'Elevator grants' give entrepreneurship programs a lift
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
BY CC TIMES, Published December 15, 2009
Ten community colleges from across the country recently received a total of $70,000 in "elevator grants” for their entrepreneurship education programs.
The grants—which are awarded based on describing a new business venture in a three-minute pitch that could be given to a potential investor during an elevator ride—has become one of the hallmarks of the annual National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) conference. Colleges attending the conference have three minutes to outline their plans to the board and staff of the Coleman Foundation, which funds the grants, with the selected winners receiving a check at the end of the conference.
"The elevator grants have always been a huge asset to NACCE members, but we believe they are now more important than ever because our nation’s economic situation would benefit greatly by increasing the availability of entrepreneurship educational opportunities at community colleges,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle.
Colleges receiving the $7,500 grants include:
Central Arizona College will start an entrepreneurship cadre of instructors and occupational programs staff to imbed entrepreneurship across certificate and degree programs. The group will learn new methodologies, use local professionals and encourage business development.
Lakeland Community College (Ohio) will launch an entrepreneurship center with a regional half-day small business symposium and it will also develop an entrepreneurship academy.
Santa Barbara City College (California) will support South Coast Bizconnect, an online business accelerator providing networking opportunities for students and small businesses, social marketing tools, resources and tutorials from regional industry experts.
Central Community College (Nebraska) will use its grant to support faculty of the college’s technology, industrial and business programs to build an associate incubator on campus. The project will provide mentoring and business operations skills to students studying in these areas.
Gateway Community and Technical College (Kentucky) will use $2,500 to expand direct student exposure to entrepreneurship experiences through its entrepreneurial learning college.
Southwestern Illinois College will to host a student entrepreneur competition with Southern Illinois University’s Entrepreneurship Center. Twenty-five applicants will be selected to compete in an elevator pitch competition with local entrepreneurs serving as judges.
Bunker Hill Community College (Massachusetts) will partner with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. Business students will mentor high school entrepreneurs using social networking sites to foster interactions between students and improve mentoring relationships.
Lehigh Carbon Community College (Pennsylvania) will use its grant to support its high school pathways to entrepreneurship program, which introduces teachers and students to entrepreneurship through teacher workshops and a summer camp for students.
Lansing Community College (Michigan) will fund its entrepreneurship outreach program, which exposes 200 high school students ages 16-18 to entrepreneurship through field trips and workshops designed to provide tools to write and present a business plan for competition.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College will support a community outreach and educational effort that will feature inspirational entrepreneurship speakers and educational events for local and regional business people and entrepreneurs.