FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Bleill, (217) 244-7744, [email protected]
EnterpriseWorks Receives EDA Grant To Further Entrepreneurship at Illinois Universities
Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant will support development of higher education entrepreneurial ecosystems across Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, IL, February, 1, 2017–The EnterpriseWorks incubator at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, has been awarded an Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant for $549,620 as a five year grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) to advance incubators and entrepreneurial ecosystems associated with higher education across Illinois. EnterpriseWorks will provide assistance to other higher education incubators and entrepreneurial spaces located across Illinois, including many in economically distressed counties.
The grant will support the creation of the Illinois University Incubator Network (IUIN) to link such incubators and facilitate best practice and resource sharing, opportunities for workshops, as well as direct assistance to entrepreneurs. Along with incubator assistance, the program will support an annual Illinois University Incubator Network conference to bring together industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs, faculty, investors, mentors, policymakers, and academic professionals to discuss the advantages and challenges faced across Illinois. IUIN also will build a mentor network for university incubator companies to capture the depth of knowledge that exists across the state.
“To harness and leverage the talent that exists in our entrepreneurial landscape, especially within University environments, will build the state’s economy and opportunities for future economic success,” said Laura Frerichs, director of the University of Illinois Research Park and director of economic development at the University of Illinois. “EnterpriseWorks is looking forward to working with supporting and advancing entrepreneurship across the state of Illinois.”
Supporting partners for the IUIN include Bradley University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Millikin University, Northern Illinois University, Olivet Nazarene University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Chicago, and Innovate Springfield.
Preliminary work has begun on the project with efforts ramping up over the next several months. The University of Illinois has hired an experienced entrepreneur to lead the center along with the EnterpriseWorks team. Interested participants in the program may contact Marissa Siero at [email protected]. A web portal for the activities of the incubator network will be completed in 2017.
In addition to the EAA Grant, EnterpriseWorks has also been awarded an EDA University Center grant to help downstate Illinois entrepreneurs.
See what Director Laura Frerichs and project coordinator Marissa Siero have to say about the grant on WCIA.