Local Entrepreneurs Make Pitch For Start-Up Funding At Montgomery County Community College

Jennifer Green (on stage, right) and service dog Echo are joined by Christina Finello (on stage, left) to make their pitch for start-up funding for Alpha Bravo Canine to the panel of judges Tuesday at Montgomery County Community College.

Blue Bell, PA — Jennifer Green doubled over in her chair, breathing rapidly with her hand to her face. Echo, a 16-month-old chocolate lab, recognized the signs of a panic attack and sprang into action, nuzzling his owner’s hand and climbing onto her lap to apply pressure to her chest to help calm her down.

Green, however, wasn’t really having a panic attack, she was demonstrating the training Echo received to assist military veterans suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The demonstration was part of her pitch to receive up to $20,000 in funding for her non-profit business, Alpha Bravo Canine.

Alpha Bravo Canine was one of six start-up businesses which made their pitch for funding to a panel of judges on Tuesday at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell as part of the Karen A. Stout Start-Up Accelerator Fund, named for the College’s former president.

Now in its second year, the Fund provides fledging businesses with much-needed capital to help take them to the next level in their business development. The Fund is run by the Montgomery County Community College Foundation and the College’s Division of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives.

After giving their presentation, the entrepreneurs faced questions from a panel of judges that included Jay Bown, president of Industrial Investments, Inc. of Blue Bell; Bob Rosenthal, partner in the real estate firm of Envision Land Use in Wayne; Gaetan Giannini, dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at MCCC; Arline Stephan, vice president for Institutional Advancement at MCCC; and Phil Needles, vice president of Student Services at MCCC.

Josh Hoffman, co-founder of Game Plan, a mobile-app that helps people make personalized group decisions on where to dine, pitched his business to the panel and said he was very pleased with the feedback and advice he received.

“I thought it went pretty well,” Hoffman said. “When you get me up there, that’s what gives me energy.”

“Having their feedback is crucial for us growing and understanding what we need to work on,” Green said. “We appreciate the opportunity to do this no matter the outcome.”

That outcome will be determined in the next few weeks as the judges review each entrepreneur’s presentation and proposal and make decisions about funding. After receiving funding, those businesses will continue to work with the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies to set key milestones and deliverables in the start-up of their business and to monitor their progress and outcomes.

Other business making pitches to the judges on Tuesday included Cryten, Inc., which provides information technology staffing and recruitment services to organizations; NeuroFlow, a software solution which promises to change the way we see brain health; Reentry USA, a reentry database for ex-offenders which promises to help reduce recidivism and improve public safety; and iCareQuality.us, which develops scalable, open source technology to advance the science of the healthcare industry.

“This Fund is about identifying and working with start-ups with strong potential and helping them grow and prosper so they can have a greater impact on Montgomery County and the region,” Stephan said.

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MCCC Pilot ‘Start-Up Accelerator Fund’ Provides Cash Awards For Aspiring Entrepreneurs‏

Blue Bell, Pa.—This spring, the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Foundation and the College’s Division of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives will pilot an exciting program designed to support and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Karen A. Stout Start-Up Accelerator Fund, named after MCCC President Emerita Karen Stout, will allow qualifying entrepreneurs to compete for cash awards to help them launch or grow their business ventures. The pilot is funded by a generous, anonymous donation up to $100,000, which will be used to fund cash awards in May and October.

“The Start-Up Accelerator Fund is designed to assist those entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their ventures, but who don’t have viable access to other funding sources,” explained Philip Needles, interim vice president of student affairs, who is overseeing the program. “It’s open to all entrepreneurs in the region, and we especially invite military veterans and participants from MCCC’s Women-Owned Business Network and Certificate in Entrepreneurship program to apply.”

Interested entrepreneurs should submit their business plans online at mc3.edu/startup by March 30, 2016. Qualifying applicants will then be invited pitch their business concepts to a review team at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, in May.

Select entrepreneurs will be awarded between $1,000 and $20,000 to help launch their business ventures. Those recipients will work with MCCC’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and community mentors to set key milestones and deliverables and to monitor progress and outcomes.

MCCC will offer second round of funding in October to complete the pilot year. For information, visit mc3.edu/startup.

Montgomery County Community College Receives $2 Million For Workforce Development Programs

Represents largest private gift ever to the College

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) announced the receipt of the largest private gift in its history—$2 million from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)—during a celebration on Jan. 30. Making the announcement were (from left) Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh; MCCC Nursing student Mis Kulsum; MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout; MCCC Engineering Science student Nick Silva; Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro; and MCCC Board of Trustees Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) announced the receipt of the largest private gift in its history—$2 million from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)—during a celebration on Jan. 30. Making the announcement were (from left) Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh; MCCC Nursing student Mis Kulsum; MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout; MCCC Engineering Science student Nick Silva; Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro; and MCCC Board of Trustees Chairman Michael J. D’Aniello. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.—The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) presented a check today for $ 2 million to Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), the largest private gift ever given to the College.

The $2 million gift will establish an endowment within the College’s Foundation. Annual interest from the endowment will fund workforce development programs and scholarships for students pursuing high-demand industries that support the continued prosperity of the County and its citizens.

“This is a gift that will keep on giving,” said Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “The gift provides important new dollars to ensure student access to education and training programs that build the workforce pipeline in key areas.”

The gift comes as the result of an April 24, 2014 vote by the MCEDC Board of Trustees to dissolve the private, independent nonprofit organization and distribute some of its assets to the Montgomery County Development Corporation (MCDC) and the College to create efficiency in the administration of the County’s economic development programs. The selection of the College as a recipient of these funds reflects the College’s strong relationships with the County and business community as well as its past success in workforce development.

MCEDC has requested that the College leverage its gift by raising an additional $2 million in matching funds.

The endowment created by the MCEDC gift and matching funds from the challenge will support workforce projects at the College such as:

  • Seed money for new programs and student scholarships in critical health sciences fields and other high-demand industries such as culinary arts, entrepreneurship, biotechnology, information technology, and environmental studies;
  • Funding for innovative incumbent worker training to attract and retain businesses in the County; and
  • Stipends for books, transportation, and childcare for veterans pursuing their education in high-demand or STEM fields, or for use of the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies incubator to start a business.

“Montgomery County is strongest when we create an atmosphere to promote job growth, while at the same time having well-trained individuals to fill those positions,” said Josh Shapiro, chair of the County Board of Commissioners.  “The generosity of MCEDC and the proven ability of Montgomery County Community College to create programs to answer the needs of its students and our workforce will help ensure a bright economic future for our county.”

“The MCEDC gift sets a great example we can build on,” Stout added. “We know that our tuition, while affordable, is not within financial reach for some residents in our area. For a long time, our focus was not on private fundraising. By establishing a tradition of philanthropy, Montgomery County Community College can achieve even greater progress in our workforce development efforts.”

To address the nearly $20 million in unmet student financial needs, the College launched the $9 million Futures Rising Campaign in November, during its 50th Anniversary year. This first-ever comprehensive campaign is designed to support student success, beginning with scholarships that broaden access to this education. The MCEDC gift is the largest the Campaign has received.

The gift recognizes the longstanding productive relationship between the County and the College and their joint ability to align training to business needs. One of only 50 institutions in the nation to offer training through the Global Corporate College international network, MCCC’s Center for Workforce Development partners with dozens of businesses annually to provide training.

The College recently added a Pennsylvania Real Estate Pre-licensing Fast Track Program and a Medical Office Assistant course, in addition to new certificate programs in Fall 2014 in the high-demand occupations of Biotechnology/ Biomanufacturing, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, and an expanded Dental certificate. Currently under development are training programs for Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants.

About Montgomery County Community College

Since its founding in 1964, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational and workforce development needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes 100+ associate degree/certificate programs, as well as specialized workforce development training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, online through an extensive array of e-Learning options, and at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. The College also offers first-responder training programs at the Public Safety Training Campus in Conshohocken. Supporting its mission to offer high-quality, affordable and accessible educational opportunities, the College is funded by the County, the State, student tuition and private contributions. Governed by a 15-person Board of Trustees appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners, the College is fully accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu