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!
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.
Just sat in on some of the preliminary live presentations
for the NACCE
Entrepreneurial College in Action Grants, powered by the Coleman Foundation.
The focus this year is on programs that promote the first two steps of the
Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge. Grants of up to $15,000 will go to
colleges that create and expand internal and external teams dedicated to
entrepreneurship or increase entrepreneurs’ engagement on campus.
From the three presentations I watched, the judges have
their work cut out for them. South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, AZ;
Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne, IN, and Houston Community College – Northwest, in
Houston, TX, all made compelling presentations while I sat in. I’m sure the
other finalists are going a similar good job this afternoon. Winners will be
announced at breakfast on Wednesday. Good luck to all!
Tomorrow at lunch, we’ll hear from Desh
Despande, this year’s winner of NACCE’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Don’t miss
his remarks; I know they’ll be both enlightening and energizing; I can say that
with confidence because I had the honor of interviewing Desh last June for the
cover article of the Summer/Fall issue of Community College Entrepreneurship,
and I very much enjoyed his thoughts on how to the importance of
Desh Deshpande is a serial entrepreneur, having
founded numerous companies, including Sycamore Networks.
He’s also well known for his philanthropic work, which includes starting the Deshpande Center for Technological
Innovation at MIT. Through the Deshpande Foundation,
he provided seed money to start the Center, which empowers researchers to bring
innovative technologies from the lab to the marketplace in terms of
breakthrough products and new companies. Since 2002, DCTI has reviewed 500 proposals and
funded more than 90 projects with over $11 million in grants.
also been a major contributor to many entrepreneurial philanthropic causes throughout
the world, including the Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox
in Lawrence/Lowell, Massachusetts, in which two NACCE member colleges,
Middlesex Community College and Northern Essex Community College, participate. And
as if he weren’t already busy enough, in 2010, Desh was appointed to co-chair
a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship
For the Merrimack Valley
Sandbox (MV Sandbox), Desh committed $1 million annually over five years, works
to strengthen an ecosystem that promotes entrepreneurship and leadership in
Lowell and Lawrence, MA. The MV Sandbox coordinates activities between
Middlesex Community College, Northern Essex Community College, UMass-Lowell,
Merrimack College, community non-profits, and the Merrimack Valley business
community. The "Campus Catalyst” program within the MV Sandbox provides
entrepreneurial support to students at both community colleges. (For more info
on this program, read the article on page 26 of the Spring/Summer 2013 NACCE
It’s almost here! In just two days, NACCE members from
across the country will begin gathering in Charlotte, NC, for NACCE’s 11th
Annual Conference. This live blog will be your source for conference news
throughout the event.
I will be live blogging many of the sessions, as will
Karen-Michelle Mirko, NACCE’s VP of Marketing, Sales and Meaningful Collisions.
(For those of you who don’t know me, I edit Community
College Entrepreneurship, NACCE’s quarterly journal.)
This year’s conference is bigger than ever, as registrations
are approaching the 500 mark. This will be my third conference, and I always
come away so impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the attendees. I can’t
wait to sit in on breakout sessions and hear about the innovative things NACCE
members are doing on their campuses to promote entrepreneurship and build
strong local economies.
I know many of you can’t be at the conference, so our aim
with this blog is to help you feel like you are
there. And for those of you who are at the conference, we will be your eyes and
ears in sessions you just can’t get to because you can’t be everywhere at once!
Join us as we celebrate the role of community colleges in
helping people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Stay tuned!