The Community Education Center has received a grant of $150,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to give business students more educational opportunities. Rick Hodge, division dean of the CEC, said the grant money will be used in the center’s Entrepreneur Success program and to launch a small business program. One of the primary goals of the grant is to give students more opportunity to learn about the basics of starting up a business.

“The general focus is to help with existing business expansion and to give entrepreneurs more resources,” said Hodge.

The grant is primarily aimed at immigrants and women who are potential business owners.

“The grant will enable me to do the next thing that I couldn’t do,” Hodge said. “It will enable me to hire business advisors to work one-on-one with students. Some advisors will be on campus and some will set up an area close to the CEC for students to visit.”

Students said the program is beneficial to them in their business endeavors. “I think having advisors on campus will help me learn more about starting up my business since they’re working in the field,” said potential clothing store owner Raquel Martinez.

“The grant is going to help me out when I need more resources to start my business. I know it’s very competitive and I can use some extra tips,” said prospective business student Luis Montanez.

Hodge also plans public events throughout the year in order to promote the CEC’s business programs. One of the larger events will be the Small Business and Entrepreneur Summit that the center plans for the fall.

“I’m hoping the small business program fits the needs of immigrant students who are on a quicker pathway to start a business instead of attending a four-year college,” said Hodge.

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