Auburn University awarded funding through economic development competition

Published: October 06, 2017
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Auburn University $118,000 under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s, or EDA, 2017 University Center Economic Development Program Competition. EDA is providing a total of $2.7 million in grants to 22 colleges and universities in 16 states to run programs that will leverage university assets to promote American innovation and strengthen regional economies.

Over the next five years, Auburn University’s EDA University Center grant will support student and community entrepreneurs, incubators across the state, as well as entrepreneurial ecosystems in distressed counties and regions. Auburn will work with the Alabama Launchpad’s new Auburn Regional Launchpad startup business plan competition to assist entrepreneurs with development of their ideas as well as economic developers across the state who provide training and assistance.

"As a land-grant institution, Auburn University is a long-standing and significant contributor to the State’s economy. Our recent strategic focus on entrepreneurship and economic development has allowed Auburn to deliver dramatic returns on investment for Alabama taxpayers and stakeholders," said Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Office of External Engagement and Support. "Funding from the EDA will enable us to expand our current efforts to link Alabama entrepreneurs and innovators with the resources they need to be successful."

Auburn’s team of multi-disciplinary experts participating in the grant brings together resources from across campus. The Government and Economic Development Institute, The Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of External Engagement and Support are working together to link communities and entrepreneurs with mentoring, commercialization and economic development assistance.

"The EDA University Center’s mission is to link university resources to community and business challenges resulting in job creation and stronger local economies," said grant manager and GEDI’s associate director David Mixson. "We have assembled a great team at Auburn to accomplish this mission including Lakami Baker, associate professor and managing director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship; Cary Chandler, director of business development; and Phil Dunlap, assistant director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. We appreciate the trust EDA has in Auburn University and look forward to our continued relationship as we help improve Alabama together."

Announced in January, this year’s competition was open to higher education institutions and consortia of accredited institutions of higher education in states supported by EDA’s Atlanta and Seattle regional offices. It funds initiatives that are focused on advancing regional commercialization efforts, entrepreneurship, innovation, business expansion in a region’s innovation cluster and a high-skilled regional workforce.

The full list of grant recipients are available on the EDA website.