Heather Howe is a bit of a legend at AACC’s Entrepreneurial Studies Institute (ESI). This baker started the e-club, was the first recipient of the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Entrepreneurial Studies Scholarship and is the only two-time winner of the Business Pitch Competition.
Howe’s love of baking heated up in Anne Arundel Community College’s Baking and Pastry program. After an internship, she realized she wanted to be able to run her own business and added a major in Business Management. She graduated with two associate degrees, and then went on to get her bachelor’s in Food Service Entrepreneurship from Johnson & Wales University.
But her appetite for learning wasn’t satisfied. She returned to AACC to complete her third associate degree – this one in Entrepreneurial Studies – and prepare to start her own business.
“Most people in the culinary world don’t have a business background, so I do think a little bit differently than others in the industry,” she said.
Howe’s ESI experience led her to the Hatchery where she found resources to work through the processes of applying for a loan, leasing property and getting operational systems in place for her business. Support from the community of small business owners and professors also helped her succeed.
“The professors here help you in so many ways, from answering your questions to helping you determine the next steps to reach your goals, and they just care about whether or not you reach them,” she said. “The connections that I made through (the Ratcliffe Scholarship) have put me where I am right now.”
In May 2012, Howe fulfilled her lifelong dream and opened the storefront for “Fields of Heather” bakery near her home in Stevensville. Being part of her local community is important to Howe. “It’s fantastic to be part of my customers’ lives,” she said.
She remains active with AACC and offers advice and encouragement to current ESI students. “Starting at community college was the best decision I ever made,” she told them at a Lunch and Learn event in January.