The Hillsborough Community College Entrepreneurship Program Secures a $250,000 Seed Fund From The E

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has received a $250,000 grant from the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund (EEVF). The EEVF grant will be used to fund and support HCC student entrepreneurs’ start-up businesses, including one year of concentrated business mentoring to ensure rapid success.

The mission of the EEVF is to launch committed community college entrepreneurs into business, with a focus on community-based startups, scale-ups of existing alumni businesses, and the implementation of proven, replicable business models.

The grant award was based on HCC’s work with community-based entrepreneurs and serves as a testament to the quality and growth of the entrepreneurship program and its faculty. Grant funds are limited to current students and recent alumni. The EEVF grant is the first venture fund grant in the state of Florida to be used exclusively to launch small community-based entrepreneurs and will be administered through the HCC Foundation.

“Hillsborough Community College is grateful for the grant award from the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund to assist our student entrepreneurs with their business goals,” stated Dr. Ken Atwater, HCC president. “HCC’s entrepreneurial program is flourishing much like the Tampa Bay entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

“We are excited to be recognized for the amazing work being done by HCC to change the lives of students through entrepreneurship,” stated Beth Kerly, HCC business instructor and co-founder of HCC’s entrepreneurship program. The grant will include a strong community engagement component from planning through well after business launch with mentors and matching funds coming from the local business community.

“We are pleased to partner with HCC based on their successful efforts to provide their student entrepreneurs with business planning, venture financing and post-launch community mentoring as part of their entrepreneurship and innovation program,” stated Chip Weismiller of the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund. “The grant award will also continue their great work with community-based entrepreneurs and will cultivate new business talent in the Tampa Bay area.”

Grant recipients will be required to complete one of the following academic modules at HCC: 1) A 12-credit college credit certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation; 2) a 25-credit college credit certificate in business development and innovation; 3) an associate in arts degree – entrepreneurship transfer track; or 4) an associate in science degree in business administration.

The EEVF is a million dollar venture fund to provide seed grants to four community college foundations for community-based new business startups. In addition to HCC, the EEVF has awarded three similar grants this year to Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY; Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA; and Wayne State Community College in Detroit, MI. For more information contact Beth Kerly ( and/or Andy Gold (

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