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Members of Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum Participate in White House-Led Event on Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum members make sure community colleges are part of national discussion on how can foster entrepreneurship and Innovation

Washington, DC, October 05, 2012 --( Thirty community college presidents from across the nation gathered with other higher education leaders for a series of meetings convened in Washington, D.C., on Monday, October 1, by the U.S. Department of Commerce to discuss the role of higher education in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. The day’s agenda, which was organized by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration, focused on bringing together leaders of higher education to provide information to Department of Commerce and White House officials about the work their institutions are doing in the entrepreneurship and innovation arena.

The community college presidents attending the meetings, which were held at the U.S. Department of Commerce and at the White House, are members of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, which was formed in late 2011 by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). NACCE is the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges. Through the Forum, presidents of over 180 community colleges throughout the country have committed 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 information shared in Monday’s meeting will be used to inform the Administration’s policy decisions and funding allocations around how the higher education community can encourage entrepreneurship and innovation,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “When many people think of entrepreneurship and innovation on college campuses, they think of the big research universities, but NACCE has over 300 member institutions across the country that have robust entrepreneurship programs. Being part of this national conversation about entrepreneurship is very important for our members and for the members of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, who have particularly shown their commitment to this important issue.”

“Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in economic development for the United States and through the efforts of NACCE to engage community colleges with our university partners at this forum, our ability to grow and develop successful entrepreneurs across our country will be greatly enhanced,” said NACCE Board Chair Dr. Ron Thomas, who is president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, MN.

“The meetings at the Commerce Department and the White House were excellent opportunities for community colleges to be well represented in the national conversation about entrepreneurship and with what is occurring across America to restart and rebuild our economy,” said Dr. Daniel Larson, president of Cayuga Community College in Auburn, NY. “We know that it is our local people who help to create new jobs through startups and expanding current businesses. The Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum members who were present networked with their college and university colleagues, and with government leaders, while hearing updates about programs and activities. Governmental resources are ready to assist people in our communities with their entrepreneurial activities. As presidents, we understand clearly the need to connect our colleges with those local efforts and with the resources of the government.”

During the morning meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce, three Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum members spoke as part of panels that made presentations on the topics of Student and Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration, and Universities & Regional Economic Development. Speaking on these panels, respectively, were Dr. Karen Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA; Dr. Edwin Massey, president of Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce, FL; and Dr. Roy Church, president of Lorain County Community College in Elyria, OH.

Also speaking at the morning session were Steve Case, co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Acting Secretary of Commerce Dr. Rebecca Blank; and Karen Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The meeting was led by Nish Acharya, Director of the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

After the morning session the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum attended a luncheon sponsored by Sam’s Club, which has just announced that its commitment to provide financial support for NACCE and for members of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum. Guest speaker, Brenda Dann Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education in the U.S. Department of Education applauded the efforts of the presidents and shared her work. Also present at the luncheon were representatives other NACCE partners, including the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

Following the luncheon, 10 Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum members were invited along with a group of university presidents to the White House, where further discussions about innovation and entrepreneurship in the higher education world occurred, Including participation by entrepreneurs who began their businesses while in college.
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National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship
Jeanne Yocum

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