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Member News: NACCE Press Releases

Six Minnesota Community Colleges Join National Entrepreneurship Forum

Friday, April 13, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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CONTACT: Heather Van Sickle
(413) 306-3131 ext. 303


National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Moves Entrepreneurship Forward by Engaging Community Colleges to Join New Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum

Springfield, MA – April 16, 2012
-- The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has announced that six Minnesota community colleges have joined its new Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum. Through the program, presidents of community colleges throughout the country commit to increase the focus on entrepreneurship at their institutions and the impact these colleges have on the economic well being of the communities they serve.

The initiative is in response to the Obama Administration’s Startup America call to action to stimulate economic growth state by state by encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. NACCE is a founding affiliate of the Startup America Partnership, an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders. To date, over 150 community college presents have joined NACCE’s Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum.

The Minnesota community college presidents who have joined the forum are: Ronald Thomas, Dakota County Technical College; Richard Shrubb, Minnesota West Community and Technical College; Tom Whelihan, Minnesota State Community & Technical College; Robert L. Musgrove, Pine Technical College; Douglas Allen, Ridgewater College; Rassoul Dastmozd, Saint Paul College.

"For over 100 years, Saint Paul College has been contributing to the economic growth of our surrounding community and the metro area,” said Rassoul Dastmozd of St. Paul College. "With the first tradesmen who trained and graduated from this institution, the entrepreneurial spirit has long been a part of our personality, adding to the vitality and prosperity of St. Paul, Minnesota. These strong ties and natural evolution from a trades-only vocational school to the comprehensive college we are today has continued to strengthen workforce development while creating new programs and educational opportunities. In our Entrepreneurship Program, students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to launch a successful business. Our students explore entrepreneurial concepts and processes that apply to both start-up and well-established enterprises, with an innovative focus and entrepreneurial spirit. The college supports our program knowing the key role entrepreneurship plays in the U.S. and local economies by providing jobs to a large segment of the workforce.

"Joining the NACCE Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum will strengthen Saint Paul College’s relationship with our surrounding communities and our community college partners,” Dastmozd concluded. "I look forward to being a vigorous advocate of this new collaboration and infusing my dialogs with local economic development leaders about the importance of advancing entrepreneurship as an essential means to increase economic growth and development.

"As a national organization supporting entrepreneurship development, NACCE touches the lives of students and community members across the country,” said Ron Thomas, who in addition to being president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount MN, is also chairs NACCE’s board. "NACCE has an obligation to lead the way in providing assistance to entrepreneurship education programs, which are an essential part of the economic recovery at local, regional, national and global levels.”

According to NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle, the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum is a way for community colleges to advance entrepreneurship and create jobs across the country. The Forum was launched at the White House in January 2011 and works to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of American entrepreneurs.

Community college presidents who join the Forum make five commitments:

• Develop transparency of community college and community assets

• Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship

• Increase entrepreneurs’ engagement in community colleges

• Engage in industry cluster development

• Create broad exposure to their college’s commitment to entrepreneurship.

"The five commitments were developed based on NACCE’s observations of what was working best on member campuses,” said Van Sickle. "After observing the entrepreneurship-related activities of our members over a period of years, we started to see commonalities among the more successful institutions,” she said. "One of the major things that clearly makes a difference is the commitment by leadership to entrepreneurship. So we want to put something in front of leadership that they can actually commit to. We want to create a national network of institutions sharing these commitments and see what impact that can have on communities.”

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished business development professionals providing quality programs and services in entrepreneurship education and serving as advocates for "entrepreneurship movement.”

Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars and podcasts, a dynamic list-serv, and other resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These programs and courses advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges.

For more information about the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, or to join NACCE, visit Follow NACCE on Twitter at @NACCE and like the NACCE – National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship page on Facebook.


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