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U.S. Economic Development Administration designation

What it means to be a Designated University Center.

You’ve heard about how the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO) is breaking down barriers in the region and opening opportunities for people in the southernmost 47 counties in Missouri, right?

Now, Missouri State has been recognized as a Designated University Center by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

This designation showcases confidence in our strong record of success in supporting the region’s innovators and job creators. And through the support of this grant funding, we’ll continue to expand economic development across the area – an area in which many counties are economically distressed, 70% are rural and many exhibit persistent poverty.

Read on for the full news release from Missouri State:

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has recognized Missouri State University as a Designated University Center. 

The center is a cross-functional partnership led by the Division of Community and Global Partnerships – efactory; Missouri SBDC at MSU; Jordan Valley Innovation Center; Research Administration; the Provost’s office; and the Center for Resource Planning and Management (CRPM).  

As a grantee, MSU could receive $750,000 in funding over the next five years to create the University Center, which will support regional economic resiliency. The university will match the federal grant funds, bringing the total project cost to $1.5 million. 

More about the partnership

As the university’s center for business and economic development, efactory provides support to startups, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. It is a pivotal link between the university and employers, serving as the primary interface and gateway for collaboration. 

“This competitive award is an exciting designation for Missouri State University and shows the caliber of our programs on a national stage,” said Rachel Anderson, efactory executive director. “We’re excited to develop new resources for our region and to collaborate with university and regional partners to advance our community.”  

The CRPM is an applied research and academic support unit of the department of geography, geology and planning. It provides a range of planning and community development services to local governments and public agencies. 

“This is a big deal. It’ll elevate CRPM’s visibility not only in Missouri, but across the EDA Denver region (10 states) and provide funding for us to market our services and highlight the community and regional planning program at MSU,” said Jason Ray, CRPM director. 

The center’s future

This funding is projected to make a large economic impact, including serving 3,000 businesses, creating 1,225 jobs and generating $48 million in research, operational capital and grant support. 

It aims to bridge individuals, employers and economic development organizations with university resources by: 

  • Cultivating innovation. 
  • Advancing high-growth entrepreneurship. 
  • Enhancing regional commercialization efforts. 
  • Providing business support and talent development assistance. 
  • Providing technical assistance and training for regional planning council and economic development district staff. 
  • Increasing the resiliency of a region by connecting more resources and diversifying the workforce. 
“EDA is pleased to support the designated University Centers as they help us invest in America’s future and grow opportunities to increase equity in American research institutions,” said EDA’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.  

“Their existing university resources will be bolstered to build regional economic ecosystems that support resiliency and inclusiveness.”