National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship

National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 to serve the mission of accelerating entrepreneurship at community and technical colleges in the United States. The organization serves two audiences: 1) community college administrators who are manage entrepreneurship education programs and entrepreneurship centers and 2) faculty members who teach entrepreneurship. NACCE's vision is creating economic vitality through entrepreneurship; members believe community colleges are in an ideal position to accomplish this based on their accessibility and local ties to their communities. NACCE helps community colleges nationwide link their traditional role of workforce development with entrepreneurial development. Through annual conference, symposiums, a web site, an e-newsletter, webinars, a quarterly journal, member blogs, podcasts, a listserv and other services, NACCE helps is members share information about entrepreneurship education.

The field of entrepreneurship education first emerged in the 1970s, with the first courses at community colleges starting in the early ‘70s. According to a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2007 survey of the 1,193 community colleges in the U.S., 66% offer a least one course in Entrepreneurship, 14% offer an associate degree in Entrepreneurship, 19% offer a certificate in Entrepreneurship, 55% offer Entrepreneurship as continuing education, 26% offer a program in Entrepreneurship, and 20% host a small business development center. Entrepreneurship education programs at community colleges have two target markets: students enrolled in credit and noncredit classes, and potential or existing small business owners.

In 2001, Springfield Technical Community College and the Entrepreneurial Institute at the Springfield Enterprise Center at STCC in Massachusetts began to research and investigate entrepreneurship education practices at community colleges across the country. At that time, only about 10% of 1,200-plus community colleges had any type of entrepreneurship education as part of their curriculum.

At the same time, both the American Association for Community Colleges and the National Commission on Entrepreneurship recognized that community colleges were ideally positioned to be catalysts for fostering economic vitality through entrepreneurship education at the community college level.

In response to these findings, NACCE was created to establish entrepreneurship education as a core offering to foster economic development through community colleges. An inaugural conference was set in motion with a $100,000 grant from S. Prestley Blake, the co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream Corporation. NACCE went on to receive a $50,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City and a $20,000 grant from the Coleman Foundation in Chicago.

In 2003, NACCE held its Inaugural Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, with 150 attendees. Annual conferences have been held every year since, with attendance now averaging around 400.

NACCE now has over 1000 individual and institutional members.

In the fall of 2011, NACCE launched the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, which encourages all community college presidents to endorse five commitments that will ensure that community colleges are involved in the national discuss about how to increase entrepreneurship which is being led by the Obama White House through its launch of Startup America. Through the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, community college presidents commit to 1) Develop transparency of community college and community assets; 2) Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship; 3) Increase entrepreneurs' engagement in community college; 4) Engage in industry cluster development; and 5) Create buss and broad exposure for their college's commitment to entrepreneurship.


Major Milestones

• Began accepting members.

• 2007 – Held first Elevator Pitch competition at 4th Annual Conference, providing $73,500 to 15 community colleges with funding provided by the Coleman Foundation and the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation.

• 2007 – Introduced three awards at 4th Annual Conference: Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by E-Myth Worldwide; Entrepreneurship Faculty of the Year Award, sponsored by USA Today; and Student Essay Contest, co-sponsored by The New York Times & NACCE

• 2007 – Held first annual Summer Symposium for Community College Entrepreneurship Educators (S-CCEE).

• 2007 – Launched 28-page quarterly journal called Community College Entrepreneurship.

• 2008 – Achieved nonprofit status.

• 2008 – Second round of Elevator Grant program at 5th Annual Conference provided $108,100 to 19 colleges with funding provided by the Coleman Foundation and the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation.

• 2009 – Third round of Elevator Grant program at 6th Annual Conference provided $85,700 to 13 colleges with funding provided by the Coleman Foundation and the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation. The fourth round of Elevator Grants, presented at the 7th Annual Conference, totaled $70,000, which was donated by the Coleman Foundation.

• Jan. 2009 – Over 300 community college professionals attended the 6th NACCE Conference in Anaheim, CA.

• Oct. 2009 – Over 400 community college professionals attended the 7th NACCE Conference in Chicago, IL. At this conference, NACCE presented the first Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award was presented to John Pappajohn; Pappajohn is the driving force behind the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at his alma mater, North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA, as well as four other entrepreneurship centers at other schools around the state. Also, at this conference, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center received the NACCE Innovation Award, which was created with and sponsored by Accelper Consulting. The award recognizes entrepreneurial centers and their positive impact on the communities they serve.

• Oct. 2010 - NACCE's 8th Annual Conference drew over 400 community college professionals to Orlando, FL. The conference theme was "Entrepreneurship: The Community College Role in Economic Vitality." Over 50 sessions on topics related to how community colleges can make an impact on their community's economy were presented. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to B.W. (Bernie) Simpkins, of Cocoa, FL, who founded B.W. Simpkins Oil Co. and built it from a four-person start-up into a $150 million business that transformed from an oil delivery firm into a convenience store empire. In addition nine community college professionals were honored with Recognition Awards for their work in entrepreneurship education.

• Oct. 2011 - Over 400 professionals attended NACCE's 9th Annual Conference in Portland, OR. The conference theme was "The Impact of Entrepreneurship." Keynote speakers such as entrepreneur Gary Schoeniger and Pulitzer Price nominee Clifton Talbert talked about the power of entrepreneurship to change people's lives. In the Coleman Foundation Elevator Grant Competition, 11 community colleges from all parts of the country received $67,500 in grants with an opportunity to earn $25,000 more upon completion of their grant-funded programs, which will focus on encouraging ties between the colleges' entrepreneurship programs and entrepreneurs in their community.

Information Exchange/Networking

Networking with like-minded individuals ranked at the top of the list of services sought by NACCE members. Much of this networking occurs via the web and email. In addition, NACCE serves as a dissemination tool for innovative practices developed by members, creating an atmosphere of sharing and enhancement of programs that aims to ultimately result in entrepreneurship education and student business incubation at all community colleges. These ideas and tools are shared with NACCE members, as well as promoted to a wider audience including media, potential funders, and others in the field.

NACCE gathers information from members to better serve their specific needs. For instance, institutions just starting on the path of entrepreneurship education are matched with institutions that have a greater depth of experience. In turn, experienced institutions speak on behalf of NACCE at conferences or events they attend.

These face-to-face links are supplemented by various electronic communications methods. There is currently a “member’s only” section accessible with username and password on the NACCE web site. Inside, members have access to web discussion boards, instructions on how to begin an entrepreneurship program, member profiles and much more. An on-line newsletter highlights both NACCE and individual member activities. Finally, syllabi and curricula outlines can be posted to enable easier access to community colleges just beginning to offer entrepreneurship education.

Annual Conference

The next NACCE conference will be held October 7–10, 2012, in at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago, IL The NACCE conference is a place where entrepreneurially minded community college professionals gather together to identify opportunities and create positive organizational and community change. Through entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education, and student business incubation programs you will learn how your community college will make an impact in your community’s economic future.


In January 2011, NACCE announced its participation in the Startup America Partnership, a White House-led public/private alliance designed to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of American Entrepreneurs.

NACCE has partnered with the Direct Selling Education Foundation to develop a Direct Selling Entrepreneur Certificate Program, that will be launched in the fall of 2011. This non-credit, direct selling curriculum and certificate program will be offered through community colleges.

The Council for Resource Development (CRD) is an organization made up of foundation and development officers and grant writers only at community colleges. The individuals serve at the college to identify revenue streams (private and public) to advance the programs of the college. NACCE plans on bringing the fundraising expertise and the entrepreneurship faculty together so that they may more effectively collaborate on ways to increase sustainability of their entrepreneurship program.

In addition, NACCE works internationally to advance entrepreneurship education through partnerships with the Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education|Belfast Institute, Northern Ireland and the Niels Brock's Business College, Denmark as well as the International Denmark Entrepreneurship Alliance in Denmark.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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