The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) has named South Mountain Community College (SMCC) one of five community college awardees of the inaugural Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge College of Excellence Award. SMCC received the honor for collaborating with the community to spur innovation and job creation.
One of Maricopa County Community College District’s (MCCCD) 10 colleges, SMCC is committed to entrepreneurial learning and connecting students to community resources. The opening of the Community Entrepreneurial Center in 2014 marked the inauguration of a co-learning space where student entrepreneurs collaborate with faculty, staff, and community partners. SMCC also sponsors the Student Venture Pitch competition in which competitors deliver a pitch to investor and entrepreneur judges for prizes and possible seed money.
In 2016, SMCC partnered with Arizona State University to offer Poder, a five-week social entrepreneurship training program that allows SMCC students to participate at no cost and learn to apply entrepreneurial skills to solve social issues. Since then, five MCCCD colleges have become involved in the Poder training program. Also recently, students from seven MCCCD colleges competed in the Cisco Innovation Challenge at ASU. SMCC offers certificates in Entrepreneurial Studies, Small Business Entrepreneurship, and Small Business Start-up.
Dr. Shari Olson, SMCC president, spoke about receiving the honor. “Over the past three years, SMCC has enhanced its commitment to entrepreneurship and grown our partnerships with non-profits and the business community to create greater opportunities for our students. The introduction of the Community Entrepreneurship Center has only enhanced the amazing work of our student and community entrepreneurs.” Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges agreed, stating, “The NACCE College of Excellence award recognizes our role in developing the business leaders of tomorrow, and is a validation of our efforts, as well as an inspiration for our students.”
NACCE, the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, announced the award winners during the NACCE Presidents’ and Chancellors’ Breakfast at the AACC Conference on April 24. In addition to being recognized at the conference, SMCC and the other awardees will be featured in NACCE’s quarterly journal, Community College Entrepreneurship.
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About South Mountain Community College
South Mountain Community College offers transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training. The main campus is located on Baseline Rd. and 24th St. in Phoenix. There are two satellite locations, the Guadalupe Center, and Laveen site. South Mountain Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.
About Maricopa Community Colleges
The Maricopa Community College District includes 10 regionally accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain, serving more than 200,000 students with two-year degree, certificate, and university transfer programs.