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Live from NACCE Rio Salado Summit

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

"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?


Tim Putnam

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 Mittan

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.

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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NSF Funding to Build Industry Partnerships

Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, August 19, 2013

 The National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports the creation of an entrepreneurial culture on community college campuses through the implementation of two of NACCE’s Presidents for Entrepreneurship action steps:·        

  • Engaging in Industry Cluster Development, and 
  • Leveraging Both Community College and Community Assets to Spur Innovation and Job Creation

How? NSF funding (up to $800,000 over three years) supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team and include at least one industry partner. The focus of the upcoming three-year grant cycle is platform technologies to enable "smart" service systems, during which these interdisciplinary teams collaborate on research that addresses what is needed to advance platform technologies to enable "smart” service systems to "enter into the commercialization process, succeed in the marketplace, and achieve positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.” Examples of technology applied within service systems include "smart healthcare, smart cities, on-demand transportation, precision agriculture, smart infrastructure, and other technologies enabling self-service and customized service solutions.”  

Deadline for letters of intent: November 18, 2013

Full proposal deadline: January 27, 2014

Estimated number of awards: 10

For more information, visit:


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Member Tips on Leveraging Funding to Deepen Entrepreneurial Disruption on Your Campus

Posted By Megan Ballard, Monday, August 05, 2013

We know finding the funding to attend high-impact, deep-learning events – like NACCE's Annual Conference – can be a challenge. We recently asked several members how they've leveraged special programs to support their professional development.

Christine Mollenkopf-Pigsley of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota, reminds us that professional development is one of the nine federally required components for Perkins IV Funds. To cite the federal requirements, funds must be set aside to:

provide in-service and pre-service professional development programs to teachers, faculty, administrators, and career guidance and academic counselors who are involved in integrated CTE programs. Topics include effective integration of academics and CTE effective teaching skills based on research, effective practices to improve parental and community involvement, effective use of scientifically based research and data to improve instruction.

So bring a team to NACCE2013 this October 13-16 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where you'll have access to cutting-edge information on infusing entrepreneurship into existing programs and meeting the needs of future entrepreneurs in your CTE program.

Christian Lagarde of Nunez Community College in New Orleans, Louisiana, included travel and registration in his successfully funded 2012 Department of Labor TAACCCT proposal. Christian attributes the information he gained at the conference – along with the overwhelming amount of support and guidance from fellow attendees – to his ability to rapidly launch entrepreneurial programming as part of his overall project.

Help your college meet its goals for on-campus initiatives such as Perkins and TAACCCT by registering for the nation's premier
professional development event in entrepreneurship education: NACCE2013.

Has your college used the NACCE Annual Conference as professional development for other programs? Let us know, and we'll send you a
special gift card as our way of saying thanks for sharing your ideas with other members!

Tags:  11th conference  funding 

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How to Launch & Grow Your Career Like A StartUp

Posted By Kelly A. Partridge, Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What is Your MVP?

Think about your career like an entrepreneur thinks about her startup. Lean Startup advises to develop an MVP _ Minimum Viable Product. "The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible." says Eric Reis.

As a higher education professional, what problem are you solving? Increasing enrollments? Inciting entrepreneurship on campus? Taking old problems and solving them innovatively? Use Lean Canvas to map your personal brand.

Market Your Brand

Lean Canvas asks the trep (aka enTREPreneur) to list their distribution channels to get the message out about their brand. How are you marketing your brand? Are you speaking at conferences? Blogging? Tweeting? Posting on LinkedIn? Folks are researching you online. These days finding nothing is a red flag. Although Levo League is targeted at recent grads, their blog on building your brand on social media is great for mid-career professional.

No really, do it

I have already heard the excuses. No time for tweeting. LinkedIn clogs up the inbox. Everybody already knows me. What would we say to a startup or small business owner that would not market its business?

NACCE members are building their personal brand on social media

Check out Jackie B. Peterson’s blog. Jackie is a speaker at NACCE2013. Tweet us at @NACCE, post on Facebook, add to a LinkedIn conversation to let us know about your social media presence.

Yikes! I need help

It’s okay. We all do. Let’s brainstorm at NACCE2013 and become social media mavens! Register now.

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CVCC’s SkillsUSA Entrepreneurship Team Wins Gold at National Championships

Posted By Gary Muller, Tuesday, July 23, 2013



Catawba Valley Community College’s (Hickory, N.C.) SkillsUSA team brought home gold from the National Championships in Kansas City, Mo.

SkillsUSA is an opportunity for high-performance students enrolled in career and technical programs to match skills against their peers in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free-enterprise system and involvement in community service.

"SkillsUSA is the perfect match for our students because they get to display their talents in their area of study in a competitive environment,” said Gary Muller, CVCC’s Business Programs Department Head.

"But it’s about more than just the competition,” Muller explained. "Our students get to experience new things and see a world they might never have seen were it not for SkillsUSA. We are so proud to offer this opportunity to build self-confidence and genuine skills for the workplace,” added Muller.

The CVCC Entrepreneurship Team included Carolyn Elmore, John Lineberger, Michael Lewis and Sebrina Brooks. They submitted a business plan for "A Peaceful Passage Transportation Service.” The business picks up and transports decedents from hospitals, nursing homes, personal homes, and transports them to distant funeral homes or medical examiner’s offices. Elmore, Lineberger and Lewis are enrolled in the Funeral Service program. Brooks is a Business Administration major.

For more information about CVCC’s SkillsUSA program contact Muller at 828-327-7000, ext. 4672, or email

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Using LivePlan in your classroom

Posted By Amy Valente, Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's talk about a tool that can really make your life easy when you have a business plan project for your students - LivePlan!


What is it? An online web-based tool that helps users to write professional business plans.  The tool includes expert advice, built-in help, online access, team access and sample business plans.   

How does a student access it? I piloted LivePlan in my Principles of Business Classes. Palo Alto Software provided me with a promo code to share with my students. If you are interested in sharing LivePlan with your students you should contact Jason Gallic at

What does a student use it for? Students used the tool for a semester-long team project in which they create a business plan.

How does it relate to entrepreneurship education? Entrepreneurs use this product to create their business plans initially and continually update their plans on an ongoing basis. 

What did I like about LivePlan from an instructor's perspective? 

Prior to using LivePlan, I provided students with a Word document template for their business plan.   Even though I encouraged students to use a collaboration tool such as Google Groups, many did not.  They were emailing the plan back and forth between each other and it was difficult to keep track of versions and changes. LivePlan really facilitated communication between students who were in a team on the business plan project.  Students could comment on sections of their business plan and collaborate on what to change in their plan without having to meet face-to-face.  From an instructor's perspective, students set me up as a guest so that I could view their plans along the way.  I was able to comment on each section of the plan for them to improve the plan prior to the end of the semester.  When it came to grading the project, it was easy to go back into LivePlan and view the full plan with my previous comments. 

What could Palo Alto do to improve LivePlan for use in the classroom?

  • I would like the ability to have a grading rubric in each section to make sure that students have considered all points in each section.  
  • There were some limitations in terms of what could be attached in LivePlan.  Currently, the product only allows .jpg attachments to a business plan.  I would like to see the ability to attach a word document, power point, or excel spreadsheet also.
  • When I am teaching multiple sections of the class, I would like the ability to set up a class section within Liveplan so that I don’t just have a bunch of plans and I’m not sure which plans go with which class sections.
  • Spell check should be incorporated into the product.
I've attached an instruction sheet that you can tailor and distribute to your students to help them use

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CVCC Partners with NACCE to Host "Community Outreach" Regional Summit

Posted By Gary Muller, Friday, July 19, 2013

CVCC Partners’ with NACCE to Host "Community Outreach” Regional Summit

 June 3rd was an exciting day for CVCC, because we had the opportunity to host a NACCE  regional summit focusing on the importance of developing a strong college Community Outreach Program. Our summit drew people from over twenty community colleges located throughout the southeastern United States.

 We were very happy with the large turnout because it illustrated these colleges’ commitment to foster entrepreneurship in their service markets. We know with budget issues in many states we had really dedicated people attending our summit.

Our summit was a fast paced day filled with a variety of speakers, workshops, panel discussions and tours of two of CVCC’s most innovative programs’ facilities. Karen- Michelle Mirko of NACCE kicked off our day by giving an enthusiastic talk on "Sustaining an Entrepreneurship Culture on our Campuses.”

She reviewed five keys action steps to success:

 1)      Create or Expand Internal and External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship;

2)      Increase Entrepreneurs’ Engagement in Community Colleges;

3)      Engage in Industry Cluster Development;

4)      Leverage Both Community College and Community Assets to Spur Innovation and Job Creation; and

5)      Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of the College’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship.

Her talk set the stage for the day’s activities to follow.

Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, CVCC’s president, followed KM Mirko and spoke on the "Importance of Presidential Leadership and Creating Iconic Transformation.” Dr. Hinshaw emphasized the challenges of implementing change and building on the new foundation created by the change.

He stated that with change there is the risk of failure, but we must be willing to fail, if we are to create meaningful change. We should look at failure as a means to becoming successful, if we persevere.

Dr. Hinshaw gave an illustration of a dream, which was challenged by many doubters and skepticism, and if he had listened to the skeptics CVCC’s Simulated Hospital would never have become a reality and a source of great pride for our college and community. It was a great way of illustrating that strong leadership requires, not only, vision, but internal fortitude, because there will be times when a leader will be standing by himself in pursuit of a dream.

 Dr. Hinshaw’s inspirational message was a great lead in for our next speaker, Alan Jackson. Mr. Jackson is President of the Jackson Group, a very successful entrepreneurial venture. The business was started by Mr. Jackson’s father and Alan has continued the family tradition by starting several new businesses. Mr. Jackson is not only a successful businessman, but he is a local leader, committed to creating partnerships to foster entrepreneurship in our community.

 Mr. Jackson discussed the importance of developing a network of partnerships which work closely together to promote the community and establish the support system necessary to start and build businesses. He gave several examples similar to Dr. Hinshaw about the importance of persistence and dedication to achieving your goals. These traits are essential for leaders and entrepreneurs to be successful.

They are also essential for colleges attempting to build a strong "Community Outreach Program,” because there will be people in the college as well as the community, who will downplay the importance of partnerships or they will become disenchanted when things don’t move forward as quickly as planned.

 As our day progressed each speaker built on theme of the earlier speakers, and the summit audience were very much engaged in each discussion.

 Dr. John Enamait, Dean of CVCC’s Business School, was our next speaker and described the support system CVCC put in place to foster entrepreneurship within the college and our community. The college established the "Job Creation Center” to coordinate the activities of our Curriculum programs, Small Business Center, Manufacturing Solutions Center and Workforce Development, so the college could provide the best service possible for budding entrepreneurs.

He also described the activities CVCC has put in place to make entrepreneurship fun and interesting, such as our National Entrepreneurship Week Celebration, which included the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Kickoff and our annual "Shark Tank” competition. He emphasized that we need a comprehensive program to support entrepreneurs in various stages of development as well as develop a program which makes entrepreneurship fun so we can attract more people to our programs.

Sheena Lindahl, co-founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET), and named one the country’s top 25 entrepreneurs under the age of 25 by Business Week, finished off a great morning with an interactive workshop on engaging students on our campuses.

Sheena led a high energy event, which was made even more impressive by the fact that she travelled all night, overcame bad weather and a flat tire to be at our summit. She even did a nice dance as she came on stage, similar to the "CVCC Extreme Entrepreneurship Harlem Shake” youtube video Sheena showed from our February National Entrepreneurship Week Celebration Wrap up with the EET team.

Our afternoon session started with a very interesting and informative guided tour of our Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) led by its Director, Dan St Louis. The MSC has the goal of bringing manufacturing into the NEW ERA of changing technologies and production innovation. The Center works with companies from all over the world including Nike and Hanes Brands.

 We are very proud of our MSC facilities, but we are even more proud of Dan, Tony Whitener and their staff and the effort they put forth for our clients.

Tim Putnam, NACCE Fellow and Associate Director of John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at Northern Iowa Area Community College, led a lively presentation on the importance of Community Mapping in identifying areas of emphasis in developing our Community Outreach Programs.

 We believe developing strong internal and external partnerships is essential to growing an entrepreneurship program at a community college. Tim’s discussion was a perfect lead into our Community Leaders Panel Discussion.The Panel Discussion focused on the challenges of building partnerships and the best ways to establish strong long lasting relationships.

 Our panel was made up of a diverse group, which provided a wide range of perspectives.The panel included Danny Hearn our Chamber of Commerce President, Bill Parrish the Regional Director of our SBTDC, Jonathan Williams student entrepreneur and a graduate of Wake Forest, EJ Martin our first MSC incubator entrepreneur, Sheena Lindahl of EET and Tim Putnam of NIACC.

 The discussion was an outstanding way to pull the day’s activities together with many of our strategic partners.

Our very exciting day concluded with a tour of our Simulated Hospital and a reception for summit participants to interact with our speakers. It was a great day and another step toward achieving our long-term goal of instilling an entrepreneurial spirit across our entire college and community and assisting colleges in their quest to achieve similar goals.

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Posted By Megan Ballard, Friday, July 19, 2013

Tick, tock, my friends….the TAACCCT countdown is on! Only two weeks until single organization proposals are due, and a month + a day for consortium proposals. Last week, we had a great webinar with the Massachusetts Community Colleges & Workforce Development Transformation Agenda folks. This consortium of all 15 MA community colleges was a Round 1 recipient of TAACCCT, and they’re doing great things. Right now, they’re working with NACCE to integrate entrepreneurship into their program offerings. We also had a great teleconference with Christian Lagarde from Nunez Community College, a Round 2 awardee with a strong focus on entrepreneurship.

So how should you integrate entrepreneurship into your Round 3 proposal? Well, after digging around through the solicitation and the information provided by the DOL, here are my recommendations:

  • CONTEXTUALIZE IT: Tie entrepreneurship to whatever industry sectors you’re focusing on (see page 6 of solicitation)
  • KEEP IT EXPERIENTIAL: Identify accelerators or incubators in your region, and engage them in your project; remember, the DOL isn’t looking for classroom instruction, they want project to "focus on the actual experience of entrepreneurship”
  • BE CREATIVE: The solicitation recommends that applicants "develop creative and outcomes-based approaches” that boost students’ entrepreneurship skills

What about a stand-along entrepreneurship program? Sorry, no can do. If you look at page 3 of the TAACCCT Round 3 SGA Frequently Asked Questions, it says, "Programs that are designed to lead solely to self-employment or employment as an independent contractor, for example, are not approvable. However, program participants are not prohibited from starting a new company provided that the credentials and certifications obtained could also lead to employment with an employer.”

They hammer it home on page 4 of the FAQs: "Entrepreneurship as a strategy is broader in scope than a particular program resulting in a ‘Certificate of Entrepreneurship,’ or similar credential, or a particular employment outcome such as a start-up business, which would not be suitable for participants in the TAA for Workers program. The development of an entrepreneurship program should be done in consideration of a broader spectrum of possible career pathways.”

If you’d like to find out more about how Christian successfully proposed this at Nunez last year, he welcomes you to contact him at:

If you are interested in incorporating entrepreneurship, I also encourage you to take advantage of some of NACCE’s resources, including:

Quick Start Guide #4: Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Services and Support Systems: This week, I’ll be posting a sneak peek at a chapter from our latest Quick Start Guide. The full guide is available for purchase on the NACCE website at:

HowToDoIt Online Training: NACCE developed this six-week online training for entrepreneurship champions at community colleges to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable entrepreneurship initiatives and outreach programs. The next session starts July 8th. You can learn more at:

NACCE Annual Conference: Join us in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 13-16 for our 11th Annual Conference. This is a fabulous professional development opportunity for TAACCCT project teams. You can find detailed information at:

Virtual Incubation Toolkit: In 2011, NACCE partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges and the U.S. Small Business Administration to establish a Virtual Incubation Network and to design a toolkit to disseminate information on how to establish a virtual incubator to community colleges across the country. You can access the complete toolkit free of charge at:

Our contacts at the DOL also sent me this basket of TAACCCT goodies to share with you as you prepare your proposal:

· Prospective Applicants: Institutions or consortiums that are interested in applying for the newly available funding should visit

  • Webcast on TAACCCT 3 Goals and Aspirations: This event provided an overview of the goals and examples from current grantees of partnership engagement; capacity building; and innovations in online learning and overall program design of classroom and online curriculum.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – These build off of the FAQs that we have published for the two prior rounds and have been vetted by our legal and grants office colleagues. These will be added to as we receive questions from prospective applicants.

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