Community Colleges to Fuel New Business Creation Via Virtual Incubator Network
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
Mott Grants $995,500 for Pilot Project at Colleges in 10 States
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an innovative approach to encourage the creation of more start-up businesses to help sustain continued economic recovery, The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) today announced the selection of colleges in 10 states to pilot a Virtual Incubation Network. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has made a $995,500 grant to launch the pilot project in early 2011 and anticipates a second year of funding of up to $742,500.
The AACC initiative was recognized in a White House announcement Jan. 31, as an example of creative entrepreneurship to be encouraged by a new Startup America initiative "to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation," as part of the Obama Administration's national innovation strategy.
The virtual incubator initiative will be implemented by AACC in collaboration with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), and ultimately through partnerships including with the national network of Small Business Development Centers, many of which are operated on community college campuses.
"Small businesses play an enormous role in stimulating and sustaining economic growth – both in local communities and nationally," said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the AACC. "This new initiative presents an exciting and innovative way to encourage small business growth without costly investment in new facilities and added infrastructure."
Community colleges are often called on to establish small business incubators to nurture local companies through the most challenging start-up stages of development, increasing jobs and revenue for local communities. Close to 35 business incubators are operated by two-year colleges nationwide. The development of the virtual incubator network recognizes that these services need not depend on a traditional brick-and-mortar facility. Instead the new network will "test-drive" new delivery mechanisms that include support provided at the business site and hybrid in-person and technology processes. The AACC hopes its member colleges will eventually be able to bring the work to scale at hundreds of community colleges, particularly in geographically isolated, depressed and hard-to-serve communities where they are needed most.
The 10 colleges that will lead this effort are:
Rio Salado College, Phoenix, AZ
Long Beach Community College, Long Beach, CA
North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, IA
Mott Community College, Flint, MI
Southeast Community College, Lincoln, NE
White Mountain Community College, Berlin, NH
Burlington County Community College, Burlington, NJ
Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, NM
Lorain County Community College, Elyria, OH
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, WI
The American Association of Community Colleges is a national organization located in Washington, D.C., that represents the nation's close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges. The colleges represent the largest and fastest-growing sector of higher education and currently enroll almost half of all U.S. undergraduates.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Offices are located in Flint, Michigan; metropolitan Detroit; Johannesburg (South Africa); and London. The Foundation, with 2009 year-end assets of approximately $2.1 billion, made 469 grants totaling $109.3 million. For more information, visit Mott.org.
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 and symposium, publishes a quarterly journal, hosts monthly webinars and podcasts and a dynamic list-serv, develops Web resources such as shared entrepreneurship curricula and syllabi for faculty, and 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/.