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Need some fresh and free ideas on how to ignite your entrepreneurship students? Get insights from our experienced NACCE Faculty Ambassadors for HP LIFE on how to integrate e-learning into your entrepreneurship class. They will discuss how they have implemented HP Life ( into their online/hybrid and face-to-face business courses.


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Top tags: HP LIFE  NACCE  Cata  Catawba Valley Community College  entrepreneurial college  entrepreneurial students  entrepreneurs  entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship history  female entrepreneurs  female entrepreneurship  Garrett Hinshaw  Otis J White  Rio Salado College entrepreneurs  Small Business Centers  teaching entrepreneurs 

Small Business Centers Employ the Power of Online Learning to Support Local Entrepreneurs

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Thursday, March 27, 2014

Part 3 in a series of blogs about how entrepreneurial mindset, small business growth and technology are fueling a local economy. Click here to see video.


Across the nation, networks of centers serving small businesses, many located on community college campuses, provide invaluable assistance to entrepreneurs as they seek to get their businesses off the ground or to pursue business growth. Increasingly, counselors at these centers are using online business learning programs, such as HP LIFE e-Learning, to help educate their clients about key business building topics. This online content is used to supplement in-person counseling or as the basis for one-to-many training.


Given the large number of small business center directors in our membership and the integral role they play in the community college ecosystem and our partnership with HP LIFE, we at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship wanted to learn more about how and why small business centers co-located at member colleges are employing online learning. We spoke about their experience with online learning with George Millsaps, state director of North Carolina’s Small Business Center Network; David Copeland Norcross, acting director, Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Phoenix, Arizona; and Robert Sainz, general manager of City of Los Angeles’ Economic & Workforce Development Department, which operates nine BusinessSource Centers across the city. 

Here’s what these directors had to say about the value online learning in their centers.

Online learning supplements counseling

Directors each pointed to how online learning can be adaptable and relevant to counselling work, citing a few examples.


“One of the great things about online courses such as HP LIFE is that the SBC counselor can employ them in a variety of ways,” says George Millsaps. “Some counselors use online courses to give the entrepreneur a jump start before one-on-one counseling begins. Others use online learning to continue providing entrepreneurs needed knowledge between counseling sessions.”


“Online resources are examples of how technology can assist entrepreneurs in doing research for their business idea,” says David Copeland Norcross. “It also provides opportunities for them to see other businesses in real time and how those businesses use a specific business model that has succeeded. Using online resources for market research is invaluable for entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

“I can’t tell you how invaluable it is to have a technology platform like HP LIFE that is free for people to use,” said Robert Sainz. “Also having the HP brand behind it that people are familiar with takes away any skepticism. It is hugely important for us to reach small businesses in our many ethnic communities. So having an online learning platform that offers the training in Spanish and various Asian languages is very valuable to us.”

Convenience of online learning is highly appealing for entrepreneurs.

In addition to relevance to counselors, directors also noted the value of online resources from entrepreneur perspective, focusing on convenience, adaptability and personalization.


According to Norcross, online learning appeals to clients because it highly convenient. “Clients are able to use the tools at their own pace and with their own timetable, and at their own locations without having to travel,” he says. “This is definitely one of the benefits to the online training courses. Online learning is particularly effective if it can be followed up with one-on-one counseling sessions to specifically address areas of interest and concern.”


Millsaps believes online learning is beneficial because not everyone learns the same way. “Some people have had some exposure to small business concepts and can whiz through the parts they know,” he says. “Other people are contemplative and like to review material more than once to get that deeper meaning. Online training allows the potential entrepreneur to learn when they want to and how they want to.”

Small business owners are working from morning to night and they often don’t have time to sit in classrooms,” says Sainz. “With online learning they have the ability to do it on their own time. Also, they can access any of the 22 subject modules in HP LIFE whenever they need to know more about a specific topic rather than waiting for when a college is running a course on that topic. And they’re using it in a safe environment, which is important to older people, who may not be comfortable asking questions in a classroom environment.”

Mastery of technology is essential to small business success.

Finally, the small business thought leaders we talked with all agree that technology plays a very important role in supporting business start-ups, business growth and overall community development - online learning helps walk the walk.


“This SBDC strongly believes in the use of technology in startup businesses, particularly in the area of social media as a marketing tool,” said Norcross. “We also provide online tools to assist in financial projections and the development of business plans. We use technology to counsel clients online as well as in person through email and other tools available through our website.”


Few businesses can survive today without technology and even fewer that can flourish without technology,” said Millsaps. “Most people can't take years to get a degree in business to supplement the expertise they already have in their craft. Technology provides access to quick knowledge. Nor can a small business owner pour over mounds of paperwork each day. Technology provides the platform for programs that make quick work of bookkeeping, inventory, security, and most importantly can help increase customer satisfaction. All of these lead to increased profitability and survivability of a small business. To me technology is the great equalizer for small businesses. Show me a tech savvy small business and I'll show you a small business that can compete, and beat, the big box stores.”


For more information on how George Millsaps uses online learning to provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, we invite you to view this video.


For more about HP LIFE e-Learning and how it supports both business and ICT skills for the aspiring and nascent small business see here.

Tags:  HP LIFE  NACCE  Small Business Centers 

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Female Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Hickory, NC and Across the US

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nation-wide growth in women-owned businesses exceeds all small businesses

The impact of female entrepreneurs on the American economy is greater than ever. Women own over 8.6 million businesses in the U.S., according to American Express OPEN’s 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2013 via Julie Weeks and Womenable. Together, these businesses generate over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.8 million people. The growth in the number, revenues and employment of women-owned businesses during the 16 years covered by this report exceeds the growth rates of all but the very largest, publicly traded corporations in the country. 


Every day, the community colleges that make up the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) witness the impact the growth of female entrepreneurship is having on local communities as more and more women turn to NACCE members for entrepreneurship education and business support services. One such college is Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina. There, Business Programs Department Head Gary Muller and Business Instructor Darcie Tumey talked with us about their observations.


Women-business owners represent all industries in Hickory

“The number of female entrepreneurs in our community is growing, and they are making a big impact on the revitalization of our economy,” says Gary Muller. “They are involved in all segments of the business community; there is not just one area that their businesses are addressing. Female entrepreneurs also are becoming much more visible in the business community; they holding many of the leadership roles in our community organizations and making a difference.”


Muller has observed that would-be female entrepreneurs take a different approach to starting their business than would-be male entrepreneurs do. “They do more analysis of the potential business before they push forward,” he says. “This is a key reason for their success. We see their male counterparts move forward with their passion, without thinking of the possible problems. Female entrepreneurs are more open to help and support, which enables them to make adjustments to their plans before big problems may adversely impact the business.”


Plethora of online resources to support small businesses

Muller and Tumey think one of the reasons more women are starting businesses is the availability of resources via the Internet that make it easier to explore opportunities than in the past. According to Tumey, who is also a NACCE Ambassador for HP LIFE, “Ten or twenty years ago, individuals would have to seek out information in person and deal with individuals in face-to-face situations. As a result, if an individual didn’t receive the information they needed or had a negative experience, then their search either ended and/or became more difficult. Today, the Internet has opened up a whole host of resources (for example, success stories, resources for a fee or free, examples of mistakes, and ideas). Women can learn from others, access resources 24/7, and still make arrangements to speak with individuals for assistance at Small Business Centers, banks, industry meetings, etc.”


HP LIFE e-Learning helps launch student businesses

Chrystal Hewitt is one of Tumey’s students who has benefitted by using technology to fuel her entrepreneurship learning. One of the tools she has used is HP LIFE e-Learning, an innovative e-learning program that Tumey uses to help her entrepreneurship students learn business and IT skills and to turn their business ideas into realities. Hewitt runs a business that is part of the auto industry but is planning to open a spa.


“I found HP LIFE to be very valuable in working on my business plan project, especially the financial modules,” says Hewitt. “The templates provided me with the format and an outline of how to set up my start-up costs and monthly expenses. We also used the HP LIFE modules to aid us in understanding the different sections of our business plan.”


Hewitt says her reliance on technology will continue as she gets her business of the ground. “In our spa business, we will be using technology in how we track our billing, book our clients, and track the income for renting out space to different individuals (message therapists, dermatologist, etc.),” she says.


Watch this video to learn more about how community college educators are using technology like HP LIFE to support women in achieve their goal of becoming entrepreneurs.





Tags:  Cata  female entrepreneurs  female entrepreneurship  HP LIFE  NACCE 

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An Entreprenerial Mindset Is Helping a North Carolina Community College Revive Its Local Economy

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Friday, February 28, 2014

Across the nation, a revolution is occurring in how community colleges view their role in serving their communities. Seeking to bolster local economies, many community colleges, including the 300-plus members of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), are adopting a holistic approach to fostering and supporting entrepreneurship and business growth. Not only are these colleges educating entrepreneurs, their presidents are using an entrepreneurial mindset to implement creative solutions to existing problems. The use of technology has been part of their innovation solutions.


Entrepreneurial Presidents Facilitate an Entrepreneurial Culture

According to NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle, these entrepreneurial colleges have cultures requiring an entrepreneurial mindset for all who work at the college. “They focus on the foundational elements: the right people, the right culture, to increase the talent base in their community and add value that only the community college can in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. This culture results in an environment fertile for starting and sustaining successful businesses in the greater community.”


An Entrepreneurial President in Action at CVCC

Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina, is a prime example of an institution that has enthusiastically embraced an entrepreneurial mindset. Garrett Hinshaw is president at CVCC and also the incoming chair of the North Carolina Community College Presidents Association.


“North Carolina’s economic system is continuing to evolve through the economic downturn that we just experienced,” says Hinshaw. “It’s important for us to look at all opportunities for new business starts-ups, especially those that are innovative and scalable and that will create jobs. We need new businesses that will have a long-term positive impact on the ecosystem and will make our state competitive in a global market.


“My role as a community college president is to make every effort to inspire entrepreneurship and make sure it’s a priority for all of our programs here at Catawba Valley Community College,” Hinshaw adds. “Part of that is bringing in innovative programs like HP LIFE e-Learning that can help students learn business and IT skills and turn their business ideas into realities. Good IT skills and knowledge are critical to effectively managing and growing a business. IT affects every part of a company from bringing products and services to market quickly to interacting with customers. HP LIFE e-Learning is just one example of the incredible role technology is playing in fueling learning, business and community development and economic growth.”


Entrepreneurship Can Revive an Economy; Community Colleges are the Hub for that Revival

The economy of Hickory and its surrounding region was dominated by manufacturing for many decades. That all changed during the economic downturn. “Now it’s critical for us to focus on entrepreneurship as a new way of inventing jobs and assuring that our citizens have access to quality, relevant jobs for the future of this region,” says Hinshaw. “One of the key things that we’ve continued to do is support our existing manufacturers through our Advanced Manufacturing Solution Center, looking at ways to affect that bottom line so those companies can create jobs that are going to make a difference in our region. 


“We are creating an environment where every new idea has a chance to succeed,” he adds. “Through HP LIFE e-Learning and the different programs we’re initiating at our college we want to ensure that all citizens have the ability to get beyond friends and family and into the marketplace where they can grow a business, create jobs and obtain follow-on funding.”


Entrepreneurial Presidents Take Calculated Risks

Hinshaw believes it’s very important for the leaders of all 58 of the community colleges across North Carolina to think about the calculated risks they must take to make their environments relevant. “For example, right here on our campus, we’re created a 28,000-square-foot simulated hospital, which is the largest east of the Mississippi,” he says. “This has changed healthcare training in our region. We have to take existing resources and assure that they are relevant for the 21st century. We’re taking a former restaurant and turning it into an innovative corporate development center that features small business support. As a leader in higher education we always have to think differently in terms of how we do things, how we reach our constituents, how we ensure our citizens have the right skills and access to the resources they need. We have to be willing to take those risks and then work hard to make sure that our commitment and our focus remains on those.


According to Hinshaw, the Hickory community was built by entrepreneurs who knew how to make things and were real craftsmen. “This area is going to continue that tradition, but we just have to change the way we think and change the way we do business,” he says, “and technology like HP LIFE e-Learning is helping us do that. We’re seeing those manufacturers who are sustained here changing the way that they reach out to the community and how they engage with each other and really changing how we do business here in the Catawba Valley region.”


Watch this video to learn more about how one community college president in North Carolina is using an entrepreneurial mindset to restore the local economy.


About Catawba Valley Community College

Located in Hickory, NC, Catawba Valley Community College is an innovative, comprehensive community college that fosters and promotes a multitude of learning experiences, enabling and empowering its students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to identify and to serve higher purposes in their lives and in their communities. CVCC was founded in 1958 and welcomed its first class of 77 students in 1960. Today, the college serves over 5,000 students with career training in a wide variety of technical and industrial fields through its Business, Engineering Technology, Environmental and Life Sciences, Health and Human Resources, and Industrial Technology Divisions. Also, many students transfer to a four-year college after completing their first two years at CVCC. 



The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. NACCE has two main goals: 1. Empower the college to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset; and 2. Grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem.


Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the "entrepreneurship movement.” Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, regional summits, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars, a dynamic list-serv, and training resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These initiatives and resulting actions advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges. NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup America Partnership. For more information, visit Follow us at @NACCE, like us on, and join our LinkedIn group.

Tags:  Catawba Valley Community College  entrepreneurial college  Garrett Hinshaw  HP LIFE  NACCE 

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