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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces $2.5 Million in Investments to Strengthen Innovation and Economic Growth Initiatives

Colleges and Universities in 10 States Awarded Funding Through Economic Development Competition

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the winners of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2013 University Center Economic Development Program Competition. EDA is providing a total of $2.5 million in grants to 19 colleges and universities in 10 states to run five-year programs that will leverage university assets to promote American innovation and strengthen regional economies. This year’s competition was open to higher education institutions in states supported by EDA’s Austin and Denver regional offices.

“These EDA investments in University Centers are examples of the Obama administration’s commitment to public-private partnerships with higher education institutions that help America stay innovative and competitive in the 21st century,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The 19 grants announced today will help colleges and universities throughout the country support regional entrepreneurship and job creation that are vital to boosting economic growth.”

EDA-funded University Centers provide business solutions and technical assistance to public- and private-sector organizations, and conduct other activities with the goal of enhancing regional economic development. They offer a full range of services tailored to each region’s needs and the institution’s strengths. University Center business solutions include basic and applied research, market research, feasibility studies, product development, strategic and financial planning, seminars and training, and management consultations. These services enhance business productivity, streamline operations, increase quality, and cut costs.

The grantees from EDA’s Austin Regional Office include:

  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas: Receiving $102,602 to provide technical assistance, applied research, professional and community economic development training, and other related economic development assistance to communities throughout the state of Arkansas.

  • Phillips Community College at the University of Arkansas, Helena, Arkansas: Receiving $102,590 to help fill pivotal gaps in the region’s economic ecosystem by promoting entrepreneurship and the commercialization of farm products.

  • McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana: Receiving $102,590 to help southwest Louisiana become an economic hub of industrial infrastructure and maintain and grow its chemical industry regional innovation cluster.

  • Southern University A&M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Receiving $102,590 to aid the expansion and revitalization of south Louisiana by providing programs that enhance existing businesses and create new venture opportunities.

  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico: Receiving $102,590 to identify gaps in the regional commercialization ecosystem, and create programs that increase statewide participation in commercialization efforts, accelerate innovation, and increase the number of business start-ups.

  • Rogers State University, Claremore, Oklahoma: Receiving $102,590 to promote the advancement of innovation in the support of a more competitive, efficient, and entrepreneurial spirit in northeastern Oklahoma through a business mentoring program.

  • Southwest Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, Oklahoma: Receiving $102,590 to provide technical assistance to communities in order to promote a favorable business environment that will help attract private capital investment and create higher-skill, higher-wage jobs.

  • Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas: Receiving $102,590 for business counseling services and a proof-of-concept center focused on the needs of science and engineering start-ups, to support economic diversification and increased long-term regional competitiveness.

  • Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas: Receiving $102,590 to support small business development across several different regional industries to improve business success rates through a university-based technical assistance program.

  • University of Texas at Brownsville, Brownsville, Texas: Receiving $102,590 to help innovators and entrepreneurs develop credible business plans and subsequently open businesses that offer innovative products or services.

  • West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas: Receiving $102,590 to support the university’s role as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurial development in the Texas Panhandle region by building on technical assistance provided by previously funded University Centers.

The grantees from EDA’s Denver Regional Office include:

  • University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa: Receiving $156,013 to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through a study conducted in partnership with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) as part of their Laborshed Survey program. This grant will also support an examination of the innovation infrastructure in partnership with Connect Iowa.

  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa: Receiving $250,000 to establish the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network, which will help address gaps in the region’s economic ecosystem by performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, holding innovation summits focused on finding innovative solutions, and performing idea incubation to promote commercialization.

  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas: Receiving $115,000 to provide economic analysis in order to identify emerging industry clusters, provide business-plan development for new ventures, and provide technical assistance to existing companies.

  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas: Receiving $250,000 to support the creation of the Olathe Innovation Accelerator, which will promote early-stage technology development and the commercialization of scientific discoveries and market innovations. The accelerator is expected to capitalize on existing strengths in the region’s “Animal Health Corridor” and its food processing industry cluster.

  • Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Receiving $198,987 to help develop a pipeline of entrepreneurs by improving access to capital, creating an exchange of ideas and innovation, and promoting opportunities within the region.

  • University of Missouri–Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri: Receiving $200,000 to support regional commercialization by implementing entrepreneurship strategies and channeling funding into mentoring programs for entrepreneurial ventures.

  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota: Receiving $100,000 to support higher education in areas of research and development and to train employees in science, technology, engineering and math skills to support economic growth.

  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming: Receiving $110,000 to support the Wyoming Technology Business Center, an economic development program focused on promoting entrepreneurial nodes through one-on-one counseling, networking, and establishment of business incubators.>

This year’s competition was announced in April. Accredited institutions of higher education, including community colleges, or a consortium of accredited institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. The agency’s Austin region includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Denver region includes Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

To learn more about EDA’s University Centers and future grant competitions, please visit: www.eda.gov.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.