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Three National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Members Selected to Participate in Innovation Fund America Initiative

Pilot program will help launch and grow technology-based startups in California, Kansas and North Carolina through funding and education model developed at Ohio's Lorain County Community College.

Springfield, MA, February 07, 2013 --( Three members of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) have been selected to pilot an entrepreneurship education and startup funding program known as Innovation Fund America (IFA). IFA is a nonprofit partnership between the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a leading national supporter of entrepreneurship, and Lorain County Community College (LCCC) in Elyria, Ohio. The NACCE member colleges chosen for the program, which will invest in, mentor and motivate high-growth entrepreneurs, are Long Beach City College in Long Beach, California; Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas; and Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, North Carolina.

Last May, the Kauffman Foundation made a grant of $1 million to fund the creation of the IFA organization and is working with LCCC to replicate nationally the college’s successful Innovation Fund model for mentoring and funding high-growth startups, especially first-time founders. LCCC’s Innovation Fund has seen considerable success in spurring sustainable economic growth in northeast Ohio, a hard-hit region dominated by manufacturing.

Launched by the LCCC Foundation in 2007, the Innovation Fund offers vital support to new and young firms through pre-seed-stage access to capital for proof of concept, intensive coaching and mentoring, and education and internship opportunities. To date, LCCC's Innovation Fund has invested $6.5 million in 94 companies that have created more than 300 jobs, provided more than 150 paid internships, generated $17 million in revenue, and raised $71 million in follow-on funding.

“The three selected colleges are prime examples of the difference community colleges that embrace entrepreneurship can make in their communities, and we couldn’t be more pleased that they were chosen to pilot this important program,” said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. “Each of the colleges has been an active NACCE member.

“Currently, Gary Muller, department head of Business Programs of Catawba Valley Community College is serving as a NACCE Fellow with a focus on community outreach,” added Van Sickle. “Over the past two years, Long Beach City College was a member of the Virtual Incubation Network, a pilot program for the concept of virtual incubation that NACCE managed along with the American Association of Community Colleges. And Johnson County Community College is a long-time NACCE member; educational professionals from there have made numerous presentations at our annual conference and written articles for our quarterly journal.”

Community colleges across the United States applied to participate in the new IFA program. The three pilot schools were selected after several rounds of interviews, site visits and study of entrepreneurs' needs in each community. IFA seeks to prove the viability of its model in the pilot sites before expanding the program to additional community college campuses nationwide.

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012, is an organization of educators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished business development professionals providing quality programs and services in entrepreneurship education and serving as advocates for community-based entrepreneurship. Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the "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. NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup America Partnership. For more information, visit
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National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship
Jeanne Yocum

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