Learning about local resources available to support entrepreneurs and start-ups is critical to the success of a new business venture. How do you get funding? How do you learn about your competition? Where do you find an accountant? Where can you meet potential partners or funders? These questions and more were answered on April 6, when the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program at Montgomery College hosted a panel and roundtable discussion with critical members of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This year, our panel of experts included 1) Marilyn Balcombe, President and CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce; 2) Martha Jimenez, Senior Business Counselor at the Maryland Women’s Business Center; 3) Walter Abbott, SCORE Volunteer; and 4) Daniel Koroma, Senior Fellow with Montgomery County Government. After each panelist provided a brief introduction to the resources they are responsible for, a short personal history of how they came to be in their current position, and one piece of advice for a new start up, then the fun started.
Circulating between tables at the periodic ring of a bell, students were able to engage in a direct and interactive manner, learning all about the next steps and resources they need to be considering. These panelists brought together not just information about their current roles, but four lifetimes of experience as business owners with a variety of capacities and from many phases of their professional lives. The students asked so many questions that it was hard to end and go back to our
regularly scheduled program. But here’s the best part: Our guests are now part of the permanent network for our Hillman Entrepreneurs. They know where to go to find out how to get funding, how to learn about their competitors, how to locate an accountant, and how to find potential partners and funding. The answers are there when they are ready!
A big thank you to this year’s guests to the Hillman Program. You are the human connection that is vital to the success of the Hillman entrepreneur.