BELLEVUE, WASH. – Bellevue Community College has won a national Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Collaboration Award for 2004 from the Community College National Center of Community Engagement.
Service learning is an educational approach that combines classroom instruction with community service to develop critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility.
Although service learning is incorporated into many BCC classes, the award came in recognition of a course entitled “Multicultural Entrepreneurship and Consulting,” which connects consulting teams of BCC students and advisors from large corporations with underserved minority- and women-owned small businesses.
The goal of the program is to enrich student learning by providing real and deep business experience, while also increasing the survival rates of minority- and women-owned businesses.
Students help their clients with such things as planning expansion to new markets, developing targeted marketing strategies, making new business contacts and developing e-commerce opportunities.
The program operates in collaboration with the Bellevue Entrepreneur Center, a resource for minority- and women-owned small businesses on the Eastside, and the Small Business Development Center, as one of their primary resources for clients.
The successful involvement of BCC students in consulting projects through the Center has resulted in expansion of the program to include consulting teams from the University of Washington-Bothell and City University.
Since the course began two years ago, BCC students have provided more than 3,000 consulting hours to area small businesses. Typically, individual students contribute 400 to 600 hours of work to the 10-week project. Businesses assisted include several owned by immigrants from Russia, China, India, and Iran.
Mentors for BCC student projects include individuals from The Boeing Company, the Port of Seattle, Washington Federal International Bank and Frank Russell Company.
The course was developed by BCC Business Instructor Leslie Lum, based on a model created by the University of Washington Business and Economic Development Program.
The Bellevue Entrepreneur Center, housed on the BCC campus, is a joint project of the University of Washington-Bothell, Bellevue Community College, City University, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, the City of Bellevue, King County, Eastside Commercial Bank, KeyBank, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Community Capital Development, the Port of Seattle and the Northwest Entrepreneur’s Network.