New River Community and Technical College is one of five community colleges across the nation chosen to host one-day training sessions this year to promote the growth of entrepreneurship education in their regions.
The events are sponsored by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, or NACCE, the nation's leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges.
The NACCE Summit will take place Nov. 21 at the New River Community and Technical College Advanced Technology Center in Ghent.
The five colleges selected to host the summits were chosen through a competition that sought to identify colleges that could host regional events focused on an interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship education and creating connections with local entrepreneurs.
Other colleges hosting these summits are: Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, NC; Ridgewater College, Willmar, Minn; Rio Salado Community College, Tempe, Ariz.; and Miami-Dade College, Miami, Fla.
Jill Holliday, instructor of entrepreneurship at New River, helped bring the summit to Ghent. Her article, "Relating Maslow's Hierarchy to the Entrepreneurial Psyche," appears in the Summer/Fall issue of the NACCE's magazine, Community College Entrepreneurship.
Holliday said the Summit at the center will address three strategies suggested in the 2012 Vision Shared Report, "Entrepreneurial Revolution: A Vision for Entrepreneurial Growth in West Virginia."
"Our sessions will address ways to make West Virginia a more encouraging environment for entrepreneurial innovation, including helping the public understand why entrepreneurship is so important, increasing networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and strengthening entrepreneurs' connections to higher education institutions," Holliday explained.
Holliday said according to the 2011 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, West Virginia exhibited the lowest entrepreneurial activity rate, with 150 per 100,000 people starting new businesses each month. She said this is why more business development resources need to be brought to smaller communities.
"We will be looking at ways to help the public understand why entrepreneurship is so important," she said. "Across the nation, entrepreneurship advocates struggle with this. It is important for us, as educators, to deliver our information in a new and creative way."
Throughout the day, small displays will be set-up showing a different creative avenue for teaching an entrepreneurial concept.
"We will look at the concept of teaching entrepreneurship beyond the traditional classroom setting," Holliday said. "Innovators should learn in an innovative environment. We will look at ways we can help reach out to our smaller, rural communities and offer networking opportunities for the entrepreneurs living in those communities.
"The issues we will be examining that are targeted to the rural nature of West Virginia can be applied to the other rural areas in our country."
"Each regional summit will bring together key stakeholders who are essential in building sustainable, high-impact entrepreneurship programs at community colleges and the areas they serve," said NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle. "As part of each gathering, attendees will have the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurially-minded colleagues, share best practices, and gain core skills that enable them to implement the five action steps of NACCE's Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge.
"Through the pledge, over 180 community college presidents across the country have committed to helping individuals and families achieve their personal and business dreams."