GI Entrepreneurship Center Open

February 24, 2022

People posing at ribbon-cutting ceremony.Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held recently at Community College-Grand Island’s new Entrepreneurship Center in downtown Grand Island. Would-be entrepreneurs who purchase a membership will have access to business coaching, workspace, a conference room and even a production studio for video or audio podcasts.

“Our goal is to help small businesses build and grow so that eventually they can be part of the community and contributing to the economic development of the community,” said Roxann Holliday, CCC dean of business and entrepreneurship. “This is just a way to help those businesses get more sure footing by providing that business mentorship.”

While the entrepreneurship center in Grand Island is new, CCC has operated entrepreneurship centers at its Columbus and Hastings campuses for many years. Maggie Esch, CCC regional entrepreneurship director, has directed the Hastings center since 2020 but she has been coaching business owners for quite a while through other organizations. Esch said one of the things that people who utilize the business coaching services at the entrepreneurship center will receive is a solid overview of what is required to open a business.

“There is truly so much that isn’t figured out yet,” Esch said. “You have the idea. You have maybe some basic startup costs. You have maybe a location picked out. However, there is so much more to building a business.”

Sara Bennett has been selected to serve as the center’s director and brings several years of experience to the position. She comes to CCC after more than a decade of service as the associate director of the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Bennett’s expertise is in small business development and innovation. Both areas will be valuable to CCC students as Bennett will also be a business instructor.

“It’s exciting to be able to serve entrepreneurs and students in Grand Island and the surrounding area to elevate entrepreneurial opportunities,” Bennett said.

CCC-Grand Island President Dr. Marcie Kemnitz cut the ribbon during the open house, marking the official opening of the center. It was standing room only as several community members attended the open house and toured the center.

“The entrepreneurship center is a prime example of how Central Community College supports business and workforce development in our service area,” said Kemnitz. “CCC’s mission is to maximize student and community success and this center will go a long way in achieving both.”

The entrepreneurship center is located at 407 W. 3rd St. in Grand Island. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Carlos Barcenas, entrepreneurship center coordinator, at 308-398-7425 or send an email.