This entrepreneur business concept demonstrates student entrepreneurs.

College launches start-up accelerator for student entrepreneurs


Through classes and workshops, student entrepreneurs will have assistance as they aim to get newly-created businesses off the ground

A Maryland community college is gearing up to launch a start-up business accelerator for student entrepreneurs.

Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education (WDCE) Program will offer a program for budding entrepreneurs in Montgomery County (MD) to gain start-up business resources and get newly created businesses registered.

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The college joins others around the nation that support local start-ups and student entrepreneurs. For example, the University of Cincinnati recently opened up its Venture Lab to students and staff from nearby institutions.

Montgomery College’s program, named LaunchCamp, starts April 7 and is a 12-week sprint for entrepreneurial-minded students to turn their ideas into registered businesses with identified customers.

Funded through the Montgomery College Foundation Innovation Fund, this start-up business accelerator is an easy-to-apply program that requires just a 1-page business plan, called the Lean Canvas.

Created by Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard, and funded by the Webber Family Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and private donations, the Montgomery College Foundation’s Innovation Fund provides support for innovative projects at Montgomery College that will have a sustainable impact on helping students succeed in meeting their educational goals.

WDCE Program Director Liz Sepulveda and faculty member Gil Perkins will be the program coordinator and lead faculty responsible for evaluating applicants and instruction of the program classes. Perkins has been with the College since the fall of 2018 and has also designed and taught the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate Program for WDCE. He is a Harvard Kennedy School graduate having earned a Master of Public Administration as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto.

“The students in our entrepreneurship program are diverse, talented and ready to take the next step in business start-up. This program is designed to provide resources, guidance, and structure that helps unleash their creativity and business acumen, while giving them the resources to push ahead with start-up,” Sepulveda says. “At Montgomery College, specifically in Workforce Development, we’ve been intent on extending quality programming to those in our community who have business ideas with the potential of creating a positive impact in our county and beyond.”

The structure of the LaunchCamp start-up accelerator will be two class meetings in the evenings during the work week, and one workshop session over the weekend. Over the tenure of the program, participants will get their corporate business structure registered with the county, gain access to accounting software, marketing software, branding and marketing copy support, participate in rapid prototyping, and conduct customer interviews.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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