by Alana J. Mauger
Each year, Montgomery County Community College recognizes one outstanding program or project as its Innovation of the Year award recipient. The projects are evaluated against criteria established by the League for Innovation in the Community College. Criteria include quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity and timeliness.
The College’s 2012 Innovation of the Year was awarded to the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, in collaboration with the Woman-Owned Business Program. Accepting the aware were Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education Suzanne Holloman; Real Estate / Management Lecturer and CES Interim Director Ayisha Sereni; Woman Owned Business Instructor Kimberle Levin; and Don Jefferson from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Officially opened in August 2010, the CES plays an active role in economic development by creating leadership, innovation, inspiration and enrichment for the greater community through a full range of business services for entrepreneurs at every stage of business growth. Resources include:
- An extensive selection of credit and non-credit entrepreneurial courses including a Certificate in Entrepreneurship;
- A business incubator facility with 10 furnished office suites and support services;
- External partnership agreements with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE – America’s Counselors to Small Business; and
- Consulting services in vital business operational areas of Accounting, Legal, Marketing and Technology.
The CES incubator was fully occupied before the end of its first year and has become a case model that is studied and replicated by peer institutions – regionally, nationally and internationally.
The Woman-Owned Business (WOB) program, launched in 2005, seeded the early thinking about the need for the CES to support the local development of entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and in all industry sectors. The WOB program is still going strong and now includes an on-going support group, the Montgomery County Woman-Owned Business Network.
As recipient of the College’s award, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Woman-Owned Business Program was forwarded to the League for Innovation in the Community College for national recognition in a program that is designed to showcase innovation at America’s community colleges.
Other projects nominated for the College’s 2012 Innovation of the Year at the College include: Upward Bound; Student Athlete Academic Success Program; Peer Mentor Program; On-Demand Publishing through Blurb.com; Betzwood Digital Archive; Electronic Form Implementation; and Integrated Transportation System.