UNI Business and Community Services, as of July 2013, has been designated as an EDA University Center by the Economic Development Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The EDA University Center program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in regions of chronic and acute economic distress. The program supports and recognizes institutions of higher education having extensive resources, including specialized research, outreach, and technology-transfer and commercialization capabilities, as well as recognized staff expertise and resources. University Centers.
Below is the breakdown for the process the UNI EDA University Center takes when working in each of our Regions (more information about each of our Regions to the right).
Research, Inventory and Assessment
The UNI-EDA University Center team conducts in-depth primary and secondary research to develop a demographic and psychographic profile of the entrepreneurial population in each region. The research also inventories the entrepreneurship related service providers serving the region and explores their resources, needs, observations and recommendations for strengthening the system where needed and building upon proven assets. This process is serves as the “situation analysis” phase of the project, assessing the entrepreneurial climate from multi-faceted perspectives.
- Anticipated Outcomes: Comprehensive regional profiles complete.
Education of the Regional Stakeholders
This part of the project involves educational training sessions with various community stakeholders engaged in and/or affected by entrepreneurial development. The education component is centering on the needs of emerging entrepreneurs and what must be done at the local level in order to ensure that these needs are met and that new businesses can grow in their community. Specifically, these stakeholders are being educated on keys to entrepreneurial success.
Anticipated Outcomes: A customized Entrepreneurship Development Seminar held in each region; number of stakeholders engaged and educated.
Development of a Regional Entrepreneurship Strategic Plan
The next step in the process is assembling planning teams from among the aforementioned stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for entrepreneurial development. The plan is built to ensure a supportive culture for entrepreneurship, business and technical assistance, networking opportunities and access to capital at all stages of business development. The UNI-EDA University Center utilizes flexible, highly-effective model for strategic plan development, which focuses on plan implementation and accountability. The end result for this phase is a complete, customized strategic plan for entrepreneurial development for each region. The draft plan developed is adopted and endorsed by multiple implementing entities throughout the community, e.g., SBDC, SCORE Chapters, community colleges, Regent universities, local financial institutions, networking groups, k-12 school districts etc. This plan, and the buy-in of the implementing organizations, ensures that the Region is well-positioned to implement the plan and truly foster entrepreneurial growth.
- Anticipated Outcomes: Development of a region-wide plan for entrepreneurial development in each region; number of entities adopting and endorsing the plan.
EDA Investment Priorities:
This project supports several of EDA’s national strategic priorities.
Collaborative Regional Innovation
National Strategic Priorities (Advanced Manufacturing)
Economically Distressed and Underserved Communities
The total anticipated impact at the end of the 5 year project period is $4.8 million.