Posted By Christine Pigsley,
Monday, June 30, 2014
Updated: Monday, June 30, 2014
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Submitted by Amy Schulz, Director of Career and Technical Education, Economic Workforce Development
Feather River College
Feather River College received a Coleman Entrepreneurship in Action Grant at the 2013 NACCE Conference to Increase Entrepreneurs' Engagement in Community Colleges through an entrepreneurship succession planning and internship project. Since this was a grant-funded project, we initially thought the activities should be very structured and planned. It doesn’t always work that way in entrepreneurship. We learned that entrepreneurs enjoy the space to be able to reflect. Monthly planning meetings turned into a time of reflection and wonderful unexpected collaborations across sectors. Our advice for engaging entrepreneurs from the community: Build the framework for meetings, book the space, provide food, get out of the way and LISTEN.
So, here is the story of one of our program participants so you can see what it really means to engage with your entrepreneurs and be ready to take the journey with them.
Roxanne Valladao is a living legend in Plumas County. As executive director of Plumas Arts, she is known for bringing in top notch talent to perform in rural and remote Plumas County for over 30 years. Under her leadership at Plumas Arts, she has saved a 150 year-old theatre which earns revenue from playing first run feature films while serving as the cultural heart of community and a venue for live performances. She converted a run-down dive bar on Main Street into a beautiful gallery and retail space, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for local artisans. Her efforts in promoting the arts as a key to cultural and economic development have not gone unnoticed. Tiny Plumas Arts is one of the highest ranking arts commissions in the whole state of California. When Roxanne and board president, Kara Rockett, participated in the Feather River College Business Succession Pilot, funded by the Coleman Foundation, folks became concerned. Rumors swirled around town. “Is Roxanne retiring?” “What is Plumas Arts going to do without her?” “Are we still going to get the great talent to come to Quincy?”
Roxanne just turned 60, and she is planning to retire in the next 2-5 years, but not now. The Business Succession Planning pilot was the perfect opportunity to explore succession and to be proactive about how the torch is passed. Like many entrepreneurs, Roxanne has poured her heart and soul into Plumas Arts, building an organization over decades and sustaining it during lean times. Plumas Arts is very personal to her—it is her legacy. It’s not so easy to hand over to just anyone, and it’s not so easy to think about either. After some prompting from the state arts commission, which ranked Plumas Arts as excellent in every category except in succession planning, Roxanne decided to jump on board the Feather River College project.
The Business Succession Planning pilot combines the resources of the college’s entrepreneurship program with those of the internship program. By pairing student mentees with established mentors, the process could be facilitated and documented through the infrastructure of the college programs. After enrolling in the internship class, Kara as board president was in a good position to participate as a mentee. Kara brings in the perspective and practical concerns of the board and to understand what needs to happen for an eventual transition. Kara could possibly be Roxanne’s successor when and if the time is right. Together Roxanne and Kara have explored delicate issues, such as staffing on a budget and transferring institutional knowledge that Roxanne and her veteran staff know innately. They have also faced the emotional side of succession together. Kara’s sensitivity and good intentions have made this a welcome and joyous process for Roxanne, which she was originally dreading.
An unexpected benefit of this pairing has been their influence in the community. Just the fact that Roxanne was participating got the community to take notice. What started as concern for the future of Plumas Arts has turned into a healthy dialogue around the future of our local economy and the number of aging entrepreneurs. Who will be the next generation and take over established and beloved businesses and organizations, from non-profits to appliance repair? The magic of the grapevine has been the most powerful marketing tool, and entrepreneurs have approached the team at Feather River College for help with their succession planning. After reviewing and documenting the results of this pilot which included a total of three mentor/mentee pairings, Feather River College and NACCE are releasing a video to share this and more results from our project as well as making information available through our website. In addition, we are planning to continue this project in the Fall 2014 Semester through internships. For more information, please contact Amy Schulz at email@example.com.
Feather River College
Posted By Barbara Cox,
Monday, February 24, 2014
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Dr. Scott Fredrickson
is a Professor
of Entrepreneurship & Executive Director of the
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Learning Center
It seems to be a repeated pattern that when the
economy takes a downturn, our institutions of higher education see enrollment
increases. Long-time workers find themselves in need of new skills or of
updating their existing ones. Education programs that emphasize job or career
preparation feel the impact and work to provide the most and the best.
Following the most recent major downturn, the pattern held, and colleges were
pressed to move students forward toward new or changed careers, and to do so
with fewer resources to do so.
Interestingly, another phenomenon happened on the
way, one not always seen in the old pattern. Attention came to focus as much or
more on building businesses as on preparing jobs. We needed to create the jobs,
not wait for bandages to bring back the old ones. At the same time, and with
speed we’d not seen previously, emerging technologies, innovation, and the
creativity of a new generation, coalesced to make the possibilities for new
businesses surge forward.
One more phenomenon seems to have been taking
hold, and some will tell you that this one, too, is generational. Maybe it has
been an awakening, an outcome of growing awareness on unprecedented scales. Let
me share a short observation with you. Several teachers of business have
contributed their experience that getting students motivated to plan a business
is a challenge. Some of the most engaged of students would announce their
intention to become wealthy by inventing a new app, or to live "in the fast
lane” by selling "really hot t-shirts!” These teachers now tell me, and I see
it myself, that the current wave of students wants to do something remarkable,
whether minor or great, to help the world. And they want to do it by creating a
business that will do it, and make money down this path. Furthermore, they feed
this motivation by learning about engineering, sustainable agriculture, energy
savings and generation, health sciences, people, technologies … you name the
question. These students want to enter the arena of economic growth by creating
solutions to serious, deep-rooted problems and the businesses to deliver them.
Sustainable Business Models
The concept that describes this business mission
is social entrepreneurship, the development of sustainable business
models to solve chronic social issues. Since the inception of the term in 1980 by
Bill Drayton founder of Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs
worldwide, social entrepreneurs have developed innovative solutions to many of
society’s most pressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs act as change
agents for society by drawing upon thinking in both the business and non-profit
worlds to develop new approaches to a company’s mission and thus sustain social
value. Finally, after 34 years of being perceived as "charity work,” social
entrepreneurship is coming into its own.
Examples of sustainable businesses with a social
– a combination of Mary Kay and LensCrafters that sells inexpensive reading
glasses across India, China, and Latin America. This business employs local
sales reps using the Grameen Bank micro-finance model that has proven
successful across Bangladesh.
– produces over 250 products from 60 waste streams that would otherwise be
destined for landfills.
manufactures a sleeping bake-like device that warms low-birth babies in
hospitals and clinics in areas that have unreliable electricity and heat lamps
that don’t always work.
Social entrepreneurship can also operate with an
existing business structure. Intrepreneurship is the act of behaving like an
entrepreneur within an existing organization. Finding the collaboration of
social good and smart business as well a meeting the needs of the
community is becoming the new standard against which we judge the health and
worth of a business. Business typically measures performance by accounting
standards of profit and loss. Social entrepreneurs must also use these
standards but take into account a positive return to society. These broad
social, cultural and environmental goals are most commonly associated with
nonprofit organizations. But when embraced by a business organization, can
foster sustainable profits and positive community goodwill.
The "triple bottom line" was first coined by John
Elkington in 1994. He proposed that companies should be measured with three
bottom lines; profit or loss, plus social and environmental concerns.” These
additional two lines would measure how socially responsible the company has
been to their community and the environment.
For example, if a company made a profit, but
neglected maintenance on their storage tanks that eventually burst, polluting a
major river providing drinking water for a large population, and the government
ends up spending taxpayer money on river clean-up, how would this company be
In today’s world, a socially sustainable business
must develop three measurable objectives:
1. Profitability – A business must continue to
make money developing products and services the market deems worthy and protect
2. Socially responsibility – A business must be
aware and respond to the social and community needs of its employees,
customers, other stakeholders, and markets.
3. Environmental awareness – A business must
commit to sustainable environmental practices to ensure the health of the
community, reduce waste, and conserve energy.
In 2013, the state of Michigan launched the Pure
Michigan Social Entrepreneur Challenge. The goal of this public-private effort
was to develop innovative solutions to help solve chronic and social issues
like poverty and hunger by applying sustainable free market models.
was the first state to hold a social entrepreneur competition and was extremely
pleased with over 400 participants and 150 business plans submitted. 10 winners
were selected and coached to pitch their business models to potential
investors. 8 of the winners are currently in the process of obtaining
investments of well over $200,000 from investors and non-profits foundations.
County Social Entrepreneurship Competition
Saddleback College will host the nation's
first county-wide social entrepreneur competition May 10, 2014. Saddleback’s
competition will follow the Michigan model and help entrepreneurs discover
local, organic, and innovative solutions to problems like homelessness,
poverty, and hunger by applying free market, sustainable business models.
Finalists can potentially win over $125,000 in cash, prizes, and chatting
services. In addition, finalists will have a rare opportunity to pitch their
ideas to social impact investors from across the nation with a chance to get
funded upwards of $100,000. The goal of the competition is to educate students
and the community that profits alone are not the only measure of success and
sustainability. Everyone must participate in the social revolution. Learn what
Saddleback College is doing to make a difference.
Social entrepreneurs who wish to participate
should go online to the Saddleback College Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Learning Center at:
Once individuals or teams submit their
ideas, they will be able to access coaches from the Saddleback College network
to help develop their projects and presentations. Online and in-person events
will be offered to further assist participants in refining their submissions
before the final May application deadline.
Triple Bottom Line