On Monday October 10, 2011, as part of the 9th Annual NACCE Conference, The Coleman Foundation will conduct an elevator grant session to kick-off a $150,000 competition to identify best practices for creatively involving successful entrepreneurs in self-employment education. The session will provide community college faculty members with the opportunity to compete for grants to fund their Entrepreneurship Engagement Plan to identify practicing entrepreneurs in their local community and engage them in educational programs.
Elevator grant winners will compete over the 2011-2012 academic year to receive additional awards for the most effective approaches for entrepreneur engagement. The Foundation is targeting as many as twenty $5,000 launch grants (totaling up to $100,000) to fund a seven-month implementation of promising Entrepreneurship Engagement Plans with bonus funds of up to $50,000 to be awarded in the spring of 2012 among those with the most impactful achievements during the implementation period. Applicants may be colleges initiating self-employment education activities as well as those with existing programs.
The elevator grant program highlights activities which are part of NACCE's recommended “Community College Presidents Commitment to Entrepreneurship”, an initiative outlining six actions which college presidents should take to advance self-employment education. One of the commitments – to “increase entrepreneur engagement in community colleges” – aligns with one of the Foundation’s Bull’s-Eye Entrepreneurship Concepts — that successful practitioners, including local and alumni entrepreneurs, must be part of a student’s learning experience.
The Entrepreneurship Engagement Plan is a roadmap, like a business plan, describing how the college intends to creatively engage with practicing entrepreneurs from their community. It will state the types of entrepreneurs who will be engaged and why they are the key target for the college. The Plan will describe how the college will build a team comprised of members of the college and the community focused on self-employment education. The Plan will outline operational elements which may include development of reciprocal benefits between the college and entrepreneurs as well as the involvement of entrepreneurs in campus-based educational and co-curricular activities. Creative solutions are encouraged to engage practitioners in campus activities.
The elevator grant method is based upon the business presentation model which involves describing a new business venture in a short pitch that could be given to a potential investor during an elevator ride. Using these same concepts, the Foundation has conducted similar sessions for secondary, community college and collegiate educators over the past eight years, employing a rapid grant making process to award well-placed, small grants in support of entrepreneurship education. New this year is the awarding of bonus funds intended to motivate the development of best practices and advance their implementation.
Interested applicants must be NACCE members and must submit a three-page Entrepreneurship Engagement Plan, including a plan budget, which will be evaluated in advance of the elevator grant session by the Foundation and NACCE. Select applicants will be invited to participate in the session. At the session, the Project Director from each invited community college will present an overview of their proposed project, 3 minutes in duration, to a panel of representatives of the Foundation and NACCE. Questions from Foundation and NACCE representatives will follow. Launch grants, including funding to develop a video report of implementation results, will be awarded during the NACCE conference. Presentations must be made by the Project Director. Winners may be invited to present their project at future NACCE events.
Registration materials must be received by 8 a.m. Central Time on Monday, September 19, 2011. Late entries will not be accepted. Registration forms are available on the NACCE web site.