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.

Entrepreneurial Meet Up Group Looks For Members In Mid-Mon Valley

Editor’s note:  A reader sent in this request – if you are interested, contact Rick.

I’m trying to start an entrepreneur meet up in the Charleroi, PA area.  Looking for people interested in joining me.  I can be contacted at 724-992-8695.
Rick

Free Online Resource Helps Aspiring Entrepreneurs Gain Crucial Business Skills

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Aspiring entrepreneurs can conveniently learn the nuts and bolts of starting a business thanks to a new, online program developed by Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) for the Pennsylvania Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives Collaborative. The program can be accessed online at BEresource.com.

“Starting Your Own Business” is a free, self-paced program through which learners explore five modules on topics such as business basics, financial and legal considerations, and marketing, as well as an in-depth case study. The final module of the program guides learners through the process of developing a customized business plan.

“In today’s market, entrepreneurial spirit is more than being a business owner. Employers increasingly expect employees to think entrepreneurially when developing ideas and solving problems,” shared Philip Needles, dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at MCCC.

Learners who successfully finish the program and business plan will earn a proof of completion certificate and may be eligible to earn three credits at MCCC through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Other colleges and universities may also evaluate the completed course and business plan for possible PLA credit toward one of their respective programs.

PLA is the process used by many institutions to determine if an individual’s prior educational, workforce and life experiences can be translated to college credits. Assessments can include evaluation of military or corporate training, review of portfolios, customized tests, and evaluation of completed non-credit courses, among others.

The “Starting Your Own Business” project is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant, and is part of a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.

The program is open source and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To learn more about the project and its designers, visit BEresouce.com or contact Denise Collins at 215-619-7313 or dcollins@mc3.edu.

Seizing The Moment: Ajay Raju Thinks Philly’s On The Verge Of Greatness

English: no original description

English: no original description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN IN INDIA – made in America, Ajay Raju likes to say.

He might not be a household name in Philadelphia, but drop it around any of the power brokers who make this city churn like a giant waterwheel and you’ve just made a friend.

He’s not in the Kennedy class yet, but Raju’s name is – and has been – getting a lot of traction.

He serves on more than a dozen nonprofit boards, gives his money away unabashedly to philanthropic causes and is constantly mulling the next big idea, such as a proposed online, citizen-based journalism project with former Daily News editor Larry Platt.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20140819_Seizing_the_moment__Ajay_Raju_thinks_Philly_s_on_the_verge_of_greatness.html#TrmQ1scDqCWpYTQc.99

Popular ‘Starting A Successful Woman-Owned Business’ Series Returns To MCCC

Blue Bell, Pa.—Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) popular “Starting a Successful Woman-Owned Business” series during a free open house on Tuesday, Sept. 2, from 7-8 p.m. The open house will be held in Parkhouse Hall room 129 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. RSVP to Marge Philippsen at 215-641-6374 or mphilipp@mc3.edu.

“Staring a Successful Woman-Owned Business” is a 12-week certificate program designed to encourage women to develop their business ideas into a roadmap for success. Taught by a successful woman entrepreneur, the program enables participants to get practical knowledge about what it takes to make it as a business owner while being exposed to subject-matter experts across a wide range of business topics. Participants will also go through a business planning process and will receive course certification upon successful completion of a business plan.

The fall installment of the biannual series begins Sept. 9 and continues on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 p.m. through Nov. 25. The cost, including textbooks, is $495.

To learn more, visit mc3.edu/academics, select Areas of Study, Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, then Career Training Programs.

New Boutique Launches On West Philadelphia Street In Downtown York

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We like this story because of the entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by the owner and the fact that downtown York is pulling itself up by the bootstraps, one new business at a time.

The summer after earning a college degree, most newly minted grads spend their time getting ready to head off to graduate school or hunting for a job.

Not Zarah Brooks.

Two months after graduating from York College in May with a public relations degree, the 23-year-old Manchester Township resident opened her own business – a women’s clothing boutique in downtown York.

With its wood floors, loose-fitting, bohemian clothes and industrial feel — the dresses and tops hang from metal pipes affixed to the walls — Indigo Bleu could be just at home in New York’s Soho district as it is on York’s increasingly hip West Philadelphia Street.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_26189406/new-boutique-launches-west-philadelphia-street

Going It Alone: America’s Top 15 Hubs For Solo Entrepreneurs

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  A big congrats to Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third largest city and metropolitan area, for being the only Pennsylvania city on the list.  Big things are going on in the Lehigh Valley, making us Pennsylvania Proud :).

Solopreneurs (a mash-up of the words “solo” and “entrepreneurs”) may freelance, consult, coach, offer services or sell products. The defining characteristic is that whatever they do, they do it without the help of a single employee. And that means they do everything, from product design to marketing to customer service, whether it’s fun or not.

$1 Trillion in Revenue
No matter what they make, sell or do, solopreneurs are becoming more common. In 2012, the latest year for which data is available, the U.S. economy had a total of 22.7 million solo businesses, a gain of almost 245,000 from 2011. Those businesses had total revenue of $1 trillion (yep, trillion) in 2012, up from $41.3 billion in 2011.

These statistics made us wonder. Where is solopreneurship especially popular? Where is it boosting the local economy? Where are solopreneurs reaping the most financial rewards?

See the list and read more: http://blog.sparefoot.com/6384-top-places-for-solo-entrepreneurs/