Doing What MATTERS for Small Business

Cornelius Brown Encourages Innovation and Entrepreneurship Across the State

In our culture today, entrepreneurs and innovators are put on pedestals. Their success is held up as a model that appears easy to emulate, but in reality is far more difficult to do so.

Cornelius Brown, Deputy Sector Navigator-Business & Entrepreneurship in the Greater Sacramento Region, recognizes this challenge and is working to help make the ideas of innovation and entrepreneurship more accessible to students across California’s Community Colleges.

In the process, he hopes to drive that same sense of innovation and entrepreneurship among the colleges themselves.

“Our students are our hope, and it’s our job to give them the tools and resources they need so hope can stay alive through innovation,” Brown said. “We as colleges get better as we help our students become better.”

Teaching innovation also provides an opportunity for community colleges to take risks in curriculum and lesson planning. As the higher education landscape becomes more competitive, colleges need to keep pace with what’s happening in the world outside of academics to retain students.

“Students are starting to question how what they are learning is relevant to them,” Brown said. “You could lose them if you’re not being relevant.”

Ultimately, Brown hopes to create a new movement that will run parallel to the idea of career pathways. In order to develop true innovators, he says, students need to be ready to succeed in a variety of careers — not just locked into one field or another.

To make this happen, Brown is working with faculty across the system to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to their classrooms. He describes faculty as the veins who reach the students that make up the heartbeat of any college or university.

“We’ve started to make some progress, but we need to keep up the momentum,” Brown said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Faculty who are interested in bringing innovation and entrepreneurship into their courses can contact Brown at cbrown@yccd.edu or 916-224-5593.

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