CEC Program Background & Implementation History
The “Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities” program was created to help the Michigan economy by educating local community members to the value of entrepreneurship and help create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship growth.
Developed by MSU Extension’s Economic Development Area of Expertise Team in 2007, originally the “CEC” stood for “Creating Entrepreneurial Communities.” Within a few years, communities throughout Michigan became aware of the value of the programming offered through the CEC. In 2012, we adapted to become the “Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities” program and focused our energy to bring entrepreneurial communities together to share resources and exchange ideas. We now develop a statewide reach with the support of the Community, Food & Environment Institute/Entrepreneurship Development Work Team.
There are various program resources throughout the year, however our major emphasis is the statewide CEC Conference held each fall. The annual conference moves around the state and is packed with great keynote speakers, breakout sessions and active communities engaged in supporting entrepreneurs.
Nationally, our MSU CEC Team is engaged with other states. Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota have all sent representatives to the Michigan Conference and each state is implementing their own version of the CEC program with our support. Internationally we have had delegates and presenters from Canada as well as the USA.
Read about this award winning conference in the Journal of Extension. "Unique Conference Design Showcases Small Towns, Highlights Entrepreneurs, and Strengthens Capacity"