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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 (www.life-global.org/go/nacce) 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 

e-Learning and Technology Improve Learning Outcomes in Community College Classrooms

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 09, 2014
In the first blog reporting on the results of a National e-Learning Landscape Survey of community college faculty commissioned by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and HP, we learned that the use of e-learning and technology is increasing in community college classrooms. In this post, we look at how this development is helping to improve student outcomes.  


Based on survey responses, community college faculty members are confident in the ability of online learning to improve learning outcomes. Among the 250+ respondents, the top five benefits of online learning identified were: 
(1) Increases access through location and time flexible learning; 
(2) more resources and information are available to students 24/7; 
(3) wide variety of tools and methods teachers can use for teaching; 
(4) a good supplement to face-to-face curriculum e.g. as additional study materials; and 
(5) it can lead to a richer learning experience if integrated correctly, freeing up class time for more engaging activities.

How Online or Hybrid Classes Facilitate Learning 
When asked when online/hybrid classes best facilitate learning, respondents raised a number of features that are found in the HP LIFE platform:
  • Depends on the nature of the course (29%): Online learning works better for more self-paced courses that tend to require students to work individually; for more basic and introductory courses that are less applied; for teaching technology skills; when supported with face-to-face – modules on HP LIFE are designed to fit different delivery methods, can be a supplement for F2F and also for individual, self-paced learning. Topics simplify complex concepts.
  • Depends on the resources available to the online course, including its format & features (23%): Need for teacher training, high quality content and curriculum design, use in conjunction with real world problems and situations, opportunities for student-student and student-teacher interaction, discussion boards, collaborative team projects, activities (e.g. exercises, quizzes, assignments, presentations), online simulations 
  • Depends on accessibility (7%): Need for basic or adequate technology skills (e.g. able to troubleshoot on their own).  One suggestion is to include a module on ‘how to succeed in online and hybrid courses’ – such a module/course is under discussion with HP LIFE partner New Media Consortium.  
Technology Allows Teachers to “Flip the Classroom” 
“Flipped” learning strategies were also cited by survey respondents as being particularly helpful in facilitating learning in online/hybrid courses. For instance, the teacher can pre-record lectures that students watch online before class, thus allowing class time to be spent on mastering the material rather than just hearing about it. Flipping the classroom, which is made possible by technology, is a learning strategy that is growing in popularity at all levels of education.  

Our survey asked faculty when online or hybrid classes best facilitate student learning. Here, 38% responded with answers related to the nature of the student. The availability of online learning for students who face time constraints, such as working students, or who face distance-related challenges in coming to school was cited by 18% of respondents as factors that make online or hybrid courses helpful to student. Similarly, 18% said online or hybrid courses work best for students with the right motivation, time management skills, discipline and focus. Just 2% suggested that more advanced higher education students (e.g. graduate students) might be better able to benefit from online/hybrid learning.

Thirteen percent of survey respondents said that the nature of the course being taught determines the extent to which online or hybrid courses best facilitate student Among these, 5% felt that online learning works better for more self-paced courses that tend to require students to work individually (e.g. research); and 5% felt that online learning works better for more basic and introductory courses that are less applied. A few (2 respondents) also expressed that online learning is particularly useful when the topics being learned are equipping students to use technologies. 

Format and Features Are Important
The resources available to the online course, including its format and features, was deemed an important determining factor in its efficacy to improve student out comes by 23.19% of survey participants. The top resources mentioned by this group included:
  • Teachers/teacher training, for instance, when an instructor is able to help students make meaning out of material, or when the instructor takes every step to design and facilitate a robust and interesting course. 
  • High quality content and course/curriculum design, such as through using videos and review documents. The online learning experience can also be improved when used in conjunction with real world, real time issues (current events and current problems/issues), and when they are relevant to student's interests.
  • Student-student and teacher-student interaction in online learning environments. Discussion boards were commonly cited as useful in fostering communication and interaction. 
  • Collaborative/team projects to generate interaction. 
  • Exercises, assignments, quizzes, and presentations are helpful. 
  • The flexibility offered by online courses is important. 
  • Online simulations 
Other Methods that Would Help Support Teaching Entrepreneurship
When it comes specifically to teaching entrepreneurship, other online tools/information that respondents suggested that could increase effectiveness in classes included: 
  1. Other types of teaching/learning methods – e.g. flipped learning strategies  
  2. More teaching resources – e.g. social media, videos, case studies, webinars
  3. More collaborative activities – e.g. funded competitions, community engagement
  4. Broader content / topics – e.g. training for “soft” skills, info on start-up funding
  5. More school-wide resources – e.g. incubators, entrepreneurship clubs
Still Can’t Take Accessibility for Granted 
Finally, 7% of respondents said an online or hybrid course’s ability improve student comes depended on its accessibility. Five percent pointed out the need for basic or adequate technology skills (e.g. able to troubleshoot on their own). Two percent noted that students must have access to Internet/devices, including at home to succeed with such courses. This points to the fact that while most of us consider fast Internet connectivity as a given, many community colleges across the ground serve vast rural areas where this convenience cannot be taken for granted. 

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E-Learning Emerging As Educational Resource for Community Colleges

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 02, 2014
Three important trends are converging at community colleges to alter the shape of how education occurs. These include the national focus on completion of students’ studies, increased usage of technology by faculty to reduce costs and present real-time information, and students’ desire to learn on their own time at their own pace. In addition, there is an ongoing conversation on how community colleges can support entrepreneurship and small businesses to grow local economies. 

To better understand these issues, a survey was conducted through a collaboration between the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, and Hewlett-Packard, whose programs include HP LIFE e-Learning, a free, cloud-based, peer-reviewed, e-learning program that offers online IT and business skills training for entrepreneurs.   Part of HP Living Progress, the company’s vision for creating a better future for everyone through its actions and innovations, the goals of the HP LIFE e-Learning program include helping to create jobs and stimulate economic growth. 

Emphasis on increasing completion rates
Keeping students on the track to earning a degree or even certification has become a pronounced concern in recent years. While community colleges provide accessible, affordable education, it is paramount that students finish their studies in a timely fashion to prepare them for the careers they hope to pursue, including, for many, the start of entrepreneurial endeavors. Our survey looked at how community college faculty members are using e-learning as a cost-effective means to achieve this institutional objective. 

“Keeping students on track to earning a credential, whether that be a degree or certification, has become a national interest in recent years,” said NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle. “While community colleges provide accessible, affordable education, it is paramount that students walk away with credentials that are meaningful in the workplace and that they are prepared for the careers they hope to pursue, including, for many, the start of entrepreneurial endeavors. Our survey looked at how community college faculty members are using e-learning as a cost-effective means to achieve this completion objective.”
 
“Among other benefits, e-learning gives community colleges the ability to broaden access and deepen learning experiences for geographically far-flung students, including those who reside in rural areas,” said Jeannette Weisschuh, Director, Economic Progress Strategy at HP. “E-learning also enables them to provide more access to educational materials for students who need further support. We’re proud HP LIFE e-Learning is a part of this new style of teaching and learning.”

e-Learning is being used in more than half of community colleges and trending upwards

The rapid development of e-learning tools holds the potential to dramatically shift how education occurs on community college campuses. In a National e-Learning Landscape Survey of community college faculty commissioned by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and HP, we learned that e-learning is being used in more than half of community colleges. They’re benefiting from their ability to teach geographically far-flung students, including those who reside in rural areas or even outside their normal service territory. E-Learning is also enabling them to provide more access to educational materials for students who need further interaction in order to take in the breadth of their studies. 

e-Learning is broadly defined
Before going further into the study it is necessary to explore what e-learning is; it’s a ubiquitous term that is defined broadly. A whole new crop of acronyms has been developed – MOOCs, OERs, and LMS – to categorize it. e-Learning itself is a hard concept to narrow down as the proliferation of technology that dictates its definition is constantly changing. It means many things to various audiences within the academic community. While some emphasize e-learning’s educational means others define it through its numerous technological mediums.  

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning defines e-learning  as being “part of the new dynamic that characterizes educational systems at the start of the 21st century, resulting from the merger of different disciplines, such as computer science, [and] communication technology.” Respondents in the National e-Learning Landscape Survey defined e-Learning broadly as well:  

“E-Learning is utilizing online tools that deepen understanding of course materials and give opportunities for other learning styles to be utilized.”

“Using technology to enhance student learning, no matter the modality (face to face, hybrid, compressed video, or online).” 

“The use of technology to provide educational experiences that are creative, reach students with a variety of learning styles, provide flexible scheduling options for faculty and staff, without sacrificing quality of instruction.”

Use of online courses at community colleges is increasing: 
  • More than half of respondents use some form of technology to enhance student learning:
    • 68% use YouTube videos
    • 52% use online course modules, among others. (Among the users of online course delivery, 66% report moderate to high usage.) 
    • 53% use Blogs / Online Discussion Groups (53%) and
    • 40% use Online Simulations or Tutorials (40%).

Currently, 31% of community colleges courses are taught as hybrid courses or purely online.  Respondents estimate that in two years 39% of the course will be taught using those modalities.  The growth in the use of online learning reflects a few trends: colleges use online courses to meet student needs for flexibility and self-paced learning as well as the use of online courses to free up classrooms. It could also be faculty preference. While only 6% of faculty prefer teaching online, 38% prefer teaching hybrid and 26% face to face.

The breakout of teaching modalities taught at community colleges is shifting online:
  F2FPrimarily F2FHybridPurely Online
  Currently     45%16%13%18%
  In 2 years 35%16%17%22%


Educators Value e-Learning as a Tool for Their Students
  • 84% of respondents confirm their outlook that e-learning is a valuable educational tool with 44% of agreeing and 40% strongly agreeing with this statement. 

  • 66% are avid users with 30% indicating they’d strongly agree and 36% agree. 

  • 82% said “I like to learn about all the new types of e-learning tools available for use in higher education.” (46% strongly agree and 36% agree).

  • More than half (56%) of teachers prefer to use teaching modalities that have some form of online component: 38% prefer hybrid, 12% prefer primarily face-to-face but with some online supplements; and 6% prefer purely online structures. Some 5% are okay with any modality.

  • 91% of respondents are open to considering alternative methods of teaching, and 83% would be able to integrate an effective, free, e-learning module that worked for their course.

Use of Online Learning for Entrepreneurship Education
More than 70% of the time, community colleges advocate the use of technology in business settings and processes, business ventures, and in teaching entrepreneurship. Fifty-four percent of study respondents are teaching  business/entrepreneurship related courses. Of these teachers, 75% say it would be easy to incorporate entrepreneurship-related curricula in the classes they teach. 

Even among the teachers who are not specifically teaching entrepreneurship, a wide margin are open to the possibility of adding entrepreneurship-related curricula to their classes. Among survey respondents 15% teach other technical courses but are not specifically business/entrepreneurship courses (e.g. trade courses, engineering, sciences, economics, IT).  Of these, 53% say it would be easy to incorporate entrepreneurship-related curricula in the classes they teach.

Despite the availability of online courses in entrepreneurship, teachers are still essential in students’ entrepreneurial learning experiences. Forty-nine percent say that students regularly come to them for support in starting a business, while some 45% say past students have similarly sought such guidance.

Very Few Barriers to Adoption
Most respondents have no hesitations in incorporating new e-learning tools. However, some of the most cited concerns are: doubts in capability/reliability, acceptance of both students and teachers, and lack of resources such as time, ICT access, and technical support. Moreover, about 10% have little control over materials used in classes.

Fortunately, access to technology is not a barrier for the majority of students. According to study respondents, students generally have high access to technology for their e-learning courses either in or out of school. Respondents estimate that 65% of community college students have low to no difficulty in accessing online course content. 

In Conclusion
All in all, the study shows that technological advances are benefiting the educational landscape in unprecedented ways. We now have quantitative proof that increasing numbers of community college faculty are employing e-learning to help their students become better prepared for success. 

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Student Success Stories Powered by HP LIFE

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 05, 2014
Student: Brian Stephens

Existing Business Name: Stephens Consulting Enterprises (SCE)


Business Type: Healthcare Advisory Consulting

What services do you provide?
SCE provides leadership to Hospitals and Healthcare organizations as they implement new Electronic Health Record software. SCE addresses the cultural, attitudinal and process changes that must occur across clinical workforces for these projects to succeed. The SCE model supports three targeted focus areas.

I – Deep Analysis and Design focusing on an organization’s culture and intended goals and imperatives leveraging the new software system. The SCE model is clear, specific, and supports detailed budgetary planning.

II – A Practical Implementation model with an eye for long-term system optimization. The SCE model is not focused on go live, it is focused on measureable adoption and the changes to workflow and process that drive success. 

III - Leveraging partnerships with industry leading change management and social collaboration technology providers, SCE goes beyond functional solution training and creates a synergistic model that addresses the “hidden” barriers that derail organization-wide learning efforts. 

How has HP LIFE helped you grow your business? HP LIFE was a strong adjunct to the academic curriculum and the Entrepreneur support agencies available in the community. HP LIFE provided the visual reference or the hands on learning exercise that brought all aspects of a topic together for that “aha moment”. The tools and templates available to download were top tier, relevant and very useful. 

What other support do you have on or off campus to start your business? Kansas City has the most Entrepreneurial support in the Nation! Bring your idea and see for yourself.

www.brianstephensconsulting.com

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Learning by Doing is still the best way for students to “get it”

Posted By Otis J White, Monday, April 28, 2014

As teachers we are always asking the question "what can I do to help my students "get it"? We search for new media, new books, new classroom activities and new technology. But sometimes we forget the old adage that “doing is learning.”

In a recent online class I wanted to make some points about how Social Entrepreneurship (Social Venturing) can be a vehicle to solving big societal problems both locally and around the world. We viewed a video about Tom’s Shoes and Blake Mycoskie the company founder, we blogged about how something as simple as giving away shoes could change the life of children around the world. (Tom’s shoes has given away over 10 million pairs!) We read articles on many other social ventures and the students wrote papers on businesses they would start and how those businesses would solve local or global problems either directly or indirectly. There are endless examples these days to choose from and cases to study.

All that said, it was not until they actually worked the Social Entrepreneurship module in HP Life that I began to received emails saying they finally “got it” and understood the deeper, personal meaning of the movement. An example … “I have attached below my certificate for completing the social entrepreneurship module online. I enjoyed doing it! It was actually more engaging than I expected.” And another … “I definitely liked it. It helped clarify to me what social entrepreneurship is, as opposed to a nonprofit organization, government program, etc. I liked how interactive and easy it was as well. I think it is certainly a good way for students to learn about social entrepreneurship.” These students, and the others, expressed how this small module, placed in the right context of the curriculum, helped them understand the concept.

At Rio Salado College, we have added HP Life modules to over 20 classes in our Small Business and Entrepreneurship online courses. We also have begun adding them to our university transfer courses in Business and Public Administration. Colleagues in other disciplines are also finding uses for these well designed open online learning resources. Our approach is to use them as learning enhancements to existing lessons as well as authentic assessments of learning. Learning by doing is alive and well in the HP Life series of modules. Check them out at: http://www.life-global.org/en?utm_source=nacce&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=NACCE_Generic&utm_campaign=Partner

All the best,
Otis J White
Faculty Chair of Business & Public Administration
Rio Salado College
Tempe, Arizona

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HP LIFE and Student-Run Business Hutchins Farm

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HP LIFE and Hutchins Farm

HP LIFE Faculty Ambassador: Dr. James W. Dottin, Professor of Business

 

Community College: Middlesex Community College        Lowell, MA  
Student: Jason Staci

Existing Business Name: Hutchins Farm 
Business Location: 754 Monument Street    Concord, Massachusetts  01742

Business Type:

            A more than seventy-five acre USDA certified organic fruit and vegetable farm.

What products and services do you currently provide?

            We grow more than 115 varieties of fruits and vegetables as of right now. We grow everything from watermelons, lettuce, blueberries, rutabagas, and many more.

We also offer locally sourced honey, salad dressings, and flowers.

How will HP LIFE helps you grow your business?

          Social Media Marketing was one of the greatest lessons I was taught by HP LIFE. In today’s ever changing society, we are surrounded by social media. In our everyday lives, we see it from your own phone, to the news and more. As a more traditional and laid back farm, we have yet to fully explore this venue. We have a Facebook page, however it lacks in certain aspects to attract even more new customers. With other outlets like Twitter and Instagram, we have the potential to expand our customer base with these easy to use and free promotional tools.

HP LIFE showed me effective ways to incorporate social media more into the business. We could set up a Twitter and Tweet about today’s fresh vegetables, or take an Instagram picture of the freshly harvested lettuce. Through HP LIFE, I learned how to successfully employ Social Media Marketing into my own business.

How is information technology important in growing your business?

            In today’s society, information technology is so important. Whether you are in farming or retail, it is a huge part of everyday business. Even as a small farm, we use it every day. We use it to log what produce was harvested for the day or what chemicals were put on the crops. It helps us respond to our customers through email and even Facebook.

What type of support do you have on/off campus to help you start your business?

            Off campus as a farmer, there are a tremendous amount of resources available. The MA Dept. of Agriculture is helpful in getting loans and land. There is also the BFN, the Beginning Farmers Network. This is where new farmers, up to ten years in the business, can find information and talk to fellow farmers about anything related to agriculture.

Every two years, we also have the New England Fruit and Vegetable convention where you can learn about new innovations in agriculture as well as speak with fellow farmers. As a new farmer or old, you have a wealth of resources to help you grow your business.  Now, HP LIFE modules are one of those resources that provide insight into Customer Relationship Management and Social Media Marketing to grow our customer base. 

At Middlesex Community College, students have access to the Small Business Assistance Center. The center assists in the writing of business plans, marketing plans, financial projections and micro loans applications. Also, the college has formed a partnership with the Merrimack Valley Sandbox Campus Catalyst. The Campus Catalyst is also in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Merrimack College. The Sandbox provides students with connections, support, and seed grants to launch ones business ideas through the assistance of this regional incubator. 

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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.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

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.”​

 

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.”

 

 

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.”

 

 

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. 

 

About NACCE

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 http://www.nacce.com. Follow us at @NACCE, like us on facebook.com/NACCE, 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

Piktochart.com

Visual.ly

Learnist.com

 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.

 

Badges

Credly.com

 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

techsmith.com/jing.html

Chirbit.com

 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.

 

videonot.es

I'm not even sure how to categorize this last tool....videonot.es. 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.  Videonot.es allows students to watch a video and synchronize their notes with the video content. They can submit this assignment....video 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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