The University of Northern Iowa’s US Economic Development Administration University Center (UNI UC) is working to encourage and enable employers in the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments Economic Development District (Black Hawk, Butler, Grundy, Buchanan, Chickasaw and Bremer Counties) to remain innovative and competitive as they position the region for the future.
The UNI UC is coordinated by the Institute for Decision Making and UNI’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation and will engage numerous university partners including Strategic Marketing Services, JPEC and the Department of Technology.
UNI’s University Center focuses on two economic development strategies:
Business Retention and Expansion through Innovation (BREI): an economic development approach designed to foster innovation and technology utilization, innovation, research and development within targeted businesses. UNI UC will work directly with the region’s local economic developers to design and incorporate new business discovery processes and protocols into traditional business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts to identify and serve as a catalyst for businesses utilizing technology for internal product development, process enhancement and commercialization.
The Intrapreneurship Resource Network (IRN): a newly assembled region-wide team of existing service providers, prototyping labs, faculty and students with resources and skills in the areas of management, business development, financing, succession, marketing, additive/subtractive manufacturing, manufacturing engineering technology, and technology management. The IRN will also include labs and community college resources focused on CNC machining, 3D printing, cloud and distributed computing and cyber security.
UNI’s University Center is one of 10 awarded to universities in the Denver EDA region. Best practices and insight gained from the initiative will also be used in providing professional development to economic developers nationally.