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Need some fresh and free ideas on how to ignite your entrepreneurship students? Get insights from our experienced NACCE Faculty Ambassadors for HP LIFE on how to integrate e-learning into your entrepreneurship class. They will discuss how they have implemented HP Life ( into their online/hybrid and face-to-face business courses.


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Top tags: HP LIFE  NACCE  Cata  Catawba Valley Community College  entrepreneurial college  entrepreneurial students  entrepreneurs  entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship history  female entrepreneurs  female entrepreneurship  Garrett Hinshaw  Otis J White  Rio Salado College entrepreneurs  Small Business Centers  teaching entrepreneurs 

Lessons Learned About Igniting Local Economies through Entrepreneurship

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, April 03, 2014

Part 4 in a series of blogs about how an entrepreneurial mindset, small business growth and technology are fueling a local economy in North Carolina. Click here to see video.


“A lot of people look at a community and they will look at the big businesses and try to get those big jobs in there. We call that the Buffalo Hunt. People call them the economic engine of the economy. Well if those big businesses are the economic engine of the community, then small businesses are the rest of the car. Small businesses create the personality of the community. It is that personality that draws those big businesses in.”

– George Millsaps, state director of North Carolina’s Small Business Center Network


Community colleges across the country are tapping the power of entrepreneurship to reinvigorate their local economies. Sparks are igniting at all corners of the campus and in the cloud. Community college presidents are not only encouraging entrepreneurship in their students and local small businesses, but acting like entrepreneurs. Small business centers help communities “grow their own jobs” by helping entrepreneurs launch and small businesses grow via online courses. The rise in the number of women-owned businesses and the convenience of technology fuels small business growth. With all of these actions in motion, one economy is growing.


HP LIFE partnered with NACCE to propel and document this transformation in Hickory, NC via the work of Catawba Valley Community College. Watch this video to see how entrepreneurship and technology are fueling economic growth. Read below for lessons learned and apply them to your community.


1.   Start-ups and small business growth fuel an economic recovery.

“North Carolina’s economic system is continuing to evolve through the economic downturn…” says Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw, President, Catawba Valley Community College. “It’s important for us to look at all opportunities for new business starts-ups, especially those that are innovative and scalable and that will create jobs. We need new businesses that will have a long-term positive impact on the ecosystem.”

2.   Community colleges are an integral part of their local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“My role as a community college president is to make every effort to inspire entrepreneurship and make sure it’s a priority for all of our programs here at Catawba Valley Community College,” Dr. Hinshaw adds. “Part of that is bringing in innovative programs like HP LIFE e-Learning that can help students learn business and IT skills and turn their business ideas into realities.

3.   Community college presidents need to think like an entrepreneur, set their affordable loss and take calculated risks.

“As a leader in higher education,” Dr. Hinshaw states, “we always have to think differently in terms of how we do things, how we reach our constituents, how we ensure our citizens have the right skills and access to the resources they need. We have to be willing to take those risks and then work hard to make sure that our commitment and our focus remains on those.”​

4.   Women-business owners are a critical part of small business growth.

“The number of female entrepreneurs in our community is growing, and they are making a big impact on the revitalization of our economy,” says Gary Muller, CVCC Business Programs Department Head. “They are involved in all segments of the business community.”


5.   Mastery of technology is essential to small business success.

“Few businesses can survive today without technology and even fewer that can flourish without technology,” said Dr. Millsaps.


“Good IT skills and knowledge are critical to effectively manage and grow a business,” asserts Dr. Hinshaw. IT affects every part of a company from bringing products and services to market quickly to interacting with customers. HP LIFE e-Learning is just one example of the incredible role technology is playing in fueling learning, business and community development and economic growth.”


6.   The convenience of online learning is highly appealing for entrepreneurs.

Counselors use online courses to give the entrepreneur a jump start before one-on-one counseling begins or to provide entrepreneurs needed knowledge between counseling sessions. They can learn at their own pace and on their own time.

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Small Business Centers Employ the Power of Online Learning to Support Local Entrepreneurs

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Thursday, March 27, 2014

Part 3 in a series of blogs about how entrepreneurial mindset, small business growth and technology are fueling a local economy. Click here to see video.


Across the nation, networks of centers serving small businesses, many located on community college campuses, provide invaluable assistance to entrepreneurs as they seek to get their businesses off the ground or to pursue business growth. Increasingly, counselors at these centers are using online business learning programs, such as HP LIFE e-Learning, to help educate their clients about key business building topics. This online content is used to supplement in-person counseling or as the basis for one-to-many training.


Given the large number of small business center directors in our membership and the integral role they play in the community college ecosystem and our partnership with HP LIFE, we at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship wanted to learn more about how and why small business centers co-located at member colleges are employing online learning. We spoke about their experience with online learning with George Millsaps, state director of North Carolina’s Small Business Center Network; David Copeland Norcross, acting director, Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Phoenix, Arizona; and Robert Sainz, general manager of City of Los Angeles’ Economic & Workforce Development Department, which operates nine BusinessSource Centers across the city. 

Here’s what these directors had to say about the value online learning in their centers.

Online learning supplements counseling

Directors each pointed to how online learning can be adaptable and relevant to counselling work, citing a few examples.


“One of the great things about online courses such as HP LIFE is that the SBC counselor can employ them in a variety of ways,” says George Millsaps. “Some counselors use online courses to give the entrepreneur a jump start before one-on-one counseling begins. Others use online learning to continue providing entrepreneurs needed knowledge between counseling sessions.”


“Online resources are examples of how technology can assist entrepreneurs in doing research for their business idea,” says David Copeland Norcross. “It also provides opportunities for them to see other businesses in real time and how those businesses use a specific business model that has succeeded. Using online resources for market research is invaluable for entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

“I can’t tell you how invaluable it is to have a technology platform like HP LIFE that is free for people to use,” said Robert Sainz. “Also having the HP brand behind it that people are familiar with takes away any skepticism. It is hugely important for us to reach small businesses in our many ethnic communities. So having an online learning platform that offers the training in Spanish and various Asian languages is very valuable to us.”

Convenience of online learning is highly appealing for entrepreneurs.

In addition to relevance to counselors, directors also noted the value of online resources from entrepreneur perspective, focusing on convenience, adaptability and personalization.


According to Norcross, online learning appeals to clients because it highly convenient. “Clients are able to use the tools at their own pace and with their own timetable, and at their own locations without having to travel,” he says. “This is definitely one of the benefits to the online training courses. Online learning is particularly effective if it can be followed up with one-on-one counseling sessions to specifically address areas of interest and concern.”


Millsaps believes online learning is beneficial because not everyone learns the same way. “Some people have had some exposure to small business concepts and can whiz through the parts they know,” he says. “Other people are contemplative and like to review material more than once to get that deeper meaning. Online training allows the potential entrepreneur to learn when they want to and how they want to.”

Small business owners are working from morning to night and they often don’t have time to sit in classrooms,” says Sainz. “With online learning they have the ability to do it on their own time. Also, they can access any of the 22 subject modules in HP LIFE whenever they need to know more about a specific topic rather than waiting for when a college is running a course on that topic. And they’re using it in a safe environment, which is important to older people, who may not be comfortable asking questions in a classroom environment.”

Mastery of technology is essential to small business success.

Finally, the small business thought leaders we talked with all agree that technology plays a very important role in supporting business start-ups, business growth and overall community development - online learning helps walk the walk.


“This SBDC strongly believes in the use of technology in startup businesses, particularly in the area of social media as a marketing tool,” said Norcross. “We also provide online tools to assist in financial projections and the development of business plans. We use technology to counsel clients online as well as in person through email and other tools available through our website.”


Few businesses can survive today without technology and even fewer that can flourish without technology,” said Millsaps. “Most people can't take years to get a degree in business to supplement the expertise they already have in their craft. Technology provides access to quick knowledge. Nor can a small business owner pour over mounds of paperwork each day. Technology provides the platform for programs that make quick work of bookkeeping, inventory, security, and most importantly can help increase customer satisfaction. All of these lead to increased profitability and survivability of a small business. To me technology is the great equalizer for small businesses. Show me a tech savvy small business and I'll show you a small business that can compete, and beat, the big box stores.”


For more information on how George Millsaps uses online learning to provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, we invite you to view this video.


For more about HP LIFE e-Learning and how it supports both business and ICT skills for the aspiring and nascent small business see here.

Tags:  HP LIFE  NACCE  Small Business Centers 

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Female Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Hickory, NC and Across the US

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nation-wide growth in women-owned businesses exceeds all small businesses

The impact of female entrepreneurs on the American economy is greater than ever. Women own over 8.6 million businesses in the U.S., according to American Express OPEN’s 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2013 via Julie Weeks and Womenable. Together, these businesses generate over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.8 million people. The growth in the number, revenues and employment of women-owned businesses during the 16 years covered by this report exceeds the growth rates of all but the very largest, publicly traded corporations in the country. 


Every day, the community colleges that make up the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) witness the impact the growth of female entrepreneurship is having on local communities as more and more women turn to NACCE members for entrepreneurship education and business support services. One such college is Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina. There, Business Programs Department Head Gary Muller and Business Instructor Darcie Tumey talked with us about their observations.


Women-business owners represent all industries in Hickory

“The number of female entrepreneurs in our community is growing, and they are making a big impact on the revitalization of our economy,” says Gary Muller. “They are involved in all segments of the business community; there is not just one area that their businesses are addressing. Female entrepreneurs also are becoming much more visible in the business community; they holding many of the leadership roles in our community organizations and making a difference.”


Muller has observed that would-be female entrepreneurs take a different approach to starting their business than would-be male entrepreneurs do. “They do more analysis of the potential business before they push forward,” he says. “This is a key reason for their success. We see their male counterparts move forward with their passion, without thinking of the possible problems. Female entrepreneurs are more open to help and support, which enables them to make adjustments to their plans before big problems may adversely impact the business.”


Plethora of online resources to support small businesses

Muller and Tumey think one of the reasons more women are starting businesses is the availability of resources via the Internet that make it easier to explore opportunities than in the past. According to Tumey, who is also a NACCE Ambassador for HP LIFE, “Ten or twenty years ago, individuals would have to seek out information in person and deal with individuals in face-to-face situations. As a result, if an individual didn’t receive the information they needed or had a negative experience, then their search either ended and/or became more difficult. Today, the Internet has opened up a whole host of resources (for example, success stories, resources for a fee or free, examples of mistakes, and ideas). Women can learn from others, access resources 24/7, and still make arrangements to speak with individuals for assistance at Small Business Centers, banks, industry meetings, etc.”


HP LIFE e-Learning helps launch student businesses

Chrystal Hewitt is one of Tumey’s students who has benefitted by using technology to fuel her entrepreneurship learning. One of the tools she has used is HP LIFE e-Learning, an innovative e-learning program that Tumey uses to help her entrepreneurship students learn business and IT skills and to turn their business ideas into realities. Hewitt runs a business that is part of the auto industry but is planning to open a spa.


“I found HP LIFE to be very valuable in working on my business plan project, especially the financial modules,” says Hewitt. “The templates provided me with the format and an outline of how to set up my start-up costs and monthly expenses. We also used the HP LIFE modules to aid us in understanding the different sections of our business plan.”


Hewitt says her reliance on technology will continue as she gets her business of the ground. “In our spa business, we will be using technology in how we track our billing, book our clients, and track the income for renting out space to different individuals (message therapists, dermatologist, etc.),” she says.


Watch this video to learn more about how community college educators are using technology like HP LIFE to support women in achieve their goal of becoming entrepreneurs.





Tags:  Cata  female entrepreneurs  female entrepreneurship  HP LIFE  NACCE 

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An Entreprenerial Mindset Is Helping a North Carolina Community College Revive Its Local Economy

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Friday, February 28, 2014

Across the nation, a revolution is occurring in how community colleges view their role in serving their communities. Seeking to bolster local economies, many community colleges, including the 300-plus members of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), are adopting a holistic approach to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship and business growth. Not only are these colleges educating entrepreneurs, their presidents are using an entrepreneurial mindset to implement creative solutions to existing problems. The use of technology has been part of their innovation solutions.


Entrepreneurial Presidents Facilitate an Entrepreneurial Culture

According to NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle, these entrepreneurial colleges have cultures requiring an entrepreneurial mindset for all who work at the college. “They focus on the foundational elements: the right people, the right culture, to increase the talent base in their community and add value that only the community college can in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. This culture results in an environment fertile for starting and sustaining successful businesses in the greater community.”


An Entrepreneurial President in Action at CVCC

Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina, is a prime example of an institution that has enthusiastically embraced an entrepreneurial mindset. Garrett Hinshaw is president at CVCC and also the incoming chair of the North Carolina Community College Presidents Association.


“North Carolina’s economic system is continuing to evolve through the economic downturn that we just experienced,” says Hinshaw. “It’s important for us to look at all opportunities for new business starts-ups, especially those that are innovative and scalable and that will create jobs. We need new businesses that will have a long-term positive impact on the ecosystem and will make our state competitive in a global market.


“My role as a community college president is to make every effort to inspire entrepreneurship and make sure it’s a priority for all of our programs here at Catawba Valley Community College,” Hinshaw adds. “Part of that is bringing in innovative programs like HP LIFE e-Learning that can help students learn business and IT skills and turn their business ideas into realities. Good IT skills and knowledge are critical to effectively managing and growing a business. IT affects every part of a company from bringing products and services to market quickly to interacting with customers. HP LIFE e-Learning is just one example of the incredible role technology is playing in fueling learning, business and community development and economic growth.”


Entrepreneurship Can Revive an Economy; Community Colleges are the Hub for that Revival

The economy of Hickory and its surrounding region was dominated by manufacturing for many decades. That all changed during the economic downturn. “Now it’s critical for us to focus on entrepreneurship as a new way of inventing jobs and assuring that our citizens have access to quality, relevant jobs for the future of this region,” says Hinshaw. “One of the key things that we’ve continued to do is support our existing manufacturers through our Advanced Manufacturing Solution Center, looking at ways to affect that bottom line so those companies can create jobs that are going to make a difference in our region. 


“We are creating an environment where every new idea has a chance to succeed,” he adds. “Through HP LIFE e-Learning and the different programs we’re initiating at our college we want to ensure that all citizens have the ability to get beyond friends and family and into the marketplace where they can grow a business, create jobs and obtain follow-on funding.”


Entrepreneurial Presidents Take Calculated Risks

Hinshaw believes it’s very important for the leaders of all 58 of the community colleges across North Carolina to think about the calculated risks they must take to make their environments relevant. “For example, right here on our campus, we’re created a 28,000-square-foot simulated hospital, which is the largest east of the Mississippi,” he says. “This has changed healthcare training in our region. We have to take existing resources and assure that they are relevant for the 21st century. We’re taking a former restaurant and turning it into an innovative corporate development center that features small business support. As a leader in higher education we always have to think differently in terms of how we do things, how we reach our constituents, how we ensure our citizens have the right skills and access to the resources they need. We have to be willing to take those risks and then work hard to make sure that our commitment and our focus remains on those.


According to Hinshaw, the Hickory community was built by entrepreneurs who knew how to make things and were real craftsmen. “This area is going to continue that tradition, but we just have to change the way we think and change the way we do business,” he says, “and technology like HP LIFE e-Learning is helping us do that. We’re seeing those manufacturers who are sustained here changing the way that they reach out to the community and how they engage with each other and really changing how we do business here in the Catawba Valley region.”


Watch this video to learn more about how one community college president in North Carolina is using an entrepreneurial mindset to restore the local economy.


About Catawba Valley Community College

Located in Hickory, NC, Catawba Valley Community College is an innovative, comprehensive community college that fosters and promotes a multitude of learning experiences, enabling and empowering its students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to identify and to serve higher purposes in their lives and in their communities. CVCC was founded in 1958 and welcomed its first class of 77 students in 1960. Today, the college serves over 5,000 students with career training in a wide variety of technical and industrial fields through its Business, Engineering Technology, Environmental and Life Sciences, Health and Human Resources, and Industrial Technology Divisions. Also, many students transfer to a four-year college after completing their first two years at CVCC. 



The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. NACCE has two main goals: 1. Empower the college to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset; and 2. Grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem.


Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the "entrepreneurship movement.” Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, regional summits, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars, a dynamic list-serv, and training resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These initiatives and resulting actions advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges. NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup America Partnership. For more information, visit Follow us at @NACCE, like us on, and join our LinkedIn group.

Tags:  Catawba Valley Community College  entrepreneurial college  Garrett Hinshaw  HP LIFE  NACCE 

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Tools for the Entrepreneurial Classroom from eLearning 2014

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Sunday, February 23, 2014

Barbara Millard, Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship, Johnson County Community College
NACCE Faculty Ambassador for HP LIFE 

 After attending the eLearning 2014 conference, if someone were to ask me to identify my favorite tool from the many I was introduced to at the conference, it would be like asking me "which of your children is your favorite?" Of course, I don't have an "overall favorite" child but I do know which is my favorite when it comes to a shopping trip, a game of racquetball or an afternoon of trying out recipes. The same is true for "web enhancement" tools. As I begin to use them or expand my use of some I'm already familiar with, I will have favorites depending on the application and benefits they offer to my online and face to face classes.


Here are a few that I am bringing home in my tool bag to try out or expand upon and how I'm planning to test them:

 Visual content

 My students seem to struggle with the industry section of their business plan. The time they spend trying to organize industry revenue, growth and trends into cohesive paragraphs seems to take away from the main point of the assignment...looking at the data itself. I have high hopes that putting the data into infographics will make it more meaningful to them....we'll see!!!!


An application shared at the conference has also inspired me to sometimes use Learnist (which has been described as the Pinterest for sharing learning resources) an alternative to discussions when students are expanding their business ideas. I don't know about your students, but mine are tired of discussion boards...and so am I.



 I had only recently heard about badges and wasn't convinced that there was a place for them in our curriculum. However, after attending a session on badging and gamification, I can't wait to create some for our program and my student club as well as share the concept with student services as a means to increase student involvement.


Online Conversations

 I've used some voice tools for online conversations with students but, sparked by presentations at the conference, I can't wait to use one of these tools to give verbal feedback to my students on their financial spreadsheets. Why hadn't I thought about this before? It will be so much easier for me to explain concepts to them and I believe, easier for them to understand.

I'm not even sure how to categorize this last If I had to chose a favorite, this would be it. Partly because I've not been exposed to anything like it before and partly because it solves a problem I've been wrestling with. allows students to watch a video and synchronize their notes with the video content. They can submit this and synchronization....for grading. In my mind, this provides a more meaningful learning experience than a video followed by a quiz or a post to a discussion board.


One last thought. This is just a sampling if the many, many tools I saw at the eLearning 2014 conference. Categorizing them and keeping up with new ones could be a full time job. I was thrilled when I learned that the Instructional Design departments at some schools have an online resource page that categorizes and updates web enhancement tools for their faculty. One of my first stops when I return to my campus will be at our Educational Technology office requesting this service for our faculty.


If you have favorite tools that apply well to entrepreneurship, please share them with us in the comment section below.


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HP LIFE Hitting a College Campus or SBDC Near YOU! Are you next?

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Monday, January 20, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 20, 2014

By Kim Norbuta

HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) is hitting college campuses and Small Business Development Centers across the country this Spring Semester. Students and clients from over 20 states will be participating in the HP LIFE Courses as they develop their business and technology skills using this open education resource. Instructors and Center Directors are excited to implement this robust resource in their programs to engage students and clients with real life business scenarios in finance, operations, marketing and communications. Instructors and Center Directors using HP LIFE are invited to participate in our Faculty and Business User Network to gain additional professional development, valuable resources and connections within HP LIFE. Look to see if a school near you is participating this semester!

If you would like learn more about implementing HP LIFE at your school or SBDC and join our Faculty and Business User Network, contact Kim Norbuta at for more information.

  • Gateway Community College
  • South Mountain Community College
  • Cuesta CollegeFullerton College
  • Irvine Valley Community College
  • Long Beach City College Small Business Development Center
  • Saddleback College
  • The Money School
  • Palm Beach State
  • University of Hawaii, Kauai Community College
  • North Idaho College
  • IVY Tech Community College
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Quinsigamond Community College
  • Springfield Technical Community College
  • Ann Arundel Community College
  • Howard Community College
  • Prince George Community College
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Ridgewater College
  • Century College
  • Miles Community College
  • Eastern New Mexico College
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College
  • Newberry College
  • Houston Community College - Northwest
  • Spokane Community College
  • Walla Walla CC
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Rio Salado Community College
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College
  • Johnson County Community College
  • Madisonville Community College

Kim Norbuta is a consultant for NACCE working closely with HP LIFE and the Faculty and Business User Network helping faculty and center directors develop solutions for their course and client needs. She is the Owner/President of Sideline Solutions, offering editorial, marketing and sales support to companies and organizations that need an extra hand from the "sidelines” from time to time.

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HP LIFE --- Working with Others, Near and Far

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Sunday, January 12, 2014

By Darcie L. Tumey            

The HP LIFE modules aid individuals with learning and applying the different business concepts that are needed to start and maintain a business.  As individuals work through each topic, one segment is posting a comment in the course discussion.  The course discussion facilitates conversations with individuals who are located from throughout the world.  The only separation is by an individual’s selected language within HP LIFE (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic).  Not to mention, once an individual completes the module, the HP LIFE Community continues the discussion by having a Business and Other forums available for individuals to continue their dialogue and/or post questions.  These options facilitate people to meet and relate with individuals from throughout the world who are also starting businesses. 

In today’s global market and academic classrooms, it can be difficult to bring a global perspective into the classroom.  Through HP LIFE, it brings the "global perspective” to a personal and individual level, the student level.  This interaction illustrates to students that individuals inside their community, and outside, are all facing similar business situations.  For example two individuals may both be opening a coffee shop, however, they could possibly be located on different continents, but are facing similar situations from hiring staff to purchasing coffee beans.  This forum provides an equal playing field while exposing the students to individuals with different backgrounds who have similar interests.            


As a result, as academic institutions seek resources that facilitate a global perspective, HP LIFE has provided that option.  This format provides participants with an incredible opportunity to work with others, from throughout the world.  While at the same time, facilitating rich dialogue within the classroom to discuss diversity, different operational strategies, and gaining an understanding about the different skills needed to own and operate a business. 

Darcie L. Tumey is currently an instructor at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC in Business Administration.  Previously she was Division Director of Vocational & Public Services Technology at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.  Ms. Tumey has worked in the educational field for over eight years and is currently a doctoral student at East Carolina University and studying Professional Development of Faculty who works at Community Colleges. 

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How to engage entrepreneurs with technology to show how it can streamline their business practices

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I sit here in my office at my community college and contemplate the above question.  I have so many thoughts rolling through my head and most them don’t relate to the question at all.  As a faculty member and active community member the question isn’t really how can we engage entrepreneurs as much as it is how we can inform entrepreneurs?  Entrepreneurs are streamlining experts.  Technology is their lifeline to everything!  The challenge then is how I, as an HP LIFE ambassador, can let them know that this great resource is available to them.  Sometimes technology can get a bad rap.  We are so busy with our own visions and ideas that technology becomes infused into our daily lives. 

As entrepreneurs, technology can become a burden that interferes with innovation and planning.  Most of us start our day with checking our email, facebook newsfeed, and twitter accounts.  We cater to a society that requires instant communication and gratification.  So how can I sit here at my computer in my community college office and say to prospective entrepreneurs that I have yet another great thing to add to their already full list?  The thing is that HP LIFE isn’t just a technology.  It is a quick and easy modularized training tool that is FREE and EASY to use.  Entrepreneurs love the FREE and EASY part! 

Every time that I present this innovative program that HP and NACCE and EDC have blended together to create I am amazed at the reactions.  First of all, most entrepreneurs want to know what it can "do for them”.  I always say that it is a free training -- train yourselves – train your employees – train your clients.  Then they sit back and realize its potential.  I then usually get a call back from the entrepreneur asking for a more in-depth look at the HP LIFE program.  They then start to grasp the awesome potential that this can have for their business and their employees.

So, you see I can make a difference as I sit here in my community college office.  It is from this place that I first discovered HP LIFE and applied to be an ambassador.  It is from this place that I organize and plan strategies to promote the program to classes and community entrepreneurs.  It is from this place that opportunities can be born.  I leave you with this last thought – where is your place? 

Kim Simons is a Professor of Business Administration at Madisonville Community College in Madisonville, Kentucky.  She teaches courses in Leadership, Management, Marketing, and General Business.  

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Is It the Generations or a Special Mindset That Should Drive How We Educate Entrepreneurs?

Posted By Otis J. White, Sunday, December 01, 2013

Is Entrepreneurship a generational thing or an ageless pursuit?

There is always a lot of talk each year about the "new generations of students” and their changing needs. Teachers are asked to change the way we test, teach and manage each new student group in the classroom or online so they can become a success. We have a vast array of books comparing the Boomers to the X’ers; the X’ers to the Y generation and so on up to today’s New Silent Generation or Generation Z. These generations have many names depending on who is naming them. The Population Reference Bureau lists 7 distinct generations beginning in 1871 through 2001. My guess is you have not seen this list as it is not the popular one in use by publishers these days but it is worth a look.

The more popular list is:

2000/2001-Present - New Silent Generation or Generation Z
1980-2000 - Millennial or Generation Y
1965-1979 - Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
1925-1945 - Silent Generation
1900-1924 - G.I. Generation

It is true that new advances in online resources, social media, networking, access to information and global connectedness on the Internet have changed the way we teach and the way students learn across generations. I am not sure, however, that these distinctions always apply when we are talking about Entrepreneurs from either today or yesterday.

Where the notion of these "effectors” comes from …

In 1755, when his pamphlet was published in France posthumously, Richard Cantillon (1680s – May 1734) gave us the name "entrepreneur” and a new class of commerce was born.  In his pamphlet Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (Essay on the Nature of Trade in General) he uses the word "entrepreneur” to define someone who undertakes to bring goods, capital and effort together in a market town to create a system to make goods available to everyone and grow the wealth of the community. The entrepreneur takes these actions at his own risk, and not for an employer, which is the crucial element in his or her actions. In Cantillon’s view the entrepreneur is someone who acts independently of a job and the security of a paycheck.

 J. B. Say continued the use of the word (and popularized it) to define someone who was a key part of the political economy and an actor who creates wealth for all in that community through their actions of taking on economic risks. The entrepreneur is someone who can transcend class and social position to attain wealth. In the 1920’s Joseph Schumpeter went further and described this entrepreneur as someone who changes the world by destroying old systems (creative destruction) bringing new ideas, products and services to the people through technical invention, market innovation and replacement of old slow ways with new and more efficient ones.

Today, economists clearly see entrepreneurs as the creators of the foundations of wealth and social mobility in our economy. Entrepreneurs are also the creators of most of the new jobs, so badly needed in our communities.  

To me, each of these generations, 1750’s through today, sound like the same risk taking person. And the entrepreneurs I meet in my work as an educator, whatever age,  all share a common set of values and world view with their past cohort; they are a driven, action oriented and risk taking bunch.

How we change the way we teach will make all the difference …

So the question is not how we as colleges teach some new generation but how do we teach new members of an old and venerable group of thinkers and doers so they will be motivated to grow our economy and change the world for the better. In the past we probably did not see them in our classes, or at least we did not recognize them fully and really adapt our teaching to their needs. Our new charge is to recognize and serve them. A mandate that will define our collective futures as colleges and as communities and fundamentally change the way we all do education.

The call for us to move from being only traditional centers of college degree success to one in which we serve the broader learning needs of the community is a daunting and inspiring one. In our classes at the community colleges we have a rich mix of generations and personal learning styles and interests who are with us today for many reasons. Some are looking to move up in their jobs, some are just getting their basic education and some are completely changing what they are doing for a living.

What the entrepreneurs among them share is an impatience with our all too often agricultural model of 8 to 15 week courses and fall, spring, summer class schedules taught in weekly lessons. They demand a more just in time approach and access to answers to their questions when they have them, not when it suits a particular class competency design.

Entrepreneurs, whether in the 1700’s or today, want information they can use when they need it and in bite sized pieces which can be applied immediately to solve problems. In her research on successful entrepreneurs Saras D. Sarasvathy gives us a good look at the needs of entrepreneurs. She calls their perspective on the world Effectuation. Effectuation is defined as the act of implementing (providing a practical means for accomplishing something); carrying into effect.

This should sound familiar, it is the same definition we have been applying to these folks for over 250 years. They effect … make things happen … create new ways and means and change the world we live in. They are in a hurry and are focused on their dream and not our dreams of the perfect student. The HP Life web site is a perfect example of how these effectors want information delivered. The lessons are online, free, practical, focused on specific problems and engaging as lessons. They appeal to these quick minded and action oriented people and offer us a way to support the students we have, and the communities we live in, with learning materials designed for the those who wish to undertake the creation of a market and change their world.

As others have shown in their posts before me, including these HP Life modules into our classes and programs is an excellent way to help entrepreneurs accomplish their learning goals on their own schedules. It is also a great example of how Open Educational Resources (OER) can be found and used effectively in our classes versus the traditional approach of expensive text books. Rio Salado College is currently using these modules in 6 of our online classes and is planning their inclusion into 6 more online classes in the future. We use them as competency based learning tools as well as authentic assessments of learning; two cornerstones of curriculum.

As we rethink how we will run our classes in this electronic and social media soaked age we need to remember that at the heart of all these generational classifications is a person who may just transcend the generational stereotypes.  As educators we need to think like them, destruct the old ways of teaching, and create a new way of learning that suites the entrepreneurial way. This may mean changing the way we award credits, schedule classes, choose materials and evaluate performance. It also means that we need to look closely at how we engage with our communities and make learners, both credit and non-credit, a leading part of our agenda. In an increasingly Open Educational Resource (OER) world we can serve as guides to quality learning and help students find resources and ways of thinking about their businesses that leads to success. As Schumpeter pointed out in the 1920’s, the secret to a vibrant economy and higher standards of living for all is a robust and creative class of entrepreneurs. We, as entrepreneurial educators, can help them achieve their dreams.


Otis J. White is the Faculty Chair of Business & Public Administration at Rio Salado College. For more than 20 years he has performed research, taught thousands of students and developed academic curriculum for entrepreneurship, small business growth and economic development for both the Maricopa County Community Colleges and Arizona State University. As an entrepreneur, White created two successful companies before serving in academia and continues to mentor new entrepreneurs in their efforts to join the path to economic freedom and personal success. He serves as an HP Life Ambassador for NACCE and can be reached at for more information about HP Life. 

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Tags:  entrepreneurial students  entrepreneurs  entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship history  Otis J White  Rio Salado College entrepreneurs  teaching entrepreneurs 

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Using an Open Educational Resource to Engage Students AND Community Entrepreneurs

Posted By Jeffrey D. Waybright, Monday, November 18, 2013

How SCC’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship is Currently Taught

At SCC we offer a 30 credit certificate in entrepreneurship during winter and spring quarters. Our program is team taught by three faculty and is taught using an integrated approach. Our program is made up of three classes that run consecutively and topics (accounting, marketing, operations, etc.) are interwoven throughout each class versus being taught in individual classes. We currently only utilize one textbook that covers writing a business plan in the class. The rest of the material is provided by the three instructors.

Learning about HP LIFE, a no-cost Open Educational Resource

This past October while at the annual NACCE conference, I had the opportunity to learn about HP LIFE e-learning and the wheels in my head immediately started turning.  If you are unfamiliar with HP LIFE e-learning, it is an online learning tool that has been created by HP to help entrepreneurs gain the business and technology skills needed to start or grow their business.  HP LIFE e-learning contains 20 interactive modules that individuals can take in their own time. Each module usually takes between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. The best part is that HP LIFE e-learning is free to use.

Integrating HP LIFE

We have decided to incorporate these modules into our entrepreneurship program at SCC beginning in January 2014.  Our intent is to assign the individual models (as they fit into the curriculum) as homework assignments prior to covering the topics in class.  Our hope is that the students will come better prepared to discuss the topics and be able to ask more in depth questions that will strengthen their learning. We will require the students to complete the module and then post their certificate of completion in Canvas in order to receive credit for each assignment. 

Engaging Community Entrepreneurs via HP LIFE

In addition to utilizing HP LIFE e-learning  in our entrepreneurship program we also intend to utilize the modules in some small business workshops that we are launching in December, 2013.  We are creating these free workshops to assist the entrepreneurs in our community.  These workshops will be offered on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month in the evening from 5:30 to 7:30. Although the HP LIFE e-learning modules will not be the only topics we cover in these workshops, they will definitely help get us started.  We haven’t decided whether we will have the workshop attendees complete the modules prior to attending the workshop (and provide their certificate as their entry ticket) or if we will have them complete the module as part of the workshop.

Stay tuned, I will post an update after we start using the modules!

Jeffrey Waybright is the Avista Center for Entrepreneurship program coordinator and an accounting instructor at Spokane Community College.  Jeffrey received his Accounting degree and M.B.A. from Eastern Washington University. Before becoming a college instructor, Jeffrey spent eight years as a practicing CPA in Washington State and still holds his license.

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