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Hillman Entrepreneurs Program Challenges, Impact On A Diverse Population, And Early Outcomes

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Learning from Entrepreneurship Programs

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.668.1 - 13.668.18



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Paper Authors

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Karen Thornton University of Maryland

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Jacqueline Rogers University of Maryland (Retired)

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Nathan Myers University of Maryland


Monica Neukomm University of Maryland

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Monica Neukomm is pursing a master's in public policy at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy with a focus on energy security and global climate change issues. She also works as a graduate assistant with the University of Maryland's Office of Executive Programs (OEP), as an evaluator of the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program.

Prior to attending the University of Maryland, Monica spent two years teaching fourth grade in Baltimore as a Teach for America corps member. After her teaching commitment, she moved to the American Institutes for Research where she worked with Department of Education clients on several research and evaluation projects.

Monica holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Oregon

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


The University of Maryland (UM), Prince George’s Community College (PGCC), and a generous donor and community stakeholder, the David H. and Suzanne D. Hillman Family Foundation, have partnered to create the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program. This innovative program identifies non-traditional students with demonstrated entrepreneurial aptitude and supports them with mentoring, tuition assistance, and rich social and educational programming designed to develop these students into successful entrepreneurs and community leaders. Students may pursue any academic major with the goal of completing a bachelor’s degree at UM after earning their associate’s degree at PGCC. Thus far, students are engaged in a diverse set of studies, representing interests ranging from the sciences to education. At PGCC the program is housed in the business division, and at UM the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), a unit in the Clark School of Engineering, manages the program. Being housed in both a business and engineering department offers students a collaborative and broad perspective toward entrepreneurship that combines the two departments’ strengths.

This program can already point to many successes, but there have been programmatic shifts to adjust for lessons learned about the depth of some students’ challenges – and the challenges involved in developing a new model for entrepreneurship education.

This paper addresses program experiences and lessons learned in five critical areas:

Screening and selection of Hillman Entrepreneurs; The transfer process; Building community; Adaptation and documentation; Leveraging resources.

Its intent is to provide insight for other educators seeking to create durable bridges between community colleges and major public universities.


The Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is an innovative educational initiative that provides a platform of experiences and support designed to help promising entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneurial skills, earn a four-year college degree, and start or lead a business. The program model is targeted to students who have not necessarily been high performers academically, but who show signs of success and demonstrate entrepreneurial drive.

In Fall 2006, an Advisory Board was formed to facilitate communications between the institutions contributing to the Hillman Entrepreneurs and to provide guidance and oversight regarding the program’s implementation. The Advisory Board comprises the daughter of the donors and three representatives of each institution: the Program Director from each institution, a

Thornton, K., & Rogers, J., & Myers, N., & Neukomm, M. (2008, June), Hillman Entrepreneurs Program Challenges, Impact On A Diverse Population, And Early Outcomes Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3754

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