Five Maryland Community Colleges Join National Entrepreneurship Forum

The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has announced that five Maryland community colleges have joined its new Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum. Through the program, presidents of community colleges throughout the country commit to increase the focus on entrepreneurship at their institutions and the impact these colleges have on the economic well being of the communities they serve.

The Forum is in response to the Startup America Partnership, a White House initiative to stimulate economic growth state by state by encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. NACCE is a founding affiliate of the Startup American Partnership, an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders. To date, over 100 community college presents have joined NACCE’s Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum.

The Maryland community college presidents who have joined the forum are: Marty Smith, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold; Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College, Wye Mills; Richard MacLennan, Garrett College, McHenry; Kathleen Hetherington, Howard Community College, Columbia; and Charlene Dukes, Prince George’s Community College, Largo.

“NACCE serves as a nexus for community college entrepreneurial resources, and AACC is pleased to participate in this exciting new forum,” said Dr. Martha A. Smith, Anne Arundel Community College president. “AACC has a robust entrepreneurial program that includes a comprehensive array of courses, institutional resources for potential future business owners, and business incubator space for students who currently have their own businesses. We are so proud of our students and their entrepreneurial enterprises. Through a broader partnership within NACCE, AACC is well-positioned to continue its strong support of our students and their developing businesses, which contributes to a sustained economic recovery for the business community and throughout our county.”

“As a national organization supporting entrepreneurship development, NACCE touches the lives of students and community members across the country,” said Ron Thomas, NACCE board chairman and president of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount MN. “NACCE has an obligation to lead the way in providing assistance to entrepreneurship education programs, which are an essential part of the economic recovery at local, regional, national and global levels.”

According to NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle, the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum is a way for community colleges to advance entrepreneurship and create jobs across the country. The Forum was launched at the While House in January 2011 and works to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of American entrepreneurs. Community college presidents who join the Forum make five commitments:

• Develop transparency of community college and community assets

• Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship

• Increase entrepreneurs’ engagement in community colleges

• Engage in industry cluster development

• Create broad exposure to their college’s commitment to entrepreneurship.

“The five commitments were developed based on NACCE’s observations of what was working best on member campuses,” said Van Sickle. “After observing the entrepreneurship-related activities of our members over a period of years, we started to see commonalities among the more successful institutions,” she said. “One of the major things that clearly makes a difference is the commitment by leadership to entrepreneurship. So we want to put something in front of leadership that they can actually commit to. We want to create a national network of institutions sharing these commitments and see what impact that can have on communities.”


The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished business development professionals providing quality programs and services in entrepreneurship education and serving as advocates for “entrepreneurship movement.” Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars and podcasts, a dynamic list-serv, and other resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These programs and courses advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges. For more information about the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, or to join NACCE, visit Follow NACCE on Twitter at @NACCE and like the NACCE – National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship page on Facebook.