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Thirteen community colleges received a total of $85,700 in the third annual Elevator Grant competition awarded at the recent National Association for Community Colleges Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Conference.
The “elevator grant” method is based on the business planning skill of describing a new business venture in a three-minute pitch that could be given to a potential investor during an elevator ride.
Applicants from community colleges across the country submitted short proposals describing their programs and their expected outcomes. Twenty-four finalists gave a three-minute, in-person “pitch” to foundation representatives at the NACCE conference. Immediate deliberation by the foundations’ boards and staff ensured on-the-spot funding.
In a new initiative to disseminate ideas and encourage entrepreneurship among NACCE members, the winning grant proposals will be posted on the association’s Web site at www.nacce.com, and during the year all grant recipients will post monthly blogs about their progress.
“We think this will be a wonderful learning tool for all of our members,” said Heather Van Sickle, NACCE’s executive director. “The blogs will be interactive so people will be able to post comments or ask questions.”
This year’s winning colleges include:
Columbia College (California): $7,500 to support an entrepreneur interview series called Inside the Entrepreneur–Enlightening Lessons, a project to capture stories of local entrepreneurs and create DVDs for instructional purposes for the classroom and community outreach.
Community College of Beaver County (Pennsylvania): $6,500 to support development of low-income middle school students with a community college entrepreneurship program using National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship curriculum and to host a youth entrepreneurship camp.
Harry S. Truman College (Illinois): $7,500 to develop a family childcare entrepreneurship program to help create businesses to address the childcare shortage in the community.
Iowa Western Community College (Iowa): $7,500 to establish an entrepreneur-in-residence program. The entrepreneur will work with faculty, students and community members, act as a mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs, assume in-classroom assignments, offer coaching to community entrepreneurs and participate in training workshops and seminars.
James Sprunt Community College (North Carolina): $4,200 to develop a training program including workshops, counseling, a community e-commerce Web site, entrepreneur participation and a business incubator to help entrepreneurs develop specialty food businesses.
Laramie County Community College (Wyoming): $7,500 to support creation of a cross-campus entrepreneurship advisory committee to achieve integrated entrepreneurship education through partnerships.
Mid-Plains Community College (Nebraska): $5,000 to develop entrepreneurship workshops in a rural community based on a model that uses innovative combinations of learning tools, technology and partnerships.
Northeast Higher Education District (Minnesota): $5,000 to support the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour program across five community college campuses intended to create a forum for students to learn about the possibilities offered through entrepreneurship.
Pima County Community College District (Arizona): $7,500 to support development of an entrepreneurship outreach program and expand service offerings for self-employment, training and business advising to veterans, military in transition and National Guard members.
Snow College (Utah): $7,500 to support an entrepreneurial lecture series program to deliver inspiration and education from guest lecturers, designed to encourage interdisciplinary entrepreneurial education, outreach to community entrepreneurs and business owners, and develop K-16 linkages.
Bunker Hill Community College (Massachusetts): $7,500 to support program development of the Community Center for Entrepreneurship to promote opportunities and supports for students, alumni and the community, through creation of entrepreneurial studies, partnerships with local business groups.
Colorado Mountain College (Colorado): $5,000 to test a business incubator program and provide mini-grants for high school and community college students to launch businesses or develop product prototypes.
Miami Dade College (Florida): $7,500 to develop marketing materials focusing on awareness of the entrepreneurship certificate program and associate degree in marketing management with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
The competition is funded by the Coleman Foundation and the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation.
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