Economics / Education / Entrepreneurs / Guest posts / Universities

Montgomery County Community College wants to be the regional hub for entrepreneurs

MCCC's Dean of Business & Entrepreneurial Initiatives explains how the school is trying to make it happen.

Montgomery County Community College students piling into class. (GIF via Montgomery County Community College)
This guest post is part of Grow PA, a reported series on economic development across 10 Pennsylvania counties underwritten by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Sign up for our weekly curated email here.
We live in an era when lifetime employment at a single company is a distant memory, and a lifetime working in a single industry has become a spurious hope.

Our careers ride on our own shoulders, and our success depends on our ability to reinvent ourselves personally and professionally to adapt to the changing landscape of work in this post-industrial era.

Renowned management consultant Dr. Peter Drucker famously said, “Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” While I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Drucker, I also think entrepreneurship is an attitude.

Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business. It is about being innovative, taking risks and thriving amidst uncertainty and chaos.

As Dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives (BEI) at Montgomery County Community College, I am proud of our mission to encourage students and members of our community to discover and cultivate their entrepreneurial potential, create new ventures and establish a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Montgomery County.

We are actively developing multiple initiatives in the realm of entrepreneurship, including a concentration and certificate program, one or more co-working and incubator spaces and a collaboration with high schools to foster entrepreneurship education, to name a few. The marquee initiative in BEI’s portfolio is the Dr. Karen A. Stout Accelerator Fund. This fund, named for MCCC’s President Emerita, Karen Stout, allows aspiring entrepreneurs to compete for cash awards for launching or growing their business ventures.

All organizations applying for funding consideration are required to be located in, or have the ability to, impact Montgomery County or the surrounding region. In this program, entrepreneurs submit their business plans to the fund’s review committee. The committee then evaluates proposals based on product concept, market feasibility, competitive advantage, value proposition, financial viability, potential impact on Montgomery County and other criteria.

Companies with the highest-rated plans are invited to the College to pitch their business concepts to a review team. Select businesses from the group of finalists are awarded between $1,000 and $25,000 to help launch or grow their ventures. Recipients work with the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Services and community mentors to set key milestones and deliverables and to monitor progress and outcomes.

Military veterans, students, female and minority entrepreneurs are strongly encouraged to apply.

Our vision is to become the recognized hub for entrepreneurship and innovative thinking in the region, and we are fortunate to be getting tremendous support from both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurial players in the community.

It is precisely because of the new dynamism in the way people and organizations think about careers that I am glad to have taken my position at MCCC. Not only has this allowed me to reinvent myself, it has given me the opportunity to promote the practice and attitude of entrepreneurship in one of the most innovative regions in the nation.

Following Drucker’s philosophy, MCCC is working to establish entrepreneurship as a practice, but we are also providing the initiatives, educational opportunities and support to build an entrepreneurial attitude.

It is our hope that the Accelerator Fund and our efforts in the entrepreneurial arena will encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to take risks and embrace uncertainty and chaos as opportunity. This will make the implementation of great ideas a little easier for the innovators and forward thinkers of Montgomery County and metropolitan Philadelphia.


Companies: Montgomery County Community College
Series: Grow PA

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