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Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do We Begin?

Member Basics

Programming

Enrollment Issues

Cross Campus Support

Grants and Crowdfunding


Where Do We Begin?

Q: Where do we start?

A: It all depends on two main questions:

  1. "Where are you right now?”
  2. "Where do you want to go?”

If you do not have any entrepreneurship offerings at all and want to create two certificate programs, a two-year degree and full-featured, and a one-stop entrepreneurship center with multi-use incubator — then you’ve got some work cut out for you. Regardless of your goal or the distance you are from that vision, it can be done. You just need to use NACCE to help you make the most of your time and efforts.

Our member colleges save time, money, and are most effective in their efforts because we share our best practices, ideas, and feedback.

The Basic Steps:

A) Explore your options through NACCE resources. Use the Presidents for Entrepreneurship action steps as a framework in building your strategy. Our quarterly journals and our webinars are great places to learn how other colleges are approaching entrepreneurship.

B) Examine your college culture and local economy to determine what kind of offerings make sense for your school and community.

C) Identify and gather your local allies (both on and off campus) and use them to help you create and then implement your plan.

QuickTip: To speed up the process of creating a plan for entrepreneurship education and training in your community check out the Quick Start Guide series and the Entrepreneurship Specialist Certificate Online Course.

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Q: How do we begin to utilize NACCE resources?

A: The very first thing to do is to understand what we have and how to find it. At various times you’ll likely go through three basic stages

Stage 1: Gathering
If you are very early in the planning phase you will probably want to peruse our resources to gather ideas of what is possible by hearing how other colleges have put their programs together. Schedule a coaching call with a NACCE team member to share goals and learn more about NACCE resources.
 
NACCE Resources:

NACCE’S Quarterly Journal: Community College Entrepreneurship: (Members Only)
Webinars: (Members Only)
Conference Archives
Curriculum Examples: (Members Only)

Stage 2: Reaching Out

At some point you will find that the NACCE site does not appear to have what you are looking for. Do not worry, there is another resource to draw from – your fellow members.

If you have not already done so go here and sign up for First-Word, the NACCE members-only list-serv. See the next question below for more information on our list-serv, First Word.

Q: What is a List-Serv?

A: List-serv is a group email list. When creating a List-Serv email, compose a subject line and message. When sent to the list-serv email address (given once you sign up) the email will be automatically stamped with "[NACCE]” at the beginning of the subject line. The name of NACCE's list-serv is "First Word".

First word enables you to post questions for the network to respond to or offer feedback. It is a great way to get answers, ideas and help in solving challenges related to your entrepreneurship plans, projects, and programs. It is also where we post messages about funding, conference and publicity opportunities. When posting a question, make sure the subject line is brief but descriptive. 


Each reply by a member will appear as a separate email unless you opt for just one daily email by checking the "Digest" option when you sign up.

The NACCE main office can give you overviews and trends, but your fellow educators can be more specific and may have more relevant examples and suggestions.



Member Basics

Q: How do I change my Password?

A: Below are step by step instructions:

  1. Go to NACCE homepage and select "Sign In”
  2. Under "My Profile” Select "Manage Profile”
  3. Under the top section marked "Information & Settings” select the "Edit Bio” option
  4. You can then select "(change)” in the password field to select and submit a new password. You may need to first re-enter the old password.

If you have not done so already, please also take some time to fill out your profile and upload a picture. You can always add more to it or change things later.

Sidenote: I’ve lost my password or I cannot remember my username.
A: Your username will be your email address (unless you have changed it.)
To get a reset-password link emailed to you just request it here.


Q: What if I cannot find what I’m looking for?

A: If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact the NACCE main office and we will be happy to assist you. 


Q: Who can I add to my membership?

A: Each organization’s membership allows for up to 11 members, the President, a key contact (key member) plus 9 more members (also called Sub-Accounts).

The key member can assign member seats to faculty, administrators, staff or community partners; anyone active and/or interested in your entrepreneurship program (foundation, board, trustees, workforce development, etc.).

Each seat enables that member to access all the member benefits.

Q: How do I add someone to our membership?

A: The college's key member is the person who can make member additions and changes.

To add new members to the membership, the key member should log in under the organization's record, click on Manage Profile under Membership (in main navigation). Next, click on sub-accounts where you will be able to add and delete members. You will need an email address to add members. If you are unsure of how to log-in, please call the NACCE office at 413-306-3131 ext. 302.

    New members will receive an invitation with a link to create a NACCE member profile (good for 30 days). Once they've completed their member form and profile they'll receive a brief note that their record is established and awaiting approval.


    Programming


    Q: What is an entrepreneurship center?

    A: An entrepreneurship center is any point where current and/or potential entrepreneurs (clients/students) can access information and other resources.

    It can be a simple as a web page with a scheduled time and place where clients/students can speak with instructors and/or advisers. It can also be as elaborate as a dedicated building with multi-use incubation space, access to business development organizations along with a busy calendar of organized events such as business plan competitions, classes, seminars, workshops and entrepreneur/student club meetings.

    Q: What kind of program has the fastest return on investment?

    A: Below is a brief list of the four most common types of entrepreneurship programs we see. They are listed starting from the shortest to the longest in terms of ROI.

    The goodwill, alumni and track record that comes with these offerings can help you establish firmer support from the business community (especially from entrepreneurs) and assist you with building longer-term investment projects such as a cross campus or other academic programs.

    Types of entrepreneurship programs:

    Academic/Business: 2-year entrepreneurship or (Small) Business Management/Administration degree with entrepreneurship emphasis. This one usually takes the most time and resources to develop. It was where colleges typically started about a decade ago, however current and potential entrepreneurs can be found in any discipline, therefore, NACCE recommends building cross campus support and integration of entrepreneurship rather than stand-alone entrepreneurship degrees.

    Cross Campus: (These can be either Academic or Non-Credit depending on your state definitions): Generally these are anywhere from 15-30 credit hours or 45-90 contact hours and yield an entrepreneurship certificate designed to be integrated with or compatible with 1 or 2 year degrees, diplomas or certificates.

    These can give a faster ROI than standard business/entrepreneurship degrees, but their big strength is diversity. They can appeal to anyone who sees their program as a foundation for starting their own business – but do not necessarily identify themselves as business students.

    Popular entrepreneurship certificate pathways include: Automotive, Cosmetology, Construction, Trades, CDL/Trucking, Digital Design, Graphic Arts, HVAC, IT, Welding, Culinary, or programs that are natural portals to venture creation in your community.

    Accelerated Programs: These are generally offered as non-credit, but can be offered as credit courses as well. There are many different types of programs, with one of the most common being a 9-12 week accelerated course focused on helping students take their current skills and re-market them.

    Business Growth or Improvement: (for current entrepreneurs) These are generally non-credit however they can be offered for credit programs as well. These are designed to help current business owners expand and/or increase profitability or simply gain better by understanding standard business practices.



    Enrollment Issues

    Q: How can I increase enrollment in our entrepreneurship program & how can I ensure that we have the enrollment needed to sustain our program?

    A: Enrollment issues usually focus on three basics:

    1. Selection: Offering the right options for your community
    2. Promotion: Getting the word out in the most effective and cost-efficient manner
    3. Tracking: Documenting your success to ensure referrals, favorable publicity and capitalize on opportunities for funding.

    In brief, selecting the right offerings that meet your community’s needs and desires will set the foundation for all your entrepreneurship efforts.

    Once you have made the best selections as possible you will need to promote them throughout your entire community. Not only will you want to reach those that are already considering starting a new venture, but you will also want to create awareness within your whole population as to the possibilities of pursuing an entrepreneurial path. Some will discover that it is not the path for them or will discover that they are not ready yet to take the plunge. You will want to figure some attrition with each class or course cycle.

    Once your program is running you will want to document your successes in various ways so you can:

    A) Share testimonials with prospective students

    B) Share stories, numbers (self-created jobs, additional jobs, revenues, etc.) and any data that makes the case for maintaining and expanding your entrepreneurship efforts with potential funders and supporters.

    Selection: Offering the right options for your community

    Whether discussing individual classes or certificate or degree programs, the key questions are:

    "Who is our target audience”?

    If your college’s key service areas are rural towns with high job losses from a declining industrial base, then your main population is likely to be older, less interested in longer credit options and probably looking for training that can give them modest but immediate results.

    By contrast if your service areas are more urban, affluent and young they may be more interested in an in-depth entrepreneurial path that culminates in a 4-year degree from a prestigious or nearby university.

    Most likely you will have multiple potential markets to address, in which case you will have to consider which you want to address first and plan for the rest.

    Next, try to determine which markets are likely targets for your college and community. If you are concerned about enrollment, amassing the largest group of potential students will help you build critical mass and then reveal richer niche areas of demand. To appeal to the widest span of demographics, try to offer as many pathways to completion as possible. The more choices students have for how long and how deep their education is, the wider your range of potential students/customers will be. If your population is often dependent on financial aid, you will also need to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your state’s particular rules and restrictions.

    For example, a simple 12-hour entrepreneurship certificate might stack into a variety of career and technical programs, or into a business degree, or be complete by itself or even be offered as non-credit for students not interested a formal studies program. A non-credit seminar and workshop series might offer a certificate of completion or competency for completing some or all of the seminars or workshops offered.

    Below are some potential markets. Try to determine which ones are the best matches for your community by talking to potential students, entrepreneurs and people who are well connected with business and demographic trends in your service areas, such as your local SBDC, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, Workforce Investment Board and micro-enterprise NGOs. Think about what strengths your area has as far as talent as well as the critical needs.

    Possible Target Markets

    • Middle & High Schools
    • Current Business Students
    • Current CTE (Career & Tech. Ed.)
    • Alumni Business graduate
    • Alumni CTE graduate
    • Current/Established Business Owner (There are many sub-sectors to this)
    • Nascent Business Owner (pre-start)
    An example of multiple pathways would be the cross-campus, short entrepreneurship certificate that usually ranges from 9-16 hours.

    It could stack into a variety of career and technical programs, a business degree, be complete by itself or even be offered as non-credit certificate for students not interested in a formal studies program.

    A non-credit seminar & workshop series might offer a certificate of completion or competency for completing some or all of the seminars or workshops offered.


    Cross Campus Support


    Q: What is cross campus curriculum and what is an infusion model?

    A: There are many variations depending on the college. However the idea is basically to break entrepreneurship out of the "business-only” box, distill it down to a core message, then make it available to every viable learning path across the curriculum.

    Here are some CTE programs that are likely candidates for starting a business:

    Automotive technology, building and construction trades, culinary, cosmetology, esthetics, graphic design, HVAC, hospitality, interior design, IT services, photography, web design, etc.

    In recent years, the emphasis has turned from long-term degrees to shorter term certificates that stack into or add onto various career & technical programs. Two-year degrees with established articulation paths to 4-year degrees are still important and fill a specific need for advanced skills. However shorter certificate and accelerated paths often offer greater accessibility for a larger part of the community.

    The infusion model takes it one step further and includes addressing the administrative functions of the college itself and making them more entrepreneurial by addressing the culture and challenging convention.


    Q: What are some examples of programs that work with a cross campus curriculum approach?

    A: Any learning path (certificate or degree) that can serve as an independent business is appropriate including: Agriculture, Automotive Technology, Construction, Engineering, HVAC, Hospitality, IT, Cosmetology, Culinary, Graphic Design, Manufacturing, Photography, Welding. In addition, entrepreneurship can be infused in non-CTE areas, such as fine arts and student success courses. We believe any discipline can benefit from an entrepreneurial focus. 

    Q: What's next?

    Promotion: Getting the word out about your program in the most effective and cost-efficient manner
    By following the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Action steps, you will find the first step is identifying your internal and external team. This is key because when trying to reach all your potential markets you will need to identify your allies both in the college and community.

    Identify Your On-Campus Allies
    Identifying and staying in contact with those at your college who have an interest in entrepreneurship can offer great benefits to your growing program. Besides preventing duplication of efforts, you might find natural feeder paths to your program or possible referrals to your students.

    Ideally credit and non-credit programs should team up to promote their unique strengths in marketing campaigns.

    For example, a brochure promoting your program might also promote one-day seminars for ‘Social Media for Small Business’, ‘Understanding Cash-Flow‘ workshops, 'QuickBooks' or 'Email Marketing' making a simple one-program brochure into a mini catalog of offerings. Presenting as many options as possible– credit, non-credit, short training and longer programs, positions the college as the go-to source for whatever kind of entrepreneurial training someone might be looking for.

    Identify Your Community Allies
    Every community has a local business and business support organizations that can act as messengers by repeating and amplifying your marketing messages. See examples below.

    Make a list of contacts you have in these areas and ones you want to develop relationships with. Meeting and regular communication with a community dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial development is a great way to eliminate duplication, increase referrals and collaboration. If a meeting isn’t possible, try to start a monthly email, conference call or a social media private group (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

    Likely Supporters

    • All economic development offices
    • All business support organizations such as SBDC's (Small Business Development Centers)
    • All SCORE chapters, Chambers of Commerce and neighborhood CDC’s. Economic development offices can be at city, county and regional levels
    • Micro-enterprise development and micro-lending organizations. Check AEO for ones in your area.
    • Local business/civic groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Toastmasters and Young Professionals
    • Industrial Groups for the industries that are strongest in your area
    • Real estate brokers and developers
    • Banks and other financial institutions
    • University affiliated entrepreneurship based programs and organizations
    • Utility company representatives focused on community and economic development
    • Local marketing, accounting, advertising and legal firms
    • Local newspapers, especially business editors and writers
    • Successful entrepreneurs with an interest in rebuilding the economy
    • Research librarians or economic data collection specialists
    • Local houses of worship or any group concerned about the local economy
    Marketing Methods
    Besides printed brochures and social media, you’ll need to draw a mental perimeter around your entire campus and community and try to think of all the ways you can reach your target markets. Who do they listen to? Where do they look for information?

    QuickTip: The NACCE Quick Start Guides offer examples on how successful colleges have pulled their local communities together to support their vision for supporting entrepreneurial development and education.


    Q: How can I find testimonials if we are just starting, or restarted our program?

    A: If you are trying to launch a new program or revitalize an old one you are not likely to have a lot of success stories from former students. However, you may still have some entrepreneurial allies in your alumni community that will be willing to come and speak to former students, or give an overall testimonial about the college that highlights your program.

    For Example:
    "I received my technical training at Hampden County Community College and now I have a successful business with 5 employees. I only wish I had an option to get an entrepreneurship certificate like the one they are now offering. It would have saved me a lot of time, money and frustration.”

    Many entrepreneurs are very empathetic to the needs of nascent and would be entrepreneurs and can be tapped to speak to students, judge a business plan competition or fill many other supportive roles. Some can also be tapped for potential funding.

    Tracking: Documenting your success to ensure referrals, favorable publicity and capitalize on opportunities for funding of all the three factors (selection, promotion and tracking), tracking is the trickiest. Loosing track of students and what they will be doing in the future can be a challenge.

    One of the first steps is to work with your alumni relations department to track former students and ultimately to recognize entrepreneurial outcomes for all alumni.

    Example Questions:
    "Are you working: full-time, part-time, unemployed” need another outcome such as "self-employed” and "owner of a business with employees”.


    Grants and Crowdfunding

    Q: What grants are available for entrepreneurship programs and projects?

    A: If you’re looking to build financial traction for your entrepreneurship initiatives, we recommend starting at a smaller scale while building organizational and community buy-in. Next, explore avenues for programmatic self-sustainability and eventually look to external funders for additional support. A great resource in helping you build a plan is NACCE's Entrepreneurship Specialist Certificate Online Course.


    Q: What grants are available for NACCE member entrepreneurship programs and projects?

    Federal grants:
    NACCE is always working with federal agencies to identify potential funding opportunities for our members.

    Private foundations:
    One of your first stops should be your college grants office so that your efforts are aligned with the college. There are many funders interested in promoting entrepreneurship, for example banks and financial institutions. Grant providers have a wide range of interests in entrepreneurship including funding research, targeting certain geographic regions, assisting certain kinds of entrepreneurs such as women and minorities and spurring innovation and new technology. Be sure to subscribe to NACCE’s bi-weekly e-news and to visit the NACCE website frequently to get funding updates!

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    Q: What's crowdfunding?

    A: There are two kinds of crowdfunding:

    1. Classic crowdfunding or crowdfunding for contribution: This type of crowdfunding is the simplest and has existed since ‘passing the hat’. In the last few years online, platforms (such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo) have provided a simple way to do this by connecting campaigns to people’s social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). In most offerings there is a specific goal and target date as well as target dates for shipping products. If the total is not met by the target date, the funds are returned to those who had pledged them. The ideal offering is considered to be an innovative or creative product that can be showcased in a 3 minute video that can be shipped to potential contributors as a premium (or ‘perk’ for their contribution. The contributor or customer holds no equity in the company.
    2. Equity crowdfunding A.K.A. investment crowdfunding, crowd financing: This was passed as a bill (part of the JOBS Act in 2012) to enable businesses to offer shares of their business to the general public through an online and socially integrated platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Read this Forbes.com article for more information.

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    Q: Who are the key players?

    A1: For classic/contribution based crowdfunding, a few examples include:

    However there are many more and new ones sprouting up daily. Sign up for their emails and you’ll get glimpses of their most interesting and successful campaigns. Read this article for more crowdfunding information and resources.

    A2: For equity or investment crowdfunding:

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