepreneurs and small businesses in Garrett County with the resulting job creation and quality-of-life benefits. “Our vision is to develop the gold standard for rural entrepreneurship programs! We have begun our journey,” he said.

Components of the new Center will include the GIEC, Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) courses, credit courses, funding programs, networking, and targeted events.

New courses are now being offered by the Garrett College CEWD. Among those on the fall 2013 schedule is “Launching Your New Business” which will give an overview of types of business entities, lifestyle impacts, funding and aid available, licensing and tax considerations, product development and positioning, marketing and budgeting. 

“Kauffman FastTrac New Venture: For Aspiring and Early Stage Entrepreneurs” will also be offered. The course and will present practical information for creating a plan and framework to successfully start or grow a company.

“Social Media: Beyond the Hype” is the title of a two-hour seminar on how businesses can use social media to generate and keep customers, and “Practical Market Research and Marketing” is designed to help businesses understand and develop a market-driven marketing plan along with tips for creating a recognizable business brand.

“Finance and Funding for Your New Venture” will address the important practical aspects of accessing the needed funds to start a business.

“We are really excited about offering all these classes to help people get the information they need to plan, develop, and launch their businesses. We are also hoping that eventually there will be credit courses available that could lead to associate’s degrees and certificates in these areas,” Tumbarello said.

Currently the Garrett Center for Entrepreneurship is working with Mountain Maryland Angel Investor Group to link start-up businesses with potential funders. The Center is also closely affiliated with TEDCO (Technology Development Corporation) which provides funding and networking to support researchers, entrepreneurs, and start-ups.

“The bottom line is that in the Garrett Center for Entrepreneurship we are formulating and honing our vision, even as we ‘speed down the highway’ with existing and early-stage offerings,” Tumbarello concluded.

Anyone interested in acquiring further information or discussing a new business concept is encouraged to contact Tumbarello at 301.387.3167 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.