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Great External Partnership Exercise For Community Colleges

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

Many thanks to Janice Washington, Arizona State Director of Small Business Development Center Network, for her exercise on "How SBDCs and Community Colleges Can Help the New and Existing Entrepreneurs".


At the Rio Salado NACCE Summit lunch, Janice planted an entrepreneur, SBDC or PTAC, and community college member at each lunch table to incite a discussion on 3 questions.

  1. What programs or initiatives are already going on in your college, business or community?
  2. What is working now that can be expanded or enhanced?
  3. What would you like to or what could you create together?

Each table is discussing the questions and will report back on ACTIONABLE next steps. Otis White is getting each table's discussion for NACCE to share so members can get some good ideas.


Thanks Janice and Otis!

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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Attracting and Connecting Entreprenuers

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

So many good ideas here at the summit. I hope this blog captures the essence if you could not attend.

Treps = Entrepreneurs

Moderator - Dr. Shari Olson


  • Randall Kimmens
  • Greg Strzelcyk
  • Bruce McHenry
  • Tim Mittan

Why entrepreneurship now? 

Randall - We are all entrepreneurs. We are all running our own lives. Students should know entrepreneurship, ethics and what it means to be part of global economy.

Bruce - He asks his students, "How many of you want to start a business?" All of them raise their hands. Students see entrepreneurship as a pathway to get control of their life and the contribution they make. "We can all be entrepreneurial academics." 

Tim - Gallop poll finds that 60+% of 16 year olds want to be in their own business. Think of impact these students can make on their local economy. There is too much to lose to ignore these entrepreneurial yearnings.

Greg - Entrepreneurship fosters innovation that helps reduce costs to in turn fuel more businesses to start.

 Shari - Bruce is right. "We can all be entrepreneurial academics."  We NEED to be.


How do you engage entrepreneurs? 

Bruce: Time is the most scare resource that treps have. To engage them, you need to find value to offer them to get them to leave their office. Also try to connect treps together so they can share their best practices.

Tim: Treps want to know that what you are teaching can also benefit as existing company. Think about what can you teach them.

Greg - My company offers a consultative approach. Treps want to know about new technologies or innovations but they do not know where to start. 

Randall - It is about relationship building. Get out there and talk to the treps. What are they struggling with in their specific business. As a District, we try to be driven by student success but also by facilitating the growth of existing businesses.

Shari: As a system of many colleges, we not only share idea for running programs but also entrepreneurs. We want the treps to have access to ALL of our systems resources.


New Opportunities for Treps

Tim - We created a business incubator. We found out our students were not interested so we opened it up to community. We found that there was a need for ongoing support for existing small businesses. Community was in the middle of everything we did.

Greg - His company created a pay as you go model for his small business customers.

Randall - Build community with local economic development company. We also brought in PTAC. Educate partners about what they do not know. Educate them about the services that they all provide. Make sure that these service providers let the entrepreneurs know. 

Bruce- Create a cohort of 40 students. They each get $250 via NACCE/Coleman grant to seed their business. (also great plug for NACCE membership. Thanks Bruce!) Also, treps take a story telling course. If you are selling/pitching, you are a story teller. 


What is your advice for colleges starting an entrepreneurship program?

Greg - Community colleges play vital role with young entrepreneurs. Give them real life scenarios. Give hands on experience via internships.

Randall - Help students assess if they are an entrepreneur. Do they have the personality to do it? 

Bruce - Remember as academics and center directors, we too are entrepreneurs! Do what you teach. Test, learn, pivot and fail. Engage the whole college.

Tim - Get support from the top. 

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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Live from NACCE Rio Salado Summit

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Why Community Colleges Must Play A Significant Role in Entrepreneurship in the Next Decade and the Role of Community Colleges in Becoming Entrepreneurial Themselves"


  • Heather VanSickle
  • Tim Mittan
  • Tim Putnam

Why Must Community College Play a Role?

Creates a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that incites innovation, jobs and long-term economic growth. 

How do you do that?

Heather describes Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge. Community colleges should start with what they have. You do not always need to start with BIG ideas and lots of money. As Saras Sarasvathy, in her Entrepreneurial Method, says:

  • Start with what you have
  • Decide how much you can lose
  • Co-create with partners
  • Leverage contingencies
  • Have a worldview that we can CREATE change that we want to see. You do not have to wait.

 Culture is important too! Do you work in a place where you can test and learn?


Tim Putnam

NIAC started with humble beginning but want to make an impact in North Iowa. Their center's role is to pump the pipeline of entrepreneurs and innovation. He thinks of education as transformational. He is involved from 5th grade through higher ed inciting the message that you can be job creators, you can be an entrepreneur. He brings in a wide range of partners from those involved in tech transfers to capital providers to SBDC. To me, it sounds like they are conveners, marketers and translators so his community knows all of what is available and how to access those resources successfully. "As a community college, we are non-threatening and in turn have great partnerships."

Heather said "Many of the points Tim touched on applied the Entrepreneurial Method. We need to start developing a shared language and take it out of the abstract so we can understand how to apply best practices to our own colleges."

Tim Mittan

Tim was in rural Nebraska for ten years. He was charged with inciting entrepreneurship on campus. Tim started with education. A Entreprenuership 101 course ended up in the course catalog with no marketing and yet it was full when it started, mostly with non-business students. Wedler, auto, ag and early childhood students all took entrepreneurship courses. Those students were going to run small business but were not taught business. In Nebraska, they had to take out the word entrepreneurship, and used small business instead. Locals thought you had to be Warren Buffet if you wanted to be an entrepreneur.

With a big state, it took 8 hours to drive across. Tim shared his work and best practices with community colleges across the state. Tim helped develop NetForce, to identify and leverage educational resources to educate, engage and empower current and potential entrepreneurs.  I need to interview on how he rolled their education courses out across the state! Within year he got all of curriculum created and approved!

How do you build internal and external partnerships?

Tim Putnam - He partners with his Economic Development Corporation offices. He reaches out 

Tim Mittan - To build his internal team, he held a breakfast for all program directors at his new entrepreneurial center. Through that outreach he developed internal partnerships with technical directors. Since the technical directors could not add a course for their students who they thought were going to start a business, Tim's team offered to be a substitute once a semester.

How do you engage entrepreneurs?

Heather - It is good to engage your alumni. Many are entrepreneurs. She tells a story of how a college in Wisconsin who had nursing alumni who started a business come on for a panel. This engagement created many opportunities to keep the alum engaged - guest lectures, presenters, new course and student internships.

Tim Mittan - He started an Advisory board. 50% treps and 50% resource providers. Out of that, he started a Meet the Experts

Tim Putnam - He started a seed fund with entrepreneurs and angels and in first fund raised $1.7M. Tim need to start an LCC. His next steps is to start a formal mentor network but he is not sure that there is not enough work to engage the mentors.

Tags:  NACCE Rio Salado Summit 

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