Rogers State University was announced Tuesday as one of 19 universities in 10 states to be awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce; as part of the University Center Economic Development Program Competition.
A total of $102,590 will be awarded to the RSU Innovation Center. The grant will be used to provide economic development education to rural community leaders with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and business through the Entrepreneur Ready Community (ERC) certification, said RSU Innovation Center Director Jeri Koehler.
The Innovation Center’s ERC certification program provides support services to small businesses and local entrepreneurs in area municipalities, specifically technical assistance, applied research and training.
In 2010, the Center was awarded a federal Economic Development Administration grant to become a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Centers, one of only two in the state.
“These EDA investments in University Centers are examples of the Obama administration’s commitment to public-private partnerships with higher education institutions that help America stay innovative and competitive in the 21st century economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The 19 grants will help colleges and universities throughout the country support regional entrepreneurship and job creation that are vital to boosting economic growth.”
Since 2002, RSU’s Innovation Center has been the economic development outreach for the seven-county region in northeast Oklahoma.
The Center offers support services to inhibit growth among businesses, utilizing Economic Gardening practices, an entrepreneurial approach to strengthening the local economy from within, said Koehler.
The Center also facilitates regional innovative idea competitions and a student enterprise program known as “The Hatch,” where entrepreneurial business professors and professionals teach innovation concepts to RSU students.