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10 Community Colleges Awarded -Elevator Grants at 7th Annual NACCE Conference

Thursday, November 5, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
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Grants from Coleman Foundation Will  Grow

Entrepreneurship Education Programs at Community Colleges


Springfield, MA  - October 30, 2009 - Ten community colleges from across the country were awarded a total of $70,000 in the Elevator Grant competition funded by the Coleman Foundation at the 7th Annual National Association for Community Colleges Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Conference held earlier this month in Chicago, IL.


The “elevator grant” method is based on the business planning skill of describing a new business venture in a three-minute pitch that could be given to a potential investor during an elevator ride. Immediate deliberation by the foundation’s board and staff ensured “on the spot” funding with grant checks presented at the last session of the NACCE conference. At a NACCE conference in Anaheim, CA, in January grants totaling $65,700 were awarded to 10 community colleges, meaning the grants awarded by the Coleman Foundation to NACCE members this year total $135,700.


“The Elevator Grants have always been a huge asset to NACCE members, but we believe they are now more important than ever because our nation’s economic situation would benefit greatly by increasing the availability of entrepreneurship educational opportunities at community colleges,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “We are extremely grateful to the Coleman Foundation for making the grants possible.”


Colleges receiving grants from the Coleman Foundation were:


Central Arizona College, AZ - $7,500 to start an Entrepreneurship Cadre of Instructors and Division Chairs in Occupational Programs to imbed entrepreneurship across certificate and degree programs. This cadre will learn new methodologies, use local professionals and encourage business development.


Lakeland Community College, OH - $7,500 to launch Lakeland's new Entrepreneurship Center with a regional half-day small business symposium and the development and implementation of a Lakeland Entrepreneurship Academy.


Santa Barbara City College, CA - $7,500 to support South Coast Bizconnect, an online business accelerator providing: networking opportunities between students/small business and business, social marketing tools, resources and tutorials, and informational support from regional industry experts.


Central Community College, NE - $7,500 to support faculty of the college's technology, industrial, and business programs to build an associate incubator on campus. The project will provide mentoring and business operations skills to students studying in these technical areas


Gateway Community and Technical College, KY - $2,500 to expand direct student exposure to entrepreneurship experiences through the Entrepreneurial Learning College.


Southwestern Illinois College, IL - $7,500 to host a Student Entrepreneur Award competition with Southern Illinois University's Entrepreneurship Center. Twenty five applicants will be selected to compete in an elevator pitch competition with local entrepreneurs serving as judges.


Bunker Hill Community College, MA - $7,500 to support collaboration with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. Business students will mentor high school entrepreneurs using social networking sites to facilitate frequent interactions between students and maximize the impact of mentoring relationships.


Lehigh Carbon Community College, PA - $7,500 to support the High School Pathways to Entrepreneurship. High school teachers and students will be introduced to entrepreneurship through teacher workshops and a summer camp for students. An Entrepreneurship Pathways Committee of high school teachers and college faculty will be established to develop collaborative programs and curriculum articulation.


Lansing Community College, MI - $7,500 to support the “Own a Business, Own Your Future: So You Want to be an Entrepreneur” program, which exposes 200 high school students ages 16-18 to entrepreneurship through field trips and workshops designed to provide tools to write and present a business plan for competition. A subsequent award celebration for participants and those who launch businesses will follow.


Minnesota State Community and Technical College, MN - $7,500 to support the Three-Part Speaker & Educational Series -- an ongoing community outreach and educational effort that will feature inspirational entrepreneurship speakers and educational events for local and regional business people and entrepreneurs.


About The Coleman Foundation

The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grantmaker focusing primarily on supporting Midwest non-profit organizations. Foundation resources support cancer care, treatment and research, developmental disability services, and entrepreneurship education. In 1981, the Foundation began to question why individuals are encouraged to “get a job” rather than to “create” one. Since that time, the Foundation has committed over $46 million to improve the quality of entrepreneurship education, promote the option of self-employment, and help create a new generation of business owners.   



NACCE connects community college administrators and faculty with knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial thinking, entrepreneurship education, and student business incubation. NACCE holds an annual conference, hosts a dynamic list-serv, develops web resources such as shared entrepreneurship curricula and syllabi for faculty, creates guides in beginning and sustaining entrepreneurship and student business incubation programs, as well as, tips for grant proposals specific to entrepreneurial endeavors at community colleges. For more information, visit


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