As a lifelong entrepreneur and new faculty member arriving at HCC in August 2012, I was excited to discover the depth of the entrepreneurial spirit imbedded within the college. At its core, entrepreneurship is concentrated on solving problems with innovative value-added solutions. There are many individuals involved in developing and implementing entrepreneurial initiatives at HCC in general and at the Dale Mabry Campus specifically. Last semester, two faculty members (Linda Tarrago and Beth Kerly) asked me if I would join them to help coach a team of students that would be entering a business pitch competition. I happily accepted and was amazed at the commitment our students had with the process.
On Halloween day 2012, while many of you were preparing for a ghoulish night of entertainment, two students (Candice Mitchell and Kathy Nguyen) from the Business Leadership Club (BLC) competed in a “shark tank” business pitch event at the University of Tampa. The business idea these students presented was for an on-campus copy and print center, aptly named “Student Run”. There were over 50 people at the event, comprised of business leaders, bankers and educators.
Hillsborough Community College was the only community college represented at the competition, and our students rose to the occasion, finishing in second place. By far, this was one of my most joyful moments at HCC thus far. After the event, Candice Mitchell said
“It was a chance for us to practice our creativity, public speaking, and critical thinking skills. It was an amazing real world experience. I had never presented in front of an unfamiliar audience. It was a bit frightful but once I got the audience to laugh, I relaxed a little. It was an overwhelming good feeling to receive such great feedback after the presentation. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.”
Moving forward, the business faculty is exploring a new entrepreneurship certificate program and students from the BLC are working on several exciting events related to entrepreneurship and innovation. Look out for more exciting events and join the entrepreneurial momentum building at HCC.
Article written by: Candice Mitchell and Andy Gold