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Institutions of higher education possess assets that can support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship, resiliency, and inclusiveness – making them critical players in the development of vibrant economic ecosystems. This past week, the annual EDA Showcase brought together University Centers from across the mid-West to share their work, models, partnerships, and collaborations; while at the same time, providing time for attendees to network, discuss, and exchange ideas. Eleven Mid-West EDA Centers reported on their activities at the three-day conference which included additional discussions around broadband access, mapping and building gender inclusive ecosystems, marketing and business attraction. 


On the first day, attendees had the option to take a tour of three leading locations for entrepreneurship and community development in Chicago’s innovation districts - some of these locations involved EDA funding. The tour began at The Hatchery, a 67,000 square foot facility, one of the largest food incubation spaces in the U.S. The Hatchery provides on-site training, coaching, and industry-specific support for entrepreneurs. Attendees also visited the Polsky Exchange in Hyde Park, operated by University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Exchange provides incubator and entrepreneurship services to surrounding neighborhoods. The last stop was to the new mHUB site, and innovation center for all things ‘hardtech’. The Center offers a plethora of resources that support physical product innovation. 


MSU’s REI Coordinator reported out on the many activities that have taken place for the year, including: the Center’s mission, model of engagement, community principles, partnerships, support for a regional Tech Hub, Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation, knowledge dissemination, overall impact, three Co-Learning Plans, two Innovation Fellows, and seven Student-Led Faculty Guided Projects. 


Leveraging higher education assets with partners like you helps to provide support to vulnerable communities.Thank you for your continued partnership!

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