University Economic Development Association

Ecosystem Engagement

Stronger Ecosystems Create Stronger Regions

Engaged universities and institutions of higher education rely on integrated networks – mutually beneficial partnerships – to produce talent, innovation, and stewardship of place. With economic and community recovery emerging as a primary concern for many regions, UEDA strives to offer cross-collaborative opportunities that ensure equity, invention, and sustainable regional partnerships between institutions of higher learning and private partners moving into the post-crisis future. To foster inspiration, education, and entrepreneurship among current and future UEDA members, and to facilitate connection between current and emerging ecosystems, UEDA has developed an Ecosystem Engagement program to play a meaningful role in equitable community recovery and the catalyzation of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Our Goal

As a result of recognizing and structuring dedicated programming for ecosystems, UEDA strives to provide resources that will create more collaborative, sustainable, and engaged systems to deliver regional outputs of talent, innovation, and place-development.

How to Get Engaged

There are three ways to engage your ecosystem as part of UEDA:

1.) Register Your Ecosystem with UEDA

This provides a record of your ecosystem as a   dedicated network of engagement and will showcase the system on our map. After registering, we’ll include you on ecosystem-related communications.

2.) Enroll Your Ecosystem as a Member of UEDA

Ecosystem memberships include multiple organizations and individuals working together, using a UEDA membership as a catalyst and resource for collaboration. Join today! Learn more about UEDA Member Benefits.

3.) Participate in our Ecosystems Design Network

Ecosystems that engage at this level benefit from strategic guidance to build capacity and ensure ecosystem sustainability. This is a rolling program conducted as funding is available. Participants receive a special designation as a UEDA Ecosystem.

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What is an Ecosystem?

Ecosystems are collaboratives of organizations and individuals who are working to advance entrepreneurship, innovation, and more within a region. UEDA ecosystems include at least one institution of higher education, often playing a coordinating or facilitative role. Ecosystems can be a state-wide higher education system, but typically are regional in nature and include organizations in addition to higher education institutions. The critical element of an ecosystem is collaboration—where organizations and individuals are working together to advance a particular geography.

Why is UEDA Focused on Ecosystems?

Economic engagement is not conducted in silos. It takes many organizations working together to advance regional economies. Therefore UEDA, with an interest in advancing higher education economic engagement, must consider the systems where those institutions are collaborating. Ecosystem engagement involves current UEDA member institutions (IHEs, businesses, and economic development organizations), but remains receptive to the participation of first-time UEDA collaborators and ecosystems operating in the areas of entrepreneurial incubation, economic development, mentoring, and more. As part of this broader initiative, UEDA is focused on the development of an “network of ecosystems,” allowing UEDA member institutions and others to work within their own regional ecosystem to formulate ideas, then expand communication and collaboration to a broader national network to share ideas across multiple regional ecosystems and contexts. Stronger ecosystems create stronger regions. Along the way, UEDA organizes and facilitates workshops, educational seminars, and dialogue-/resource-rich programming to sustain connections between UEDA members and ecosystems, and to formulate teachable best practices. See our Ecosystems Design Network below for more information.

Why is Ecosystem Engagement Important?

Institutions of higher education enhance the reputation and economic competitiveness of their regions by fostering research, innovation, talent development, and quality of place. They are one of several major players within any given regional ecosystem and – like businesses and economic development organizations – invariably benefit from concerted collaborations geared towards community and economic recovery. Recognizing that higher education ecosystems and entrepreneurial ones are inextricably linked and, in some ways, interdependent, UEDA’s Ecosystems Design Network offers opportunities for regional institutions and organizations to communicate and collaborate towards shared goals for the betterment of their communities, particularly in times of recovery. Without ecosystem development, engagement, and optimization, regions risk stagnancy, a lack of innovation, and bypass opportunities to cohesively collaborate on a shared vision for the future of their region.

University Economic Development Association

PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
216.200.UEDA (8332)