New business Ambitek opening with eSports and IT training

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Ambitek Learning is set to open this week on Main Street, in Elkader. The company will offer IT training and courses in robotics and engineering. It will also have a gaming center/lounge that will be open to the public and include gaming tournaments, access to new games and online streaming stations. The center will have everything from high-end computers and freesync gaming monitors to gaming chairs and every current gaming console on the market. (Photo by Willis Patenaude)

Donte Dorsey brought Ambitek to Elkader not only because of the town’s beauty, but its welcoming and eclectic spirit. He also thinks the business will fill a need in the community.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

What started off as a Facebook friendship in 2017 with Pastor John Haack, of Peace Church, has blossomed into an innovative change for Elkader, as Ambitek Learning takes up residence on Main Street. 

The brainchild of Donte Dorsey, a native Floridian, Ambitek first came on the scene in 2009 when Dorsey felt a need for a change from working with corporate companies toward more personal growth and a desire to feed his niche for technology. Dorsey also saw a market for IT certifications that allow students to bypass college, remain relatively debt free and go beyond the entry-level position upon completion. 

As the self-taught Dorsey stated, “College isn’t for everyone when it comes to technology,” and in the IT field, what hiring managers are looking for is a knowledge of specific skills and a certification. The amount of liberal arts courses you took is irrelevant. 

Ambitek also teaches students about things they may not learn at school, such as robotics and engineering, at a fraction of the cost of its competitors, because Dorsey “wants students debt free.” 

It isn’t just for students, though. It is also for the transitioning adult or anyone seeking a career change, and is more accessible to the working adult because it isn’t run in a boot camp style, but offers evening classes and community college hours, so it doesn’t require taking time off from work. 

Beyond that, because “technology is always changing and employees need to be kept up to date,” Ambitek offers on-site training for corporate companies, small businesses and local shops. It assists companies in developing a web presence in an effort to enhance their business. 

According to Dorsey, it will also have a gaming center/lounge to “provide another outlet for students.” It will be open to the public and include gaming tournaments, access to new games and online streaming stations. 

On the gaming side, it is a long-term goal of Ambitek to get involved in game development, which is something Dorsey added might open pathways to students for further learning, entrepreneurship and a career in the gaming industry. 

Nothing remains static in the world of technology, and the more knowledge they have, the better-equipped students will be to face the future and “be the change they seek,” he said.

While Dorsey had planned to open May 1, COVID-19 had something to say about it, impacting Ambitek’s ability to develop local projects. Instead of opening, the last few weeks have been spent installing monitors, TVs, gaming equipment and furniture. The building should be fully open to the public by June 9. 

However, for a company like Ambitek, COVID-19 hasn’t been all negative. According to Dorsey, it has actually pushed the company to be more versatile and adaptable, and allowed them to “tap into a new market.” While it has unfortunately delayed some aspects of the storefront opening, it has opened the door to focusing more on online courses and development.  

The other change has been in the store’s operating plans. The center has ventured into eSports gaming and it will have everything from high-end computers and freesync gaming monitors to gaming chairs and every current gaming console on the market. Dorsey said it’s all being done “to make it a nice and fun environment for the gaming enthusiast.” 

There will also be a greater emphasis on retail, with items like gaming keyboards, rigs and gaming headsets for sale. 

While they’re moving more into a gaming direction, Dorsey said they “will still function as a learning center as well offering IT certification training and basic computer courses to customers in a hybrid environment.” 

When asked about what led him to open  the sixth Ambitek Learning Center in Elkader, Dorsey’s response was one many have become accustomed to hearing. After developing a relationship with Pastor Haack, Dorsey made several trips to the area and “found so much beauty in Elkader.” The town wasn’t just welcoming; it was “eclectic and filled with great people.” The scenic views also helped, so in February of this year, Dorsey made the decision to sign the lease. 

It wasn’t just the open arms of the community. According to Dorsey, after having conversations with some local leaders, the decision was also made “based on feedback within the community that it’s something the town is wanting.” Indeed, there is currently no actual IT learning or training center in the community, and Ambitek is hoping to fill that void with its flexible and affordable programs and certifications. 

However, it’s not only about the business for Dorsey; it’s also about community involvement. Dorsey wants to hold events, immerse the company within the community and provide critical access to IT skills and training that is sometimes missing from rural America, so parents can work from home and have more quality time with their families. 

Essentially, stated Dorsey, “we want to see what the need in the community is and to embed ourselves in the community.” 

As Dorsey starts the embedding process with a new business, he wants it to be judged on its merits and outcomes, which explains the lack of a catchy slogan and overbearing marketing strategy. Over the coming months, Dorsey’s vision and its viability will be tested, but Ambitek has something in common with the community it just settled in: they both “treat everyone like part of the family.” 

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