Dr. George Millsaps, state director of the NC Small Business
Center Network (SBCN), started us off with a quick review of North Carolina’s
economy and higher education community. There are 60 SBCNs in the state,
primarily located at community colleges. In total, these facilities offered
3,791 entrepreneurship training events in 2012-2013, created about 1,732 jobs,
and saved 1,235 jobs at a cost of $2,097 per job created/retained.
Barry Ryan, associate director of the NC Rural Economic
Development Center, gave an overview of that organization, which is a nonprofit
organization devoted to rural development. They operate a micro-enterprise fund
and a small business credit initiative, which is a U.S. Treasury funded
Working in partnership, these two organizations have taken
the traditional workforce development model and brought it together with the
business development model and are training people to prepare them for
Here is information on programs they operate using this new
NOW – New
Opportunities for Workers
Was offered in 22 community college sites from 2004-07.
Thousands of dislocated workers attended information
sessions. The program was built to fit the community college infrastructure and
procedural system. Hundreds received free training, but relative few business
starts resulted. So everyone did everything right but nothing was accomplished.
The program didn’t include counseling. Some folks really took off with the
program but some did not. Each college got the same amount of money, which
So after looking at what happened with this program, they
then retooled and offered GATE, Growing America Through
Entrepreneurship, which was launched in 2009 with $1.6 million from the US
DOL. This was for unemployed people. This program model is built around case
management and coaching and is built to leverage community college capabilities
and strengths. It features one-on-one assessments and customized training
The program is for dislocated (i.e, unemployed) workers. They
spent that these people spent live working for a manager, and they don’t really
know how to manage themselves. So advisors end up working with many life
issues, like how to manage debt.
In addition to advisors in the small business center
network, there is a virtual site with two staff people is based in Raleigh
working with people all across the state. That worked well to provide statewide
In this model they made the training customized to the
individual. They think of each person as an individual business with individual
needs that are specific to their industry and business. So they provided
scholarships instead of giving the money to the colleges directly. This drove
funding costs down from the previous model. Average scholarship size is about
Big component of this is that the North Carolina Employment
Commission gave a work search waiver so people didn’t have to look for a job
while they were actually starting their own business. This let people get their
unemployment check while they were in this program.
Results from 2009 to now: 1,500 scholarships awarded to
clients from 83 NC counties
8,000 hours of counseling and over $250,000 in tuition
203 GATE clients have started businesses, creating 534 jobs
Ventures – This is their latest program, which was started 18 months ago.
It focuses on young adults between 19 and 30. Loss of young folks in rural
areas is critical issue. They wanted a program that would make self-employment
a possibility for young people in rural North Carolina.
This program builds on the GATE model. It offers:
- Virtual service delivery
- Emphasis on online training
- Average scholarship provides $300 in coursework
- Innovative finance solutions
The individual case model also used because this population
also needs a lot of support.
New Generation Ventures Microloan Circles
5-6 clients meet using Google hangouts and make loan
recommendations to the Rural Center. They are vetting each other. Had great
participation. So they’re looking to scale this pilot.
Small loans, most under $5K and short-term of less than 1 to
2 clients funded to date; additional rounds coming soon!
Relationship based funding, bi-weekly payments
If someone isn’t repaying the loan, the peers in the circle
They are looking to tweak their model so that access to
funding is not a roadblock.
Results in first 18 months:
Served 206 young adults, average age 26,
35 business starts, 23 existing businesses, 84 jobs created
Lessons learned from both programs:
Training is necessary but not sufficient. Training is best
when customized to client needs.
Case management is key. Traditional counseling model doesn’t
work for rural dislocated workers and young adults.
Community college/non-profit partnership leverages strengths
of both organizations.
Job search waiver helps to create a runway for those who are
To much excitement and great applause, the winners of the FastPitch competition were just announced
at this evening’s reception. This competition, a first for the NACCE Conference,
gave student entrepreneurs and College Small Business Center clients the
opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of a community college education and
represent their colleges at our annual conference.
Here are the entrepreneurs who prevailed through two rounds
of short presentations to come out on top. (This competition was generously
sponsored by the John E. & Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation and Catawba Valley
• First place winning $1,000 – Michelle Bernard, Spellcast
• Second place, winning $600 – Sabrina Brooks, A Peaceful
Passage Transportation Services
• Third place, winning $400 – Joyce Mallery, DJ Bunge
• Fourth place, winning a $200 gift certificate donated by
Augusoft – Paul Fuselier, 10/4 Truck Stop
Congratulations to the happy winners and to all involved
with this program.
The lunch session began with a video with NACCE’s 2013
Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Desh Deshpande. "The best way to solve
problems in this world is to make everybody entrepreneurs,” says Desh in the
film. One of the people interviewed said of Desh, "He’s like Yoda!"
NACCE President and CEO presented Desh with the 2013 Lifetime
Achievement Award. Here are highlights of Desh’s comments upon accepting his award:
I have been part of MIT for about 15 years and I got my Ph.D. at a university so I know the university world. But I know less about the community college world, so I’m going to talk about what needs to get done and then maybe you can figure out how to get there.
Over the last 40 years the world changed because of innovation. Ideas go around very rapidly and create change. So in this exhilarating world of innovation if we just look at the next 10 years, we will see more change than in the last 50 years. And that presents opportunities for entrepreneurs.
In the U.S. every year about 500K businesses get started. In the last 15 years on average they have hired about 4 million people. If we want the economy to thrive we have to come up with more jobs from these businesses. So we have to find ways to speed them up so they grow faster and hire more.
A good goal to have for community colleges is to say that you should have at least 10% of your new graduates start new things. They on average hire 10 people so it’s a community of people that are part of the innovation economy. So how do we get there? Let me give you two examples. MIT on one side; they have a lot of resources. They have an endowment of $12 billion and they think it’s too small. They start roughly about 250 companies a year. But then let me take you for a minute to the other part of the world; about eight years after we had success with the institute we start at MIT we said let’s see what we can do in India. The schools in India are really broken. People typically work very hard but there’s not active learning; it’s passive.
So we opened the Social Innovation Sandbox in India. We decided to go directly to the students; asked them to work in teams of four and pick a problem in society and solve it. So now we have 1000 students in the program working on 250 problems. In India there are lots of problems but people typically walked around and didn’t notice the problems. But with this program students began to notice the problems. And the problems start looking like opportunities for these people. When the students get focused on the problem, no matter how big or small, when they find a way to unlock the problem it’s a very empowering experience.
When you’re an entrepreneur you always feel that tomorrow will be better than today. Doesn’t matter what the reality is; it’s just a great way to live!
Why not look at the whole society and embrace the whole society and look at the problems as an experiential learning opportunity for the students. It’s true that there are certain things that only MIT and Stanford can do. But every big innovation for it to really have an impact globally, it has to be contextualized and in lots of different ways.
I think at community colleges, your students and your faculty know what’s really best for the community and they can find ways to contectualize a lot of the innovation that is occurring.
What’s predictable is the fact that things will change. But it isn’t obvious what those changes are. You could have predicted when cell phones came along that they would evolve from the suitcase size to the iPhone, but you couldn’t predict what companies in this would win and which would fail.
Start with a network of people who are likeminded and really want to do this. Embrace the people in the community and let them talk to your students; people want to associate themselves with educational institutions. You have huge convening power.
You will need patience. Things always are harder and take longer than you think. But the good news on the other end is that once it takes off it always goes faster than you think.
Each one of you should treat yourself as an entrepreneur and say what am I trying to do here. It’s all about having the mindset to start the journey without having the complete roadmap.
Conferences like this help you separate the things that are known from what you don’t know.
There are certain things you can never figure out until you do them.
I think it’s going to be very exciting over the next 10 years. The changes are going to be led by entrepreneurs and it’s going to be global.
Dr. Anita Bleffert-Schmidt from SUNY-Ulster talks about the
advantages of experiential or action learning. One of the big ones is that it
spurs community action and brings businesses closer to your institution.
For students themselves, this Chinese proverb sums it up: I
hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand.
Mindy Kole, of SUNY-Ulster, described a student-run business
they’re starting called Community Creations. This will be a kiosk in the
cafeteria featuring products from local artisans. Embedded it in the
entrepreneurship curriculum; every student that comes through the e-ship track
will work on the business. It’s 40% of their grade in the e-ship course.
(At first they tried running the kiosk as a club but it was
hard to get people to show up; this mirrors the experience of another college
that spoke at one of the pre-conference events yesterday.)
They are in the third term of students who worked on this.
First term, the students did research on campus as to what the student-run
business should be. They developed a survey and got 230 surveys back. Based on
that information, they wrote a business plan.
Last fall, they received a Colman Grant for the start-up
costs. So in the spring the students started working in teams and each team
functioned as a department. There was a kiosk team, who needed to go out and
find a builder. Another team worked on the website. One team worked with local
entrepreneurs on how they would get products into the kiosk. Other teams worked
on accounting and marketing.
They received tremendous campus support, which was critical.
For example, an accounting professor worked with the team, training them in
QuickBooks. Security worked with them on developing policies to help ensure
policies about how the cash is handled on campus. College attorneys reviewed
the consignment agreement. The cafeteria donated a cash register and gave them
space for the kiosk. Consider the culture of your institution to understand
whether this type of support will be possible to achieve.
The business is run as a consignment business; 60% of proceeds of a sale go to the artisan and 40% go back to support the business.
Make sure you don't step on the toes of other campus businesses, like the cafeteria or the book store.
A key success factor is bringing in the community. In this case, the students found the artisans and worked with them on pricing, etc.
For more info on the project Mindy talked about, check
Facebook.com/Pfeiffer Center or @mkole on Twitter.
James Matlack described KCKCC Made, a student run business
at Kansas City Kansas Community College. This is structured very differently
from the previously described business.
What they were finding in everything noncredit re:
entrepreneurship, they weren’t getting students involved. So they did some
research including surveys and did a SWOT analysis. Narrowed the reasons down
to five reasons why students weren’t attending:
What is in it for me? Average is early 30s, leading busy
lives, need to let them know why this is of value to them.
$$ - need to do something that generates from income for
"Hide” the education – wanted to create a program in which
people learned without knowing they were being educated.
Confidence – all in it together – found students were
intimidated by consulting sessions, so needed to get them some confidence.
Exposure – professors said there were a lot of great ideas
among the students but they weren’t getting exposure.
So they launched KCKCC Made, which sells products made by
students, faculty or staff at the KCKCC bookstore. Also includes marketing
support and business consulting. People are required to do two consulting
sessions with the SBDC in order to sell in the business. So they see a benefit
to the sessions and they love it. They also have todemonstrate that they have some sort of
business plan in process.
At first the bookstore was reluctant, but the students met
with them and convinced them that it would help draw traffic to the store so
they got on board.
This model is based on supporting the entrepreneur and
getting their business off the ground and helping them be successful. But then
the students are running the business. The students aren’t there actually doing
the selling; the products are in a defined section of the bookstore but the
bookstore takes care of the retail portion of it and tracks sales. The students
did things like writing the consignment agreement, etc. The participation of
students is extra curricular, not credit. Students in Free Enterprise run it.
One product sold is a barbeque sauce that is sold in 10
states; on the other side is a student who makes jewelry between classes. So
they have people with different intentions as far as growing a business. Currently
have 15 entrepreneurs, 12 of which are students. They are launching an online
portion. They’re also working on an idea for selling services.For services, they decided they would require that the student or faculty member would have to own 25% of the parent business in order to qualify.
For more information, James’ Twitter account is@WFD–KCK.
For the first breakout sessions I sat in on a mind-blowing session. It was part one of the leadership track, "Introducing the Entrepreneurial Method." I need time to turn my notes into a post,which I will do this evening. You're going to hear about the five principles of the entrepreneurial method, as defined by Saras Sarasvathy.
I've been working with entrepreneurs and consultants to entrepreneurs for over 25 years and, for the last seven years, entrepreneurship educators, so I've heard a lot about entrepreneurship. So I was fascinated to hear something truly new. You will be too. More this evening on this!
Very strong energy in the first general session of the first
full day of NACCE2013. Ron Thomas kicks things off by announcing that Sam’s
Club has renewed its support for the Shared Vision for Small Business
collaboration with NACCE. The goal is to identify 480 business owners over the
next few years and to help them be successful and then identify the best
practices that can be shared with other colleges. I’ll post the list of colleges that were
chosen for the second cohort of this program later today.
Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community
College, the host college for the conference, then welcomed the crowd to his
city. He gave us a short, very interesting history lesson of Charlotte, letting
us know that this area declared its independence from Great Britain a full year
before the Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence. And he
introduced us to the word "Huzzah!”
Zeiss talked about it being a time for change, but that also
makes it a time of opportunities. "Presidents must become entrepreneurs,” he
More thoughts from Zeiss:
The way to do that is to set a clear vision and a strategic
plan, committed leadership, become good anticipatory thinkers., entrepreneurial
thinking and make innovation and entrepreneurialism core values of your
How do you increase revenues? State and local government,
gifts and donations, federal/private/state grants and fees for services.
How do you raise money from state and local governments:
Have to friend raise before you fund raise. Politicians know two things: money
and votes. Leverage college supporters.
Advertise for scholarship sponsors. It works!
Fees for service: Contract training/consulting. Consultant
services; establish a 501c3 corporation to do nothing but fees for services.
Incubate faculty-staff businesses through the services corporation. Wonderful
way to renewyour people. So give them
seed money to write a book or do a film or whatever they want to do. Profit share with them.
President’s Entrepreneurial Team – 30 members, rotating
His closing words to the audience: "Seize the day!”
Dr. Angeline Godwin, president of Patrick Henry Community
College; Tressie McMillan Cottom, an academic researcher and columnist with
Counter Narrative and Slate; and Matt Reed, VP of Academic Affairs at Holyoke
Community College made up the panel.
First up were the panels thoughts on the changing landscape.
Tressie: In my sector of the world we’re talking a lot about
how technology is impacting the education sector. The expansion of the
geography of a college beyond its physical geography through massive online
open courses. Colleges are trying to figure out how to use this to alleviate
other issues, such as a drop in funding.
Matt: From an administrative point on campus I see an
increased number of demands coming from more angles with fewer resources to
handle them. Changes in demographics, with an increasing number of students
with disabilities, for which the state provides no special funding. 12% of the
students at Holyoke Community College have disabilities. Must work with the
people who are invested in maintaining traditions; that’s a difficult balancing
Angeline: We have a bolder on one side, which we refer to
the VA bureaucracy and then on the other side we’re more and more a part of the
marketplace and responding to the marketplace. And candidly it’s how we dance
in the space between those two worlds. That is the landscape and how well we navigate
between those two things.
Angeline: In this environment, we must have an
entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs are in the multiplier business; they
understand how to take a process and leverage that and multiply it. I call
myself sometimes an innovation evangelist. We have something to offer everyone;
that is how entrepreneurs function. And always looking at where we can push it
a little more; to see what others have not seen. We are the great American
Tressie: Need to be professionally curious at every level of
the organization from the leadership on down. Community colleges exist at the
intersection of all types of social processes and all kinds of change. You’re
not operating in a closed system; you’re in an open system and need to be
constantly gathering information not just about your institution but also about
what’s going on around you.
Matt: The trick to me is pushing climate change on campus.
Faculty are very good at finding flaws. If you put ideas out there fully formed
you’re going to hear 58 versions of why your idea stinks, but if you can get
faculty involved in coming up with the ideas you’re in better shape. Change the
climate so this group of incredibly smart people comes up with a series of
answers and our job is to make possible.
Just back from the opening reception, where conversations
were humming and filling the room with the special excitement that is unique to
NACCE conference.First person I ran
into was Dan Larson, the outgoing NACCE board chair who is also president of
Cayuga Community College in New York.
We talked about what makes the NACCE conference different
from other educational conferences and Dan summed it up with this thought: "The
people in this room know they make a difference in people’s lives.”
Next I talked with Ron Liss, who is the new president of a
campus of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH.Ron moved there in July from Santa Fe, where
he participated in the Virtual Incubation project that NACCE was a part of. I
asked him why he came back to the NACCE Conference in his new role as president
and he said, "I came because we’re trying to expand the penetration of our
entrepreneurial efforts, at least that’s my goal. I’d like to see our
entrepreneurial effort spread and to perhaps even start up virtual incubation.”
Next I ran into Jim Elias of Muscatane Community College in
Iowa. We met last year when he attended his first NACCE event shortly after
having been given a mandate to start an entrepreneurship center. "Last year was
fantastic for me,” he said. "I learned all sorts of great stuff at a time when
we were just diving into entrepreneurship. Since then we have launched the
entrepreneurship center; the new furniture was delivered on Wednesday!”
Coming to the conference this year is Bob Allbee, president
of Muscatane Community College; they made a presentation for a NACCE
Entrepreneurship College in Action grant. They were the last presenters of the
day and Jim didn’t arrive at the hotel until two minutes before they were to
present! Bob says he wasn’t worried at all…somehow I doubt that! About his
first foray into a NACCE Conference, Bob said, "I’m enjoying it; listen to the
noise in this room; it’s exciting.”
Indeed it is! Tune in tomorrow for some more NACCE
Conference news and impressions.
With over 500 people registered for NACCE2013, the Hilton ballroom is going to be jam packed for general sessions. North Carolina, site of the conference, has done itself proud, with over 90 people from NC attending. I'm sitting with people from Fayette Technical Community College and Vance Granville Community College, both in NC. North Carolina has 58 community colleges! Wow!
NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle kicks off the conference by noting
that Charlotte is NASCAR country. She mentions that racers are current in what’s
known as the Chase. "We’re living in a very uncertain times for community
colleges and staying the same and playing it safe will not prepare our students
and our communities for the challenges they meet,” she said. "If you’re not
moving forward, you’re going to get lapped. We will ask you in the next 4 days
to take an honest assessment of your college to assess your classes, your
department, and your entire college that will keep you in the race and letyou
help your community.”
Next up is Dr. R. Scott Ralls, president of the North
Carolina Community College System. "One of the things that has always struck me
about the NC Community College System is how we started. We started out of an
entrepreneurial economic effort back in the 1950s, when NC was the 2nd
poorest state in the country. A very entrepreneurial governor had two crazy
ideas. The first was to build a research park in the middle of the woods, which
became the Research Triangle. His other idea was to build a network of
industrial education centers, out of that grew the first customized industrial
training programs in theUS and the NC community college system.” HEAR THE AUDIO OF DR. RALLS HERE.
Dr. Mary Rittling president o the Davidson County Community College is also part of the welcmoing committee.
She tells the personal story of her grandparents who were
immigrants and were a great part of the economic engine. "My grandmother told
me that you could make a difference if you think,” she said. "I can hear he
telling me that over and over again in Polish. This was a great place with
great opportunity. Our job as leaders is to help people see that and guide them
along. My grandparents didn’t see themselves as entrepreneurs. But they saw the
possibilities that were there for them and for their children. But in many ways
we’re talking about the spirit, the spirit of seeing something different.
Here are some things that I’m left with as a
leader at a community college that are important," she added. "We excel when we’re agile,
and when we’re good listeners and we never say no to a student or an idea. We
allow them to take the risk. We have faculty who want to each but we also
coach; we push students along and that’s very important. As leaders we’re not
afraid to take new approaches"
Dr. Rittling concluded by quoting Albert Einstein: "Logic will get you from A to B; imagination will get you everywhere." HEAR THE AUDIO OF DR. RITTLING HERE.
Dan Roselli, cofounder of Packard Place, spoke next. Packard
Place is an entrepreneurship center in Charlotte. "There is co-share space and
three different incubators, a real hub. We took an $8 million risk in the
middle of the great recession to do this, including buying a 100K square foot
building,” he said. "This was comparable to stage diving. So that’s some
background on how the Charlotte entrepreneurial community came together.”
Dan say that the entrepreneurship push in Charlotte has been pushed by the community colleges. He cites President Tony Zeiss's leadership at Central Piedmont Community College and the big role he is playing in community effort to build an entrepreneurial culture in the city. He also cites what's happening at Catawba Valley Community College regarding the Innovation Fund, being supported by the Kauffman Foundation.
Ron Thomas, NACCE’s VP of Membership, talked about a new
partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission. This is exciting because
it’s an opportunity for us to connect with these colleges and getting them
involved in the entrepreneurship programs.
Karen-Michelle Mirko, VP of Marketing and Meaningful
Collisions, recognized the exciting new partnerships that NACCE has started
this year. One is with HP-LIFE, which faculty are integrating into their
courses. There will be several sessions on this at the conference. There are 6
HP-LIFE Ambassadors at the conference.
Ron Thomas also acknowledged the presence of people who have participated in the Sam's Cliub Shared Vision program that was announced at last year's conference. The next round of colleges for this program will be announced later in the conference.
The recap of NACCE's year included the fact that the NACCE Fellows and the Ambassadors program were started this year. These are all great people to connect with at the conference.
Over 30 first-timers to the NACCE Conference have gathered for the orientation. Lots of prizes are being given out.
Moderator Tim Mittan challenged people to clear their minds and leave behind their preconditions. "There are so many brilliant people here for you to learn from," he said.
NACCE Fellow Tim Putnam reminded people that there are three more NACCE Summits coming up. In November there will be a Regional Summit at Rio Salado and at Miami-Dade. Then in February there will be a summit New River Community College.
Tim Mittan points out that there are people at the conference with a decade of experience in entrepreneurial education so this is the place to learn.