When community colleges break out of their traditional economic development roles, they can support innovation and entrepreneurship in ways no one thought was possible.
Innovation Fund America is a nonprofit partnering with community colleges to accelerate the growth of technology startups through early-stage funding and education.
Community colleges are ideal environments for innovation and entrepreneurship. We help colleges leverage their mission, partnerships, and capacity to launch Innovation Funds. These funds provide entrepreneurs the capital, mentoring and education they need to launch and grow new companies, all while inspiring the next generation of innovators.
Nearly a decade ago, the Lorain County Community College Foundation began raising money for a fund that would invest in Northeast Ohio startups before anyone else, with the purpose of education.
Entrepreneurs would learn at every step within the process and if they received funding, they would give back to the fund by educating the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Innovation Fund filled a void in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, giving founders a place to go for early-stage funding and mentoring. Its success caught the attention of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which awarded the Lorain County Community College Foundation $1 million to take the Innovation Fund model and see if it could be replicated at community colleges across the United States. The pilot phase identified and created the tools and resources necessary to launch Innovation Funds across the nation.
We know the power of partnerships. Our founding partners, Lorain County Community College and its Foundation, have relied on collaboration to make the first Innovation Fund a success.
Now it’s time for community colleges throughout the nation to break out of their economic development box and rise as leaders in technology-based startup funding and mentorship. We’re looking for partners who can help make that happen. Our partners will share a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation and an unrivaled confidence in community colleges’ abilities to support it.
Lorain County Community College
Lorain County Community College, a comprehensive community college serving more than 17,000 students annually, supports its community though the four cornerstones of its mission: educational, economic, cultural, and community growth. The college’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship has led to its emergence as a regional leader in economic development.
Lorain County Community College Foundation
The Lorain County Community College Foundation enhances its community member’s quality of life by investing in key Lorain County Community College priorities that present the greatest impact and growth opportunities for the people of our community. LCCC has been rated as one of Ohio’s top community colleges; its foundation provides the margin of excellence.