Rossana Weitekamp, 516-593-2413, firstname.lastname@example.org, Weitekamp Communications
Barb Schulte, 816-932-1103; email@example.com, Kauffman Foundation
'Innovation Fund America' program will replicate Lorain
County Community College model to connect entrepreneurs to mentorship,
education and capital
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 31, 2012) – A model for
entrepreneurship education and early-stage funding for startups, born in
a community college in northeastern Ohio, will make its way to the
national stage with the support of a $1 million grant from the Ewing
Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The partnership with Lorain County Community College Foundation
(LCCC) aims to replicate nationally the Ohio community college's very
successful model for mentoring and funding high-growth startups,
educating new founders and, in turn, spurring regional economic growth.
The project, named Innovation Fund America, will begin with a pilot in
three communities around the country, to be selected in the coming
months. Kauffman and LCCC aim to eventually scale the model to more
schools around the country and build a national network to support them.
has a rich history of working with colleges and universities to build
entrepreneurship education programs and curricula because
entrepreneurship is a long-term strategy for job development and
economic growth," said Thom Ruhe, Kauffman Foundation vice president of
entrepreneurship. "With community colleges embedded in more than 1,200
communities across the United States, we see a tremendous opportunity to
employ their resources to support, educate and inspire local residents
to pursue entrepreneurial ventures."
The Innovation Fund was launched by the Lorain County Community
College Foundation in 2007 to support high-growth technology
entrepreneurs in the historically manufacturing-centered northeast Ohio.
In its first five years, the Fund made nearly 100 awards totaling close
to $6 million, leading to $62 million in follow-on funding.
"The Innovation Fund was founded by the Lorain County Community
College Foundation to help rekindle entrepreneurship as part of a 'grow
your own' strategy for economic advancement," said Dr. Roy Church,
president of LCCC.
Kauffman Foundation leaders said the LCCC Innovation Fund, which is
now self-sustaining, stood out because of the three critical provisions
of its approach to supporting new and young firms: an emphasis on
founder mentorship, experiential entrepreneurship education, and
improving access to early stage funding.
"Despite being situated in one of the more economically depressed
areas of the state, Lorain County Community College, through its
Innovation Fund, has had a tremendous and positive impact on the
entrepreneurial ecosystem of northeast Ohio," Ruhe said. "We believe
it's a model that LCCC and Kauffman should replicate in other regions,
and we will show that community colleges can, with the right resources,
be at the center of local entrepreneur-led growth."
Church concurred, emphasizing that the collaboration between LCCC and
Kauffman will lead to a new class of entrepreneurial community
"This partnership with the Kauffman Foundation places community
colleges at the forefront of supporting entrepreneurship," he said. "By
showcasing how this model can be replicated, we can enhance community
colleges' capacity to accelerate innovation in their communities."
About the Lorain County Communication College Foundation
The Lorain County Community College Foundation, a separate 501c3
organization, serves as the direct support organization for Lorain
County Community College (LCCC), a comprehensive community college
serving over 17,000 students annually. The LCCC Foundation generates and
manages resources to support LCCC's mission with a focus on
entrepreneurship and regional economic development through the Great
Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) – an incubator on
campus that has advised more than 2,600 entrepreneurs and formally
mentored over 100 companies and is a partnership between LCCC, the
Lorain County Commissioners and the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce –
and the Innovation Fund, a pre-seed fund that has awarded $5.6 million
to 80 early-stage, technology-based companies.
Original Source: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/1-million-dollar-grant-from-kauffman-foundation-aimed-at-making-community-colleges-a-front-door-for-entrepreneurship.aspx