The Institute for Community College Development (ICCD) has awarded Dakota County Technical College Associate Dean of Business and Entrepreneurship Christine Pigsley a $5,000 Applied Research Grant to collaborate with non-profit micro-enterprise organizations to design programs for women entrepreneurs.
The goal of the grant will be achieved through a collaborative relationship with Women Venture, a non-profit U.S. Small Business Administration women’s business center located in Saint Paul, Minn., to explore the integration of micro-enterprise methodology into its traditional entrepreneurship curriculum to create a women-focused curriculum. It is hoped that be doing this, both successful completion rates and the potential for successful business starts or growth will increase.
While this collaboration is not unique, the research that will be conducted beforehand to develop this programming is such. Pigsley has 15 years of experience in the non-profit business and development arena and will lead a research team of experienced academic leaders and micro-enterprise experts that will help guide the college in its on-going development of the business entrepreneur program and produce a set of recommendations that can provide insight across the two-year college entrepreneurship environment for program development serving women entrepreneurs.
Pigsley’s rationale for seeking such a grant came from statistics seen on female entrepreneurs. In 2002, the National Women’s Business Council reported that there are an estimated 15.6 million women-business owners in the US and between 1997 and 2002, an average of 424 new women-owned businesses started every day in this country. With that kind of a base in existence and such significant growth, Pigsley knew there was a need to be filled.
“As community and technical colleges, we must respond quickly to the needs of the local business community. Women entrepreneurs are a growing segment of the student population in the business discipline and institutions such as DCTC are working to both effectively and appropriately meet their individual needs. The goal of the research project is to identify a customized and economically viable entrepreneurship education program for women entrepreneurs,” said Pigsley.