In 2001, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and the Entrepreneurial Institute at the Springfield Enterprise Center at STCC began to research and investigate entrepreneurship education practices at community colleges across the country. Only about 10% of 1200 plus community colleges had any type of entrepreneurship education as part of their curriculum.
At the same time, both the American Association for Community Colleges and the National Commission on Entrepreneurship recognized that community colleges were ideally positioned to be catalysts for fostering economic vitality through entrepreneurship education at the community college level.
In response to these findings, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) was created to establish entrepreneurship education as a core offering to foster economic development through community colleges. An inaugural conference was set in motion with a $100,000 grant from S. Prestley Blake, the co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream Corporation.
NACCE went on to receive a $50,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City and a $20,000 grant from the Coleman Foundation in Chicago. NACCE had gotten a good start toward fulfilling its mission.
In 2003, NACCE held its Inaugural Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts with 150 attendees. The response from conference attendees was resounding. It became clear that through the combined expertise of the attendees, NACCE was a needed organization to disseminate the best practices of entrepreneurship education and student business incubation at the community college level.
In 2004, NACCE held its Second Conference in Overland Park, Kansas, where NACCE welcomed 175 attendees. Visits to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Johnson County Community College were highlights of the conference. It was exciting to see the advancements made by many of the community colleges since the previous conference. Many were able to secure funding, develop programs and introduce new courses in entrepreneurship. Clearly, collaboration through NACCE had begun to increase entrepreneurship education and student business incubation for participating community colleges.
NACCE continues focused on increasing economic development through entrepreneurship education and student business incubation at the community college level.