The Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center at Manchester Community College is a philanthropically funded community organization that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners develop their visions by providing innovative and informative educational and networking programs.

More specifically, “the Center is geared toward ‘wantrepreneurs,’ current business owners, and current entrepreneurs,” explains Program Coordinator Valerie Nightingale, who joined the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center in the Spring of 2015.

At the time, Nightingale was working in Manchester Community College’s continuing education department. At the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center, she says she’s been able to develop programs and provide additional community outreach.

The Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center is housed under the Business Engineering and Technology division of Manchester Community College. “The Center has a great advisory board made up of college faculty and staff, as well as local community partners,” adds Nightingale.

Nightingale says she is continually inspired by working with local entrepreneurs. “They are always looking for a way to take the reins of their lives. What I enjoy most about the work I’m doing is that we’re in a position to listen to and respond to their needs.”

Entrepreneurs Giving Back to Entrepreneurs

The Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center was founded through the generosity of Paula and Anthony G. Viscogliosi who have many years of combined experience as skilled entrepreneurs, innovators, and philanthropists.

The Viscogliosis have been working with several local organizations to integrate Manchester’s heritage with today’s community through arts, education, and entrepreneurship.

“The Viscogliosis were very motivated to bring the Center from campus to Main Street in Manchester,” says Nightingale, who adds that the center is growing quickly in its mission to revitalize downtown Manchester.

Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center Objectives

According to the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center website, the Center aims to:

  • Support innovative, practical programs to help entrepreneurs and small businesses explore their entrepreneurial passions, launch viable new enterprises, and expand their current ventures.
  • Foster an understanding of social enterprise as a business tool to achieve social and environmental change.
  • Promote financial literacy as the foundation of professional and personal economic wellbeing.
  • Provide opportunities and resources to build strong networks and mutually beneficial relationships within the business community.
  • Encourage the entrepreneurial mindset upon which an energized, creative, and productive workforce is dependent.

“We’re really working to help people figure out—and solve the problem of—what they need to be successful in this economic climate,” emphasizes Nightingale.

In an effort to support all these goals, the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center recently introduced an Entrepreneurs’ Round Table 6-Month Program, which includes monthly group sessions at Manchester Community College, semi-private coaching, and sessions with guest speakers from the entrepreneurial community.

The Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center is also making great strides to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week February 22 – 26, 2016. Including a women entrepreneur’s roundtable event, which Nightingale says will provide an opportunity to talk to women about their successes in entrepreneurship in the community.

Photo: Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center benefactors Paula and Anthony G. Viscogliosi (center) at the Grand Opening ceremony.