University of Northern Iowa's Business and Community Services (BCS) has again been nationally recognized for their work to strengthen Iowa's communities. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) awarded UNI's Regional Entrepreneurship Project with the 2017 Excellence and Innovation in Regional and Economic Development Award.
“Innovation at America's state colleges and universities is focused on advancing the quality of the educational experience for their students and the distinction of their institutions in service to their communities,” said AASCU President Muriel A. Howard.
Led by BCS's Institute for Decision Making, the Regional Entrepreneurship Project (REP) has assisted 17 Iowa counties in five economically challenged regions in gaining over $6.7 million in private investment, 46 new or expanded businesses and over 187 new jobs. REP does this by coordinating and involving university programs, local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, community colleges, K through 12 school districts, small business development centers, regional councils of government, and other local and statewide entities.
REP develops a customized strategic plan for each region it serves to fight economic distress from population declines, plant closings/layoffs and/or natural disasters by providing research on types of business owners, economic trends and available local services.
“We are honored to receive this national award recognizing UNI Business and Community Services' Regional Entrepreneurship Project,” said UNI President Mark Nook. “UNI is dedicated to community and economic development and building the capacity of the state to positively affect the lives of Iowans.”
Since its inception in 1985, BCS has work to assist Iowans in starting, maintaining and growing their businesses in all 99 counties. It has developed programs to address specific needs in Iowa communities, such as community and economic development, entrepreneurship and the environment. BCS continues to build Iowa's capacity by working with businesses, entrepreneurs, communities and governments across the state. They provide a wide array of services from marketing research and business incubation, to environmental compliance assistance and economic development.