Topic of “Building A Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Center” Proves Popular
Springfield, MA – Nov. 1, 2008 – A full house participated in the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship’s first-ever webinar last month and gave a thumbs-up to the topic of “Building a Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Center.” Presented by Tim Mittan, director of Entrepreneurship at Southeast Community College, Lincoln, NE, and Tim Putnam, associate director of the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, IA, the hour-long session outlined components for building and sustaining a comprehensive entrepreneurial center at the community college level.
“The feedback we received from participants was very positive,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “We were very pleased with the high level of interest and now that we’ve gotten our feet wet with the technology, we definitely plan to host more webinars as a way to bring valuable information to our members and other interested educators all across the country and beyond.”
A Entrepreneurial Center Model Mittan and Putnam presented a model for an entrepreneurial center and then discussed the various aspects of developing a center, beginning with the all-important preliminary research of community needs. Mittan recommended doing a SWOT analysis that looks at a college’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relationship to an entrepreneurship center. “Creating an advisory board that includes a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary group of people who are vested in creating the vision of where you want to go with your center is also vital,” he said.
The two presenters stressed that each community is different and so no two entrepreneurial centers are going to be exactly the same in terms of the programs and services offered. They also noted that some schools need to have physical centers and others can operate as virtual centers that offer programs on-line.
“You should look for gaps in services that are being offered to start-up and existing businesses in your region,” said Putnam. “Every region is different in terms of what’s already available from the state or local governments or other sources. Identify the gaps and deliver those services that are most needed, recognizing that entrepreneurs need help at all stages of development.”
The webinar’s comprehensive overview also looked at topics such as creating partnerships with other community organizations that are helping the business community, how to attract funding for an entrepreneurial center and to assist entrepreneurs, and the importance of assessing programs so you know what’s working and what needs to be tweaked for improvement.
“Funding sources want to know what economic impact you’re having, so you need to measure things such as new business starts, jobs created, participants services, loans attained and capital invested,” said Mittan.
Presenting at the 6th NACCE Conference Putnam and Mittan will be among the presenters at NACCE’s 6th Annual Conference, Jan. 4-7, 2009 in Anaheim, CA. They will present a pre-conference session on Jan. 4 on “Building a Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Center,” and a concurrent session on “Entrepreneurial Communities = Economic Development” on Jan. 5.
About the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) connects community college administrators and faculty with knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial thinking, entrepreneurship education, and student business incubation. NACCE holds an annual conference, hosts a dynamic list-serv, develops web resources such as shared entrepreneurship curricula and syllabi for faculty, creates guides in beginning and sustaining entrepreneurship and student business incubation programs, as well as, tips for grant proposals specific to entrepreneurial endeavors at community colleges. For more information, visit http://www.nacce.com.