Development Visions: Stansley — Merging education, entrepreneurshipWritten by Rick Stansley | | email@example.com
For half a decade, organizations involved in economic development in Toledo and Northwest Ohio have been working together to leverage each other’s strengths and maximize the use of finite resources to promote, foster and incubate entrepreneurial activity in the Glass City.
Last July, University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises (UT-IE) — UT’s economic development arm — and the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) formalized a long history of collaboration and came together to form Rocket Ventures LLC.
The new partnership saves money that can now be pushed to entrepreneurs instead of duplicative backroom expenses. It has brought UT-IE and RGP employees together (literally in the same building on UT’s main campus) to share ideas and improve the region’s economic outlook.
Rocket Ventures serves as a philosophical model for our interactions with the City of Toledo, Lucas County, the Port Authority, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and so many other organizations working to grow the local economy. By building relationships and coordinating with each other as extensively as we have, more money, time and brainpower is invested in helping the innovator and the entrepreneur enter the marketplace.
Twice a year, UT’s Savage Arena is filled with well-educated graduates, many of whom would love to establish roots and careers in Northwest Ohio. It’s the mission of Innovation Enterprises to work with researchers and inventors, the public and private sectors and entrepreneurs from the area and across the globe to help create an environment where industries thrive by hiring the outstanding men and women earning their UT degrees.
In the past year, companies from Germany (TecnoSun Solar) and Spain (Isofotón) have established North American operations in Toledo. Whether in advanced or renewable energy, the health care industry, transportation and logistics, or other high-tech firms, UT-IE and our partners in the region are creating a tremendous return on investment that is bringing capital dollars, new industries and jobs to this region.
Lloyd Jacobs, my friend and UT’s president, has done much during his tenure to ensure the education the university offers maintains its relevance to the needs of students, employers and society holistically. UT’s work in economic development and its partnership with public and private organizations in the area and around the world is a natural extension of the increasingly interconnected societal role universities are being called upon to play.
As we look to greater successes each and every year moving forward, UT Innovation Enterprises is proud of the role we play to ensure a stronger future.
Rick Stansley is chairman of the board for University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises and previously served as a UT Board of Trustees member, including three years as its chairman. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.