Rio Receives Inaugural Entrepreneurship Award from Community Colleges of Appalachia

University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College received the first-ever Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) Entrepreneurship Award. Cole Massie, Director of Economic Development and Center for Entrepreneurship, accepted the award on behalf of the institution at CCA’s annual conference in Asheville, NC, earlier this month.

The Entrepreneurship Award recognizes outstanding programming at the community college level aimed at cultivating entrepreneurship within the student population and broader community. Highlights for the Rio Grande Center for Entrepreneurship include the inaugural “Storm Tank” Business Pitch Competition, as well as an 8-week “Think Like an Entrepreneur” class and 8-week “Ignite Appalachia Business Bootcamp.”

"I’m very appreciative of CCA’s recognition of the work we’re doing at Rio to renew our culture of entrepreneurship," said Massie. "Our region was built by entrepreneurs – people who took big risks and made big sacrifices to lift up their communities with their businesses. We’re fortunate to have so many inspiring success stories, and one of the most rewarding parts of this job is seeing our student-entrepreneurs develop ideas and connect with the people in our region who have made it happen."

Rio’s Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to assisting students and community members access free business consultation, connections to regional business growth resources, and specialized programming. The Center is also partnering with the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Center for Central Appalachia, and Shawnee State University for entrepreneurship programming.

The Community Colleges of Appalachia is an association dedicated to serving community colleges throughout the Appalachian region. Their annual conference brings together educators, administrators, and community leaders to share best practices and recognize outstanding contributions to education and economic development.

For more information about getting involved with the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College's Center for Entrepreneurship, please contact Cole Massie at