LAWRENCE — The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration has awarded a five-year, $700,000 university center grant to the University of Kansas. Together with an equal match by KU donors and time commitments by faculty and program staff, a total of $1.4 million will be devoted to assist economic development and job retention efforts in the state.
This grant is a collaboration between the KU Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Business and KU's Institute for Policy & Social Research, and it is one of only 40 such awards provided by the EDA to U.S. universities.
"The KU Center for Entrepreneurship, which was recently rated as the 18th best entrepreneurship program in the country among all U.S. universities by the Princeton Review, will leverage KU's faculty and student strengths on all its campuses to help grow Kansas innovation while providing a superior entrepreneurial education," said Wally Meyer, director of entrepreneurship programs in the School of Business and the project's principal investigator.
The center will work cooperatively with other Regents universities and regional programs to protect jobs, introduce new ventures, grow existing businesses and provide a superior experiential education for KU students by leveraging its student-staffed programs, which include the following:
- RedTire, a program that connects retiring small business owners with qualified candidates to buy or manage companies and has helped to retain at least 383 jobs.
- Jayhawk Consulting, an avenue for business clients to receive consulting services from top-tier KU business students.
- The Catalyst, an accelerator for student startups.
And the center will add a new program, CURE — Commercializing University Research through Entrepreneurship — which will enable KU's research faculty to launch new ventures featuring their researched inventions to generate revenues for the researcher, the research department and provide a society benefiting pharmaceutical or medical device to U.S. consumers.
The Institute for Policy & Social Research will continue to provide information that is essential to supporting economic development efforts across the state. For example, IPSR has published 52 annual editions of the Kansas Statistical Abstract on 16 categories that provide valuable demographic and economic information about the state to policymakers and community leaders.
"We are excited to be able to continue and expand providing informational resources and analysis to support economic development initiatives across the state," said Genna Hurd, IPSR associate researcher and project co-investigator.
IPSR and the KU Center for Entrepreneurship have successfully coordinated efforts historically as evidenced by receiving this grant three consecutive periods.