"Why Community Colleges Must Play A Significant Role in Entrepreneurship in the Next Decade and the Role of Community Colleges in Becoming Entrepreneurial Themselves"
- Heather VanSickle
- Tim Mittan
- Tim Putnam
Why Must Community College Play a Role?
Creates a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that incites innovation, jobs and long-term economic growth.
How do you do that?
Heather describes Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge. Community colleges should start with what they have. You do not always need to start with BIG ideas and lots of money. As Saras Sarasvathy, in her Entrepreneurial Method, says:
- Start with what you have
- Decide how much you can lose
- Co-create with partners
- Leverage contingencies
- Have a worldview that we can CREATE change that we want to see. You do not have to wait.
Culture is important too! Do you work in a place where you can test and learn?
NIAC started with humble beginning but want to make an impact in North Iowa. Their center's role is to pump the pipeline of entrepreneurs and innovation. He thinks of education as transformational. He is involved from 5th grade through higher ed inciting the message that you can be job creators, you can be an entrepreneur. He brings in a wide range of partners from those involved in tech transfers to capital providers to SBDC. To me, it sounds like they are conveners, marketers and translators so his community knows all of what is available and how to access those resources successfully. "As a community college, we are non-threatening and in turn have great partnerships."
Heather said "Many of the points Tim touched on applied the Entrepreneurial Method. We need to start developing a shared language and take it out of the abstract so we can understand how to apply best practices to our own colleges."
Tim was in rural Nebraska for ten years. He was charged with inciting entrepreneurship on campus. Tim started with education. A Entreprenuership 101 course ended up in the course catalog with no marketing and yet it was full when it started, mostly with non-business students. Wedler, auto, ag and early childhood students all took entrepreneurship courses. Those students were going to run small business but were not taught business. In Nebraska, they had to take out the word entrepreneurship, and used small business instead. Locals thought you had to be Warren Buffet if you wanted to be an entrepreneur.
With a big state, it took 8 hours to drive across. Tim shared his work and best practices with community colleges across the state. Tim helped develop NetForce, to identify and leverage educational resources to educate, engage and empower current and potential entrepreneurs. I need to interview on how he rolled their education courses out across the state! Within year he got all of curriculum created and approved!
How do you build internal and external partnerships?
Tim Putnam - He partners with his Economic Development Corporation offices. He reaches out
Tim Mittan - To build his internal team, he held a breakfast for all program directors at his new entrepreneurial center. Through that outreach he developed internal partnerships with technical directors. Since the technical directors could not add a course for their students who they thought were going to start a business, Tim's team offered to be a substitute once a semester.
How do you engage entrepreneurs?
Heather - It is good to engage your alumni. Many are entrepreneurs. She tells a story of how a college in Wisconsin who had nursing alumni who started a business come on for a panel. This engagement created many opportunities to keep the alum engaged - guest lectures, presenters, new course and student internships.
Tim Mittan - He started an Advisory board. 50% treps and 50% resource providers. Out of that, he started a Meet the Experts
Tim Putnam - He started a seed fund with entrepreneurs and angels and in first fund raised $1.7M. Tim need to start an LCC. His next steps is to start a formal mentor network but he is not sure that there is not enough work to engage the mentors.