By Kirsten Adams, senior sponsorships and project specialist, Office of the Vice President for Government Relations and Economic Engagement
The Indiana University Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development, or CREED, held its fourth quarterly meeting of 2019 on Nov. 6 at IUPUI.
Bill Stephan, IU vice president for government relations and economic engagement, noted that the board of trustees will meet in Richmond at IU East in December. With many regional campuses located in areas experiencing mayoral changes, he expressed gratitude for the excellent relationships the university has enjoyed with local officials and offered congratulations to the new leaders in the communities with new leadership.
Indiana Data Partnership
David Gard, IU assistant vice president for economic engagement, and Tom Guevara, director of the IU Public Policy Institute, spoke about the Indiana Data Partnership. IDP harnesses data from various organizations; in return, the organizations receive information to help them fine-tune delivery of their services that can be carried over into areas including infrastructure, public safety and economic development. The scalable platform is designed for open participation through public, private and nonprofit agencies, and value is returned to organizations that share their data.
The project is a collaboration between IU and the state of Indiana, with the purpose of using data analysis to address the opioid crisis and workforce training. Data visualization and a cluster-mapping platform will facilitate the dissemination of the information. IU’s Public Policy Institute, Indiana Business Research Institute and Polis Center are teaming up and building out the governance. Visit www.in.gov/idp to learn more.
Center for Rural Engagement — UEDA award
Joe Carley, director of strategic partnerships for IU’s Center for Rural Engagement, reported about the University Economic Development Association Award of Excellence awarded to the center in the “place” category at the organization’s annual national summit.
The center conducted listening tours with three pilot communities: Huntingburg, Nashville and Salem. The tours yielded ideas for collaborations in the arts and humanities and avoided duplicating the efforts of others. By increasing the vibrancy of smaller communities, it is hoped that these areas might be more attractive to younger people, and that those already living in these regions will find a greater and more meaningful sense of place. Maintaining a focus on replicable models led the center to enact festivals, which have been great ways to engage the areas.
The projects benefit IU as much as the rural communities, and the university’s students are being exposed to new communities and regions. Capacity-building with town engagement is leading to program infrastructure creation, education and exposure. Workforce development aspects are arising from the collaborative arts series, artist exchanges and residencies, strategic arts planning, and grants and corporate support in each community. Building regional ties is a key factor of success, buoyed by the sharing of best practices and equipment.
The lessons learned thus far are to capitalize on the success that already exists, to be willing to try things, and to begin to build local nonprofit connections, as they can receive grants on behalf of the region. End goals of the center and markers for their success are for the more rural communities to be able to build infrastructure and achieve resident retainment and economic sustainability.
2020 university-wide Economic Impact Study
Stephan and Gard offered a preview an upcoming economic impact study. The university’s most recent study was conducted in 2012 by Tripp Umbach, one of the two leading national consulting firms that work with higher education. In the study, CREED was very involved with regional meetings and bringing in key campus officials and leaders. In reciprocity, presentations and data were shared by Tripp Umbach that was campus-specific by region.
The upcoming study will begin after Jan. 1, will not include IU Health time, and will focus on 200 years of building and contributing, then moving into a third century.
Focus on IU South Bend
Rick Kolbe, dean of the Leighton School of Business and Economics, gave an overview of economic development happening at IU South Bend, including partnerships with the North Central-Small Business Development Center, which shares space on campus; the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership; the University of Notre Dame IDEA Center; and Elevate Ventures.
A new partner may soon be joining these efforts as the IUSB Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center to help students navigate these many entities in a more coordinated fashion. The center would offer advising support, student engagement, incubator space, pop-up temporary business space and entrepreneurship programming.
RED Fund Awards
Two new applications for RED, or Regional Economic Development, funds were approved, bringing the yearly total number and amount of projects within one award of our record year of 2018. Representatives were encouraged to submit any other potential applications before the end of this year.
IU Bloomington received a $500 award for “Bloomington Startup Weekend,” a 54-hour event at which aspiring entrepreneurs are given the time, space, knowledge and resources to help them to gain the experience they need to start successful ventures.
Bloomington will host its Startup Weekend at Dimension Mill. The event typically draws a mixture of IU students and community members.
IU Northwest received a $2,500 award for “Prevention is Better than Cure: Identifying the Critical Success Factors for an Opioid Addiction Awareness Program.” This study plans to fill a critical void in the opioid addiction awareness literature.
Upon completion, the findings of the research study will be disseminated in a workshop for professionals from health care, social work and law enforcement agencies, academic researchers, students, and others who are interested in learning more about the opioid addiction awareness programs.
The next CREED meeting will be Feb. 18 in Indianapolis.