By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Victor Valley College will soon offer courses in entrepreneurship, thanks in part to a pledge taken by 12 community colleges in the Inland Empire and desert region to support local startups and small businesses in their respective communities.
On Feb. 8, VVC Superintendent/President Dr. Daniel Walden signed the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge (PFEP) along with his 11 counterparts in the Inland Empire / Desert Region Consortium of community colleges (IEDRC). The signing event took place virtually, hosted by the partner organization, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).
The VVC Entrepreneurship Program is expected to begin course offerings in Fall 2021, and will “equip students with the necessary entrepreneurial mindset and practical skills to become successful in the ever-changing business environment,” according to Dr. Henry Young, VVC’s department chair for business administration and the academic senate president.
“Course offerings will include a multi-disciplinary approach to aid students with entrepreneurship creation and inspire the implementation of innovative ideas to support existing businesses,” Young said. “VVC’s Entrepreneurship coursework will positively influence students’ abilities to raise funds, develop and present funding proposals, and understand how to start a business with limited financial resources.”
The NACCE partnership and collaboration between the 12 regional colleges was coordinated by Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, the Regional Director of business and entrepreneurship for the IERC. The partnership allows the colleges to learn from, collaborate with and support each other in this endeavor.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with the presidents in this region for the past six and a half years. It’s been exciting to see the entrepreneurial work in progress made in our region,” Kiplinger-Kennedy said. “The pledge that these 12 presidents are making shows their commitment to entrepreneurship and I’m honored to partner with these colleges and presidents to advance entrepreneurship in our region.”
Dr. Rebecca Corbin, President & CEO of NACCE, congratulated the 12 college presidents for making the pledge, noting that more than 90 education leaders joined the virtual pledge signing ceremony, including California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development Sheneui Weber. The recording of the virtual event is available to watch on NACCE’s YouTube channel here.
“The spirit of innovation and collaboration among leaders looking to address current challenges and forging a path to a more inclusive hopeful future was inspiring,” Corbin said.
By signing the pledge, the presidents committed to five “action steps” to advance entrepreneurship in their communities and campuses, which include connecting with entrepreneurs in the community and collaborating with regional industries to create jobs and grow the local economy.
“We are engaged in a major cultural shift here at Victor Valley College to change the mindset of how we approach the college each day. How we come to work is not as employees — whether classified, faculty, staff or administrators — we come as entrepreneurs,” Dr. Walden said. “Entrepreneurship is about having passion for your work and having the mindset of growth, adaptation and a desire to succeed every day you come to work.”
The addition of an entrepreneurship program at VVC is applauded by Amber Scott, a 2019 VVC graduate and the CEO of +ME Brands LLC, a Victorville-based beauty and personal care retail brand.
“Victor Valley College is the front runner of education for miles when it comes to pursuing higher education opportunity goals,” Scott said. “The entrepreneurship program is a fantastic idea and will help propel the community economically by providing students with the ability to work for themselves and then be able to provide employment to others. The cycle of economic growth that stabilizes and transcends. That’s what I see happening from the overall outcome of this program.”
According to Young, the entrepreneurship certificate program is in the approval stage at the state level and is expected to roll out in Fall 2021. A few of the first courses to be offered include “Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset;” “Starting a Business for Entrepreneurs with Limited Resources;” and “Money, Finance and Accounting for Entrepreneurs.”
Plans are also in place for the development of an “Innovation Commons” space on VVC’s campus, said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Todd Scott.
Scott said the creation of this space is predicated on two key principles — having a makerspace and having a space designed for “collisions.”A “makerspace” in the education world is essentially a collaborative work area where students can explore their interests, use both physical and virtual tools and work on projects and ideas.
Designing a space for “collisions” to occur, as Scott explained, encourages random encounters and conversations between people who may not have otherwise connected.
“When these ‘collisions’ occur and ideas develop between people, the intent of the Innovation Commons is to provide a facility and tools necessary for these ideas to flourish,” Scott said.
Free, non-credit courses and community education courses for people of all ages will also be offered in the Innovation Commons, Scott said.
Those interested in learning more about the upcoming Entrepreneurship Program at Victor Valley College may contact Dr. Henry Young at Henry.Young@VVC.edu or (760) 245-4271 ext. 2487.