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Purdue Center for
Regional Development

EDA University Center

The purpose of the PCRD EDA (Economic Development Administration) University Center is to delineate, nurture and enhance Indiana’s regional economic ecosystems and regional innovation clusters. It is doing so by investing in five major opportunities.

  • Develop/Expand Cutting-Edge Online Data Tools
  • Engage Key Target Groups in Using and Refining RDM Tools
  • Produce Regional Economic Profiles and Other Informational Resources
  • Implement Programs that Build on Regional Opportunities
  • Strengthen Regional Collaboration and Innovation Networks

Opportunity 1

Develop/Expand Cutting-Edge Online Data Tools

The Center is focusing on an ongoing effort to refine and expand its Regional Decision Maker (RDM) data-driven platform. RDM is designed to help Indiana identify and regional innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization opportunities.

The UC is continuing to update and expand this dynamic and powerful decision-making tool. For example, existing RDM modules are being updated and new data items are being added on an ongoing basis. Plans are underway to develop map layers that will show geographic clustering for the industry and occupation clusters via the use of spatial statistical techniques. When fully launched, RDM will provide a set of value-added data layers and customized tools for use in supporting regional planning. View the RDM SlideDoc.

Opportunity 2

Engage Key Target Groups in Using and Refining RDM Tools

RDM represents a powerful tool for mapping regional assets and opportunities. But, ensuring that these tools are seen as a valuable, practical and user-friendly tool for guiding decision-making by regional and state leaders is equally important. As such, the UC is seeking to enhance the skills of individuals and groups that want to utilize the RDM. Activities being planned as part of Opportunity 2 include (1) Website Development & Launch, (2) Webinars and Face-to-Face Training, and (3) Technical Support. Collectively, these important activities are intended to help Purdue’s EDA University Center strengthen the relevance and utility of the RDM to key stakeholders.

Opportunity 3

Produce Regional Economic Profiles and Other Informational Resources

To maximize the value of the RDM to a wider array of people and organizations, our UC is developing and releasing a series of user-friendly Economic Profiles that offer regions a succinct, clearly written and visually attractive document that can guide their regional economic development plans and activities.

In addition, our Center is developing Information Briefs that are intended to provide regional planning councils, local economic development organizations (LEDOs), Small Business Development Centers, Extension educators, community colleges/technical schools, state/regional workforce investment boards, state legislative leaders/staffers and others with timely information on a variety of regional topics such as demographic, socioeconomic, education, economic and workforce development. The briefs will be approximately two pages in length, include visually effective graphs, charts and/or tables, and be written for lay audiences.

The Leading Edge Practices (LEEP) in Regional Development is a navigational tool designed to assist regions in learning from one another, leading to new strategies for accelerating innovation. Currently, LEEP includes a searchable Excel data base of over 1,400 regional economic initiatives from across the country. The initial layer of this tool provides basic information such as name of the organization, a brief description of the organization, the counties it serves and contact information.

Opportunity 4

Implement Programs that Build on Regional Opportunities

Introducing innovative programs that complement and add value to a region’s industry and occupational clusters is the focus of the fourth component of the Purdue EDA University Center. Among the activities being pursued are the following:

Economic Gardening

With the formal certification of a Purdue Economic Gardening team, efforts are underway to assist 5-10 second-stage firms for the purpose of detailing important growth strategies that these companies might adopt in the near future.

Entrepreneurship Academy

The EDA UC is lending advisory and financial support to the Purdue Entrepreneurship Academy. The Academy introduces high school students to the world of entrepreneurship during a week-long program. The exciting program culminates with a business plan competition during which teams present their capital needs and management plans to a panel of judges.

Stronger Economies Together (SET)

SET enables communities and counties in rural Indiana (and rural America) to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multicounty region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. New or existing regions that desire to have in-depth training and coaching assistance are encouraged to explore the possibility of adopting the SET program. View SET SlideDoc.

Technical Assistance Program (TAP)

Purdue's Technical Assistance Program (TAP) works with Indiana companies to improve performance through programs that utilize faculty, students and staff in nine statewide offices. TAP is working with the EDA UC to offer trainings and workshops in the areas of continuous improvement, quality/six sigma and leadership and understanding the assessment process for improving energy efficiency, as well as, assisting firms in the arena of Green Manufacturing.

Opportunity 5

Strengthen Regional Collaboration and Innovation Networks

The mainstay of the EDA University Center’s collaboration work centers on its Strategic Doing initiative. This program focuses on the use of regional networks to accelerate innovation and collaboration. Strategic Doing quickly develops sophisticated collaborations that help advance open innovation across organizational and political boundaries. Strategic Doing ignites the spark of regional innovation and enables people in loosely-joined, open networks to think and act strategically. The program is being offered to Indiana's regional leaders who want to transform their economies by leveraging their regional innovation assets. View Strategic Doing SlideDoc.

The Purdue EDA UC is partnering and supporting the Indiana Small Business Development Center’s Companies-to-Watch Program. This program showcases the pivotal role of second-stage firms to employment growth and prosperity in Indiana. Our center is reaching out to the Companies-to-Watch winners and applicants to take part in our EDA University Center sponsored webinars that provide information on business and economic development growth strategies.