TIP: For all toolkits, click on the Table of Contents. For specific toolkit sets, select the appropriate A, L or S Tools page.
Community colleges today are able to offer economic solutions for communities large and small, urban and rural. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has worked collaboratively to help them fill that role. With the support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, AACC has been working with colleges in 11 states, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), and the U.S. Small Business Administration to convene a Virtual Incubation Network (VIN) and design a toolkit for national dissemination to community colleges.
As communities across the country revitalize their local economies with entrepreneurship and small business growth, they often call on community colleges and their partners to provide skilled training, educational services and guidance to build out innovative ideas. Many colleges establish small business incubators to nurture companies through the most challenging start-up stages of development, with an ultimate aim of increasing jobs and revenue in the local community. The development of the VIN recognizes that these services need not depend on a traditional brick-and-mortar facility. Instead the VIN’s new delivery mechanisms include support provided at the business site and hybrid in-person and technology processes. The tools created by the VIN will help community colleges grow entrepreneur talent while offering more flexible delivery
to existing small business owners and start-up businesses leaders.
The toolkit will support community colleges in building and sustaining a virtual incubation and economic development effort. Its tools are tailored for the needs of three primary audiences:
- All Audiences: “A Tools” are targeted to all audiences interested in virtual incubation, community colleges and workforce and economic change agents.
- College Leadership: “L Tools” are targeted to college leadership (chancellors, presidents and deans) who want to know the fundamental financing and staffing needs and rationale for a virtual incubator. These tools discuss strategies to embed an entrepreneurial spirit into the campus and community. We ask that leaders read them, commit to the effort, allocate resources to support this on their campus and pass these through to their core team.
- College Staff: “S Tools,” which comprise the bulk of the toolkit, are meant as tactical tools for the staff who will be working on a day-to-day basis to create a viable virtual incubator. These tools are intended to provide specifics on virtual incubator structure, partnerships, buy-in, evaluation and leverage. Some of the S tools are specifically designed for college staff to both use and pass through to the entrepreneurs.
Relevance of the Tools
As your college embarks on a bold and bright virtual incubation effort, it is important to note that the VIN Toolkit is not a complete cookbook for success, but rather the compilation of the most current, varying and successful virtual incubation elements drawn from community colleges across the country. Colleges will need to review the complete tool set to determine the ones that fit their needs appropriately.
This project could not have been completed without the tireless effort of the following AACC member college presidents and their core team members who took time away from their overflowing desks (and often their personal lives) during busy work periods, holidays and anniversaries to design, write, edit and honestly assess their own successes and challenges in relation to those of their peers across the country. With thanks, we express our appreciation to the following contributors:
- Burlington County College: Dr. Robert Messina, President; Ketan Gandhi, Dean, Corporate College; and Ronald Brand, Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services
- Indian River State College: Edwin R. Massey, Ph.D., President; Jan Pagano, Dean of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development; Alan Roberts,
Ed.D., Vice President of Applied Science and Technology; and Cedrick Gibson, Dean of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
- Lorain County Community College: Dr. Roy Church, Tracy Green, Director, Lorain Community College Foundation; James Shanahan,
Director, Entrepreneurship Innovation Institute; and Marcia Ballinger, Vice President, Strategic & Institutional Development
- Long Beach City College: Dr. Eloy Oakley, President; Lou Anne Bynum, Vice President, Economic and Resource Development Office; Sheneui
Weber, Executive Director, Economic and Resource Development; and Elena Keefe, who managed Chinese delegations and constant calls
- Mott Community College: Dr. Richard Shaink, President; Tom Crampton, Executive Dean, Regional Technology Initiatives Regional
Technology Center M-TEC; and Doug Prehoda, Senior Project Manager, Regional Technology Initiative
- North Iowa Area Community College: Dr. Debra Derr, President; Tim Putnam, Associate Director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center; Mark
Olchefske, Director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center; and Jamie Zanios, Vice President, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College: Dr. Jeff Rafn, President; Phil Everhart, Virtual Business Incubator Project Coordinator/Workforce and
Economic Opportunities Specialist; and Pat O’Hara, Dean, Marinette Campus
- Rio Salado College: Chris Bustamante, Ed.D., President; Michael Cottam, Associate Dean of Instruction; Otis White, Faculty Chair, Business
- Santa Fe Community College: Dr. Sheila Ortego, President; Dr. Ron Liss, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs; Mechele Hesbrook, Dean, School of Arts and Design
- Southeast Community College: Dr. Jack Huck, President; Tim Mittan, Director, Entrepreneurship Center; Linda Hartman, Education Specialist/Recruiter
Business Administration Instructor; Brooke Robbins, Entrepreneurship Center Assistant; and Dr. Dennis Headrick, Vice President for Instruction
- White Mountains Community College: Kathy Eneguess, President, and John Dyer, Director of Community and Corporate Affairs
In addition to the colleges, this work was made possible by the exceptionally driven and capable individuals at each of the following organizations:
The American Association of Community College’s Molly Middlehurst ensured that the team took every task to completion, made countless calls, emails and meetings congeal into product, and did this with a smile.
The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship’s Jeanne Yocum, who listened and successfully consolidated many voices into one clear path for readers, as well as Amy Bouvier, logistical and financial extraordinaire.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Antonio Doss for constantly supporting the VIN in federal-level conversations as well as facilitating connections between SBDCs and colleges across the country.
National Business Incubation Association’s Linda Knopp, who cross-checked our writing and infused NBIA’s national and deeply knowledgeable perspective into every piece.
Reingold’s Kevin Miller and Jillian Moskovitz whose deep reads, copyediting and designs made the pieces visually compelling and clear.
Lastly, a very special thank you is in order for Jack Litzenberg, recently retired from of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This project was truly a collaboration of heads, hearts and hands across the country, with Jack playing a key role. Jack remained deeply engaged from the visionary construction of the effort, through site visits at the colleges, and to thoughtful content contributions right up until the day of his retirement from the foundation. Working with Jack has been a professional high-note and a personally enriching experience for all of those involved.
James F. McKenney
Vice President of Workforce,
Economic Development & International Programs
American Association of Community Colleges
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Program Manager, Center for
Workforce & Economic Development
American Association of Community Colleges
Heather Van Sickle
The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship