The Fifth Third Bank Foundation has announced its 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants for North Carolina. The awards benefit local nonprofit programs that support small business development. The Fifth Third Foundation awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $50,000 grant to support entrepreneurship through a pitch competition.
Central Piedmont designed the "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. The competition will provide underserved individuals who participate with access to the capital, training resources, and social connections needed to remove barriers, and allow individuals to take an idea and turn it into a viable business. The top prize winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.
"Fifth Third Bank is committed to strengthening our communities, and we cannot do it alone: it takes strong and engaged partners like Central Piedmont to truly make a difference," said Lee Fite, regional president for Fifth Third Bank in the Mid-Atlantic. "The '53 Ideas Pitch Competition' addresses an essential link between economic mobility and entrepreneurship. The work our partners like Central Piedmont are doing to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs will directly benefit our community."
"Studies show that four out of five entrepreneurs do not access bank loans or venture capital. Rather, their sources of funding are personal net worth, family wealth, or connections to networks," said Renee Hode, executive director of Central Piedmont's Small Business Center. "Unfortunately, this leads to inequality in entrepreneurship. The '53 Ideas Pitch Competition' seeks to expand opportunity for everyone in the greater Charlotte region, especially those populations who may experience barriers or have limited access to resources to start a business."
The "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" is an open call for business ideas from residents across the region. Individuals will have 53 seconds to pitch their idea in the form of a video submission uploaded to 53ideas.com. The submission deadline is Feb. 20, 2020. For open, inclusive access to the needed technology, Central Piedmont's Small Business Center will be hosting pop-up recording events throughout the community. Visit 53ideas.com for pop-up dates and times.
Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will advance in the competition and receive a $50 award. Over the following 53 days, the participants will work to refine their ideas and master their pitch before another selection process.
Training and coaching on pitching, marketing, financing, forecasting, and business law will be available to participants, regardless of whether they advance in the competition. Free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont, and Stanly.
After the 53-day training period, the top 53 entrants will participate in a closed pitch event where the judges will narrow the field down to 15. The top 15 will receive $200 each and go on to compete on stage for the top awards: first place receives $10,000; second place earns $5,000; and third place receives $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.
The 38 participants who did not advance can still showcase their ideas at an expo before the final pitch event. This gives these participants visibility with event attendees, as well as an opportunity to share their ideas and increase their social networks.
"53 Ideas Pitch Competition" is made possible by the support from the Fifth Third Bank Foundation and the Central Piedmont Foundation, and also the City of Charlotte's Economic Development Office.
Learn more about the "53 Ideas Pitch Competition" at 53ideas.com or upload a video submission by the Feb. 20 deadline.
Despite high school success, Kiara Palmer wasn't ready for the rigors of a four-year university. Therefore, she chose to begin her higher education journey at Central Piedmont in the fall of 2008.
While at Central Piedmont, Palmer demonstrated exemplary leadership skills both as part of the college's Phi Theta Kappa honor society and as a peer advisor in Career Services. She also gained hands-on experience by learning the inner workings of the television industry through an internship at CPCC-TV (now WTVI PBS Charlotte).
This experience helped her learn more about her area of study in journalism and mass communication. It opened doors at other radio and television stations, including WFAE, where she served as an intern. Soon after, Palmer graduated in May 2011, earning an Associate in Arts degree and transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, where she hit the ground running.
"Because of my time at Central Piedmont, I was ready for the rigors of UNC-Chapel Hill," she said. "I was confident in my abilities to do the work and anything that was required of me."
Since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, Palmer served as a TV assignment editor for WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC) and WSOC-TV (Charlotte, NC). She then transitioned from broadcast news and worked for the National Institutes of Health as a communications specialist.
In May of 2019, Palmer earned her Master of Arts degree in strategic communications from American University in Washington, D.C., and is currently working as an account supervisor at Ogilvy Health, an international integrated public relations agency.
Palmer says she owes much of her success and personal development to Central Piedmont. Without the professors, college staff, and academic programming, Palmer says her journey wouldn't have been as fruitful.
"Central Piedmont has truly provided me with a solid foundation," she said. "This foundation has allowed me to not only to succeed academically but socially, mentally, and personally. I'm a better person because of Central Piedmont and wouldn't trade this experience for anything," says Kiara.
A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has made a significant gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to support the creation of a new Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. The center will advance the best practices of impactful teaching at the college to inspire, guide, and support instructors in the key areas of pedagogy, course content and information delivery.
The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Central Piedmont will facilitate the professional development of the college's full- and part-time faculty, with the goal of enriching students' learning and overall educational experience, motivating them to persist and complete their programs of study.
The gift to help create the center comes as part of Central Piedmont's ongoing "Powering a Stronger Future" campaign. The five-year fundraising effort seeks to raise $40 million the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the college's 56-year history. The campaign will run through June 2022, and has raised more than $23.8 million to date.
The center's focus areas will include:
- developing pedagogy that is inclusive, equitable, and centered on student learning and success,
- using technological tools and resources to enhance classroom teaching,
- encouraging and supporting instructional innovation,
- furthering the continued growth and instructional effectiveness of all faculty,
- fostering and disseminating strategies that improve classroom experiences for students,
- promoting the ongoing assessment of teaching strategies and student learning, and
- developing instructional content and methods that promote critical thinking and skills needed for careers and further education.
Current programming plans for the center include:
- conducting workshops for instructors,
- sponsoring guest speakers to share best practices,
- providing semester-long orientation and training programs for new instructors and skills-refreshment programs for established faculty,
- establishing mentoring relationships for new instructors with successful classroom instructors,
- conducting training sessions focused on the needs of part-time instructors, and
- sharing scholarly research and articles related to best practices in classroom teaching and learning.
"The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence will be a permanent resource and catalyst for instructional excellence at Central Piedmont," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The center will be based on Central Campus, but it will serve instructors and offer programming at all of the college's campuses. The center will be critical to ensuring outstanding classroom instruction and learning for all of our students."
The college will hold a ceremony to dedicate the center during the 2020 spring semester.
For updates on the progress of Powering a Stronger Future, visit our campaign updates page.
Raven Bell is pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatrician at Central Piedmont. Your gift this #GivingTuesday helps empower students like Raven to reach their full potential and create #aStrongerFuture for all of us.
To donate, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/donation.
To learn more about Powering A Stronger Future, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign.