Partnering With a University Enhances Credibility
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
By Cristobal Valdez
Provost, Detroit Lakes Campus
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
If you have been following the series from MSCTC, Detroit Lakes, you will know that the Business and Entrepreneurial Services now has a budding partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND), whose Entrepreneurship program is ranked in the top one percent in the nation. We have recognized several strengths and assets to contribute to greater Minnesota, and we have a higher esteem of organization as service to entrepreneurs. Still, you might be asking the same question we were, so what?
We, too, asked the above proverbial question. Entrepreneurship is such a buzzword; educators, leaders, and politicians freely use this term with every stump speech. We wanted to know how MSCTC, Detroit Lakes could affect some real change in the economic landscape of outstate Minnesota.
Our affiliation with UND has allowed us to open once-closed doors, grab leaders attention, begin critical conversations, and, in some instances, be asked to provide our expertise with many who previously viewed the college as a "Vo-tech.”
Months before opening the Business and Entrepreneurial Services for business we developed a series of media releases reiterating our partnership with UND. This effort culminated with a half-day presentation on entrepreneurship by Dr. Jeffrey Stamp. Inviting the general public with special invitations to key community stakeholders, we assembled a formidable audience. Jeff had 120-plus economic development specialists, educators, governmental leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs captivated as he began to proselytize about:
- Defining of entrepreneurship
- How entrepreneurship has positively affected UND and Grand Forks, ND
- How entrepreneurship can positively affect Detroit Lakes and MSCTC
To follow up, we created 100 DVDs of the presentation and every time we heard someone wish they had heard the presentation, we provided a copy.
Since that time, we have been asked to host and present at an Economic Development Summit, partner with the Chamber of Commerce in planning for these issues, and we are developing a monthly speakers’ series on entrepreneurship. We have had several local entrepreneurs volunteer to participate in the series as well as request another session with Dr. Stamp. We are fortunate that we already made and Jeff accepted an invitation for a return, full-day workshop.
Recently, while attending a regional economic development and community marketing meeting, I did note that approximately 20 minutes of the 90-minute agenda discussed the BES, MSCTC, and how graduates from our Business Entrepreneurship program can contribute to the local economy. For me, the larger consideration was that I neither introduced the subject nor participated in the discussion. During this time the group began plans to develop an Angel Investor Network, solicit monetary commitments from local business and industry leaders, and establish a goal to have at least one MSCTC graduate per year startup a successful local business.
Lately, the buzzword in our little neck of the woods continues to be entrepreneurship. We feel privileged that MSCTC, Detroit Lakes and the BES have been increasingly paired with that term.
For more information about, contact Cristobal "Cris” Valdez at (218) 846-3778 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.