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One of the best strategies for pulling out of the longest, deepest recession of our time is to enable broad-based innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s why we’re partnering with Spokane Community College (SCC) to extend their unique entrepreneurship program to other colleges throughout the region we serve. The Avista Business Entrepreneurship Network, in partnership with SCC and up to four other regional community colleges, will provide a continuum of education and ongoing support for budding entrepreneurs in Avista’s service territory. This network leverages the successful curriculum established by the Avista Center for Entrepreneurship at SCC in 2007. To date, three additional community colleges have agreed to participate in the network and create entrepreneurship programs modeled after SCC, including Rogue Community College (Medford, Ore.), North Idaho College (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho), and Walla Walla Community College-Clarkston (Wash.).

The partnership created by the Avista Business Entrepreneurship Network will engage more people, leverage more resources, and accelerate quicker outcomes for greater impact in business development and job creation. Much like our investments to assure reliable energy delivery for our customers, this network is an investment in our region’s future prosperity.

The Avista Center for Entrepreneurship at each participating college will receive an investment of $100,000 over three years to support the initial implementation of the program. These funds come from profits that Avista is allowed to earn and are not included in customer rates. Each college foundation will pledge matching dollars to help ensure the long-term financial sustainability of their respective program. SCC faculty will facilitate the curriculum development process with involvement from members of the Business Entrepreneurship Network.

In addition, Avista will create a micro-enterprise loan fund for students who successfully complete the program and create new businesses. Each college will also participate in recruiting a cadre of mentors, advisors and professional services providers who will provide ongoing business support. The SCC program is graduating its fifth class this June. The first classes in each of the other Avista Centers for Entrepreneurship are expected to begin in the fall of 2013.

Posted by  System Account  on  5/24/2012
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