Supporting multicultural entrepreneurs

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

The Multicultural Entrepreneurship Program in a Colorado community will support non-English-language speakers and boosts regional economic development.

Colorado’s Morgan Community College (MCC)—and the community it serves—are working on a new program to remove barriers around language for local entrepreneurs.

MCC plans to launch a Multicultural Entrepreneurship Program to provide support for Spanish- and Somali-speaking individuals interested in opening or expanding their businesses, and who may need help accessing education or community supports. The program is being referred to as the Morgan County Cultural Entrepreneurship Initiative (MCCEI). It was developed with community and regional partners, including Morgan County Economic Development Corporation, OneMorgan County, Fort Morgan Cultures United for Progress and International Association for Refugees.

With grant funding from The Colorado Health Foundation, MCC will hire two faculty members to provide instruction to Spanish- and Somali-speaking students. Funding also will help supplement tuition for these students.

The Multicultural Entrepreneurship Program will focus on one-year certificates based on the immediate needs of the student, including rural business entrepreneurship, financial analysis, market plan development, records and business planning, and leadership/human resources management.

Funding will also be provided to community resources to offer training about cultural responsiveness to community agencies.  Other organizations will provide translation support, referrals and resources to students and other non-English speaking entrepreneurs.

“We know that so many people dream of owning their own businesses, and the process and steps to be successful are challenging if language is a barrier,” MCC President Curt Freed said in a release. “The Multicultural Entrepreneurship Program was developed to meet students where they are, remove those language barriers, and help promote individual success and regional economic development.”

Other innovative programs

Community colleges all over are adding programs to help non-English-language speakers prepare for success in the workforce. These programs go beyond just English as a second language courses. At Southern Maine Community College, a shortage of EMTs sparked a training program for immigrants. Read about that here.

And the Skills and Opportunity for the New American Workforce program bridges the gap between workers seeking to boost English proficiency and employers seeking to enhance workers’ skills and retain and promote a diverse workforce. Learn about that here.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.