UNI's Economic Development Assistance reaches all 99 counties for 17 consecutive years

Aside from the academic achievements UNI is known for, the university is also fully committed to economic development and outreach throughout the state of Iowa. The Business and Community Services (BCS) division of UNI has now served businesses and organizations in all 99 of Iowa’s counties for 17 consecutive years. Overall, BCS programs and projects have reached more than 410,000 Iowans! Here are a few of the ways BCS worked toward building a better Iowa in 2016.

Strategic Infrastructure Grant Led to Expansion

UNI's Metal Casting Center was one of the first to receive a Strategic Infrastructure Grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. This funding was used to expand their services to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the state. UNI's Metal Casting Center is an innovative national leader in additive manufacturing and this grant helped the Center secure Iowa as a growing international leader in this industry. In 2016, the center was able to provide their custom 3-D printing services to 80 foundries and supply chain companies, most of which were small and medium enterprises. They also worked on 50 company projects and provided outreach to an additional 54 foundries.

R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator

Student Entrepreneurship Program of the Year

The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) recognized UNI's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC) as the first-ever Student Entrepreneurship Program of the Year. JPEC, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, provides an unparalleled experience to student entrepreneurs. There are currently 13 student businesses housed in the R. J. McElroy Student Business Incubator on campus, with 29 additional student entrepreneurs being assisted through its affiliate program.

Economic Empowerment Award

UNI was awarded the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the category of Economic Empowerment. This prestigious award was granted in large part for work done by the Institute for Decision Making (IDM), particularly their leadership in economic and neighborhood development in Northeast Waterloo. IDM continues their role as a designated Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center and in 2016 expanded their regional entrepreneurship project to South Central Iowa. The project is stimulating economic growth in Iowa by working with local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

These are just a few examples of the many ways UNI impacts economic development in Iowa. For more information, visit the Business and Community Services website.