First Commerce Credit Union to invest in entrepreneurship initiative

November 29, 2016

Heather Mitchell, Kim Moore, Jasmine Anderson, Jim Murdaugh, Cecilia Homison, William GilmoreTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 29, 2016) – Tallahassee Community College today announced that First Commerce Credit Union will make a significant investment in the College’s entrepreneurship initiative.

The credit union committed $300,000 over a five-year period to support TCC Spark!, which offers credit and noncredit training along with mentorship and other opportunities to bolster the success of budding entrepreneurs and small business owners.

The announcement was made at a presentation that included leaders of both institutions.

“Our country was built on small businesses,” said Kim Moore, TCC’s vice president for workforce development. “It’s our commitment to create an environment for our student entrepreneurs that provides the tools they need to harness their talent, energy and creativity to spur economic vitality and create jobs in our community.”

Cecilia Homison, FCCU’s chief executive officer, agreed on the importance of entrepreneurship to the local economy and the potential for TCC Spark! to ignite even more entrepreneurial activity.

Cecilia Homison First Commerce CEO“At First Commerce, we have long believed in the power of entrepreneurship to drive our region's economy,” said Homison. "After evaluating our many initiatives, we were seeking a way to deepen our impact. We found Spark! to be the perfect alignment of the shared vision between First Commerce and TCC. Spark! focuses on the very foundation of economic development – entrepreneurship that spurs job creation – and we believe the program will benefit our area in many ways for years to come."

First Commerce will have hands-on involvement in Spark!, dedicating additional resources including business coaching, financial literacy, microfinancing and more.

Heather Mitchell, executive director of the TCC Foundation, pointed out that the timing of the First Commerce donation coincides with #GivingTuesday and with the final day of National Entrepreneurship Month, which is celebrated in November each year.

“What a perfect time to take our partnership to the next level. TCC is a community college, and First Commerce is a community institution. This is one of the many ways they support our community and make it an even better place to live,” said Mitchell.

Jim Murdaugh, TCC’s president, noted that in 2015 he took the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge of the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship. TCC Spark! is one of the College’s highest-profile initiatives reflecting that commitment.

The funds invested by First Commerce will be used to create a dedicated position to coordinate TCC’s delivery of entrepreneurial programs and services in collaboration with First Commerce, who will continue to offer their subject matter expertise tied to supporting new and existing businesses. The Spark! coordinator will play an integral role in carrying out Murdaugh’s commitment to become an entrepreneurial college and a destination for student entrepreneurs.

Two budding entrepreneurs spoke during the presentation. TCC student William Gilmore, a U.S. Army veteran, is part of TCC’s Moore Veterans Leadership Academy. He was the third-place winner in the Startup Weekend event that took place in early November and was hosted by TCC and Domi Station. Gilmore has developed a device called the Sprain Arrestor to help prevent ankle sprains. Jasmine Anderson’s business, Distressed by Jas, was recently selected as TCC’s Achieving the Dream Business Incubator competition winner.

For information contact Heather Mitchell at (850) 201-6067.

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Photo caption: Heather Mitchell, Kim Moore, Jasmine Anderson, Jim Murdaugh, Cecilia Homison, William Gilmore