The Economic Development Administration Selects GS to run University Center
By Eminah Quintyne, Feature Writer
Georgia Southern is now one of 13 universities in the region to house a University Center Economic Development Program (UCEDP).
The UCEDP is run by the Economic Development Administration. It is a federally funded grant opportunity awarded to select institutions of higher education to facilitate and operate University Centers dedicated to building strong regional economic systems that support progressive entrepreneurship and innovation. Dr. Dominque Halaby, Director of Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) said,
“I need not tell you how ‘BIG’ a deal this is for our unit and our University. Some of the other awardees in this eight-state region include the University of Kentucky, University of Florida, Auburn University, Mississippi State, University of South Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee and Georgia Tech. I am very proud of the strides we continue to make, and I am excited about what this award means for the future of our region.”
This opportunity is about utilizing the capacity of the university to positively impact local economies and change lives. BIG is charged to implement regional strategies to support learning, skills training, job creation, capable talent pools, and business expansion. The nature of a good economy exists when resources are allocated both efficiently and effectively. The government’s role is to facilitate public welfare and that is often done in the form of grants, education, or skills training. Grant funding for the benefit of public welfare provide jobs for those in need or for the poor. More people with earnings in turn spend money at local businesses, and that is good because it is likely the economy will grow.
“ I chose to start my business here because I live here, I have a passion for food, and I was at a point in my life where I could work for myself. I love what I do because I offer fresh wholesome ingredients.” Said Elaine Minick-Stone owner of CAKE Bakery in downtown Statesboro.
On a regional scale, BIG will appeal to entrepreneurs who call this area home by creating a good environment to get startups to take risks. Resources, awareness of one’s skills, and believing you can launch a startup are among driving forces behind bringing economic growth to fruition. BIG’s business incubator offers leases for affordable office space which can often be a barrier for many startups, and BIG is multifaceted in its ability to provide valuable support