Empowering Student Start-ups Through the Economic Development Ecosystem

From Matt Bilsky

This is a recording of my 5-minute Lightning Round Talk at the #UEDASummit (University Economic Development Association) 2018 Annual Summit on Tuesday, October 23rd in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Community and regional economic development organizations play a critical role in supporting university student start-ups. These partnerships can help to retain graduating students in the region both as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially minded graduate students. Furthermore, this symbiotic relationship has an impact on students, faculty, and staff as it allows for real world examples to be brought into the classroom. This presentation will discuss a model for how this can work through a novel program called an Entrepreneurial Minded Dissertation where a student startup, funded through economic development, was used to drive research that engages students, the community, industry, and academia.

More about Disruptive Change: Academia is experiencing one of the largest disruptions in years both in funding and pedagogy. Researchers must engage the economic development ecosystem to sustain their programs. Additionally, it has been shown that students learn best when working on real-world, impactful project furthering the need to bring partnerships between the community, academia, and industry into the classroom. As a result of these partnerships, we are seeing the emergence of the next-generation of student entrepreneurs who will become tomorrow’s leaders, business owners, and faculty. This session will discuss the successes achieved through joint projects to overcome these disruptions and improve outcomes.

Recorded Talk