The schools commit to supporting small businesses and the local economy
| Victor Valley College
Twelve junior colleges in the Inland Empire and the desert region – including Victor Valley College and Barstow Community College – recently committed to supporting local startups and entrepreneurs in their respective communities.
On February 8, the VVC Superintendent / President Dr. Daniel Walden and the BCC Superintendent / President Dr. Eva Bagg together with ten other colleagues from the Inland Empire / Desert Region Consortium of Community Colleges (IEDRC) the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP)). The signing event took place virtually and was hosted by the partner organization, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).
The VVC Entrepreneurship Program is expected to begin offering courses in the fall of 2021 and will “equip students with the entrepreneurial mindset and practical skills necessary to be successful in the ever-changing business environment,” said Dr. Henry Young, VVC director of business administration and Senate Academic President.
“The course offering will take a multidisciplinary approach to helping students create entrepreneurship and stimulate the implementation of innovative ideas to support existing businesses,” said Young.
The NACCE partnership and collaboration between the 12 colleges was coordinated by Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, IERC’s Regional Director of Business and Entrepreneurship. The partnership allows universities to learn from one another, work together and support one another in this endeavor, she said.
“The promise these 12 presidents are making shows their commitment to entrepreneurship and I am honored to be working with these colleges and presidents to drive entrepreneurship in our region,” said Kiplinger-Kennedy.
Dr. Rebecca Corbin, President and CEO of NACCE, congratulated the college presidents on their acceptance and noted that more than 90 education leaders attended the virtual signing ceremony, including California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Development, Sheneui Weber. The recording of the virtual event can be viewed here on the NACCE YouTube channel.
“The spirit of innovation and collaboration among leaders facing current challenges and seeking a path to a more inclusive, hopeful future has been inspiring,” said Corbin.
By signing the pledge, the Presidents committed themselves to five “steps” to drive entrepreneurship in their communities and on campus. This includes liaising with local entrepreneurs and working with regional industries to create jobs and boost the local economy.
“We are in a major cultural shift here at Victor Valley College to change attitudes towards how we approach college every day. We don’t come to work as employees – whether classified, faculty, employees or administrators – but as entrepreneurs, ”said Dr. Walden. “Entrepreneurship is about being passionate about your job and having an attitude towards growth, adjustment and a desire to be successful every day you come to work.”
The start of an entrepreneurship program is welcomed by Amber Scott, a 2019 graduate of VVC and CEO of + ME Brands LLC, a Victorville-based retail beauty and personal care brand.
“The Entrepreneurship program is a fantastic idea and will help grow the community economically by giving students the opportunity to work for themselves and then provide work to others,” said Scott. “The cycle of economic growth that stabilizes and transcends. I can see that from the overall result of this program. “
According to Young, the state-level entrepreneur certification program is in the approval phase and is expected to begin in the fall of 2021. Some of the early courses offered at VVC include “Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset”; “Starting a business for entrepreneurs with limited resources;” and “Money, Finance and Accounting for Entrepreneurs.”
While signing the pledge, Dr. Bagg said she was honored to work with NACEE and her colleagues at Community College to “harness entrepreneurship education” to equip students with the resources they need to “innovate and succeed in a highly ambiguous future to have”.
“I believe that entrepreneurship is the most promising way to create more equitable opportunities for those students and communities that have become more marginalized in recent months,” said Bagg.
In October, Barstow Community College was named the national winner of the 2nd annual NACCE 2020 Pitch for the Trades competition. With the aim of promoting job creation and entrepreneurship in the region, BCC entered the national competition with its newly established Jump Start Certificate Program for commercial technicians, according to a BCC statement.
The Startup Program is a free, credit-free course that teaches students basic principles and skills in eight high-demand professions in the local community, including construction, plumbing, and customer service. The program includes an entrepreneurship component for students interested in starting their own business.
VVC also has plans to develop an “Innovation Commons” space on the VVC campus, said Dr. Todd Scott, Vice President of Instruction. He explained that the creation of this space is based on two key principles – a makerspace and a space designed for “collisions”.
A “makerspace” is essentially a collaborative workspace where students can explore their interests, use both physical and virtual tools, and work on projects and ideas.
According to Scott, designing a space for “collisions” encourages chance encounters and conversations between people who may have no other connection.
“When these ‘collisions’ occur and ideas develop between people, it is the Innovation Commons’ intent to provide the facilities and tools necessary for those ideas to flourish,” said Scott.
The Innovation Commons also offers free credit-free courses and community education courses for people of all ages, Scott said.
If you would like to learn more about the upcoming Entrepreneurship Program at Victor Valley College, please contact Dr. Henry Young at [email protected] or 760-245-4271 ext. 2487.
To learn more about enrolling in the Barstow Community College Jump Start Program for Commercial Technicians, contact CTE at [email protected] or 760-252-6799.