Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center Offers Array of Resources for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Miami – The Miami Dade College (MDC) Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center is offering an array of training and business resource programs for current and aspiring entrepreneurs during the spring and summer terms.

Registration for the spring 2011 mini-term is underway and summer enrollment begins on March 7, 2011.

“The Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, now entering its 21st year, was created to support entrepreneurs,” said H. Leigh Toney, executive director of the Center. “And now, more than ever, we are reaching out to entrepreneurs to provide them with the support needed to reinvent their businesses, increase their competitiveness, and be prepared for success in this dynamic economic.”

The Meek Center serves more than 3,500 students annually and is the hub for the College’s entrepreneurial activities. “The country is telling entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves and to focus on innovation and in order to help them, the Meek Center is rolling out many special programs customized for entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Jose A. Vicente, president, MDC North Campus.

Wells Fargo Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative

President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address highlighted the story of the Allen Brothers. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. Hit hard by the recession, half of their factory space was idle. The brothers could either limp along with non-revenue generating space, or they could take another approach. They chose the latter and with the help of a government loan, their formerly empty space was transformed to begin the manufacturing of solar shingles that are being sold across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

Reinvention is the focus of the Miami Dade College Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center’s Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative, a new partnership with Wells Fargo. A $30,000 contribution from the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation will be utilized to grow future entrepreneurs, to support existing entrepreneurs in reinventing their businesses with a focus on innovation, and to partner with business support and research organizations and Chambers of Commerce to provide more strategic services to their business constituents.

“As strong supporters of our communities and their financial success, we’re pleased to partner with Miami Dade College and its Microentrepreneur Initiative,” said Kathryn Dinkin, Wachovia’s Southeast Florida regional president. “As the No. 1 small business lender in Florida, Wachovia is confident that with the right tools, South Florida’s entrepreneurs will build a successful tomorrow.”

The Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative (UMI), housed at the Meek Center, targets three core groups:

The Future: UMI will partner with Miami Edison Senior High School to train and support high school students in the basics of entrepreneurship. Selected students will enroll in college entrepreneurship courses that teach the basics of marketing, management, entrepreneurship and e-commerce. A small number of students will be selected for “start-up” grants to help them launch businesses.

The Doers: Open to eligible MDC students and small business owners in the Liberty City, Little Haiti and Brownsville/Gladeview communities, UMI will provide training and consultation for small to mid-size businesses focused on capacity-building and strategic growth, emphasizing Green business strategies and other new market opportunities.

The Enablers: UMI will partner with business advocacy, Chambers and research organizations to help identify business development priorities and strengthen member services. In addition to customized training opportunities, participants will be eligible for scholarship funding, consultation services, prizes and other services.

Applications for the program will be available in mid-February and an advisory committee of local business owners, Chamber officials and MDC faculty members will select participants for the UMI Entrepreneurs’ Cohort at the high school and adult levels.

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