University Economic Development Association

2023 Finalists

Awards of Excellence Finalists

Congratulations to the 2023 UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists. Leading initiatives from across North America compete in a six-month process, including application, peer review, online presentations, and, ultimately, selection by attendees of the annual UEDA Summit as category leaders. These projects represent the top university-based economic development initiatives in the country, as judged by their peers.


Talent includes the spectrum of knowledge transfer activities by which universities educate people, developing human capital for the 21st century Knowledge Economy. This category includes life-long learning, both degree and non-degree programs, experiential education and discovery-based learning programs, active alignment of curricula to industry needs, etc.

Indiana University East

In Your Business – YouTube

University of Michigan-Flint EDA University Center for Community & Economic Development

Young Sharks and Junior Sharks Youth Entrepreneurship, Economics, and Innovation Program

University of Notre Dame – CATEGORY LEADER

Urban Poverty and Business Initiative (UPBI)


Innovation begins with basic research, but then builds on knowledge creation to encompass knowledge transfer and application in ways that are useful and relevant to society. This category encompasses basic research; applied, translational, problem-oriented, and industry-contracted R&D; cooperative extension services; technology transfer; etc.

Center for Business and Economic Development, University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez – CATEGORY LEADER

Area-Emprendedora (Area-E), A Small Business Incubator and Accelerator Program

Iowa State University

Manufacturing 4.0: Driving Change in Iowa

University of Georgia

University of Georgia and Truist Community Innovation Initiative


Place is defined as the many and diverse ways in which institutions contribute to making attractive, competitive communities—places where people want to live, create and take jobs, raise their families, participate in civic life, and age and retire. Competitive, successful communities and regions are attentive to the health, education, environment, housing, safety, and entertainment needs of community members. Campuses and sites like research parks are components of place-making, but the focus of this definition is broader, on communities, or even on regions.

Georgia Southern University

Georgia Grown Innovation Center

San Juan College

Harvest University Center

University of Georgia – CATEGORY LEADER

Planning Rural Opportunities for Prosperity and Economic Leadership (PROPEL) Capacity Building Program

University of Kentucky

Cornerstone Community Innovation Partnership

Engaged University

This category recognizes initiatives that demonstrate excellence in linking all three legacy award categories. Projects included successfully engage multiple community partners to link, leverage and connect efforts in Talent, Innovation, and Place.

Culver-Stockton College – CATEGORY LEADER

Tri-State Development at Culver-Stockton College

The University of Texas at Dallas

Building Smart Community Partnerships with the Richardson IQHQ

Virginia Tech

Growth and Opportunity Virginia – Region 2

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

This category recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in a community. Projects in this category attempt to make their communities more equitable by creating opportunities for historically underserved populations, including but not limited to communities of color, unemployed and underemployed workers, persons with disabilities, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, veterans and military spouses, and other groups facing labor market barriers.

Dallas College

Creating the Anchor Institution Strategy with Equitable Economic Development

UMKC Innovation Center (KCSourceLink)

CEO-to-CEO Challenge

University of Northern Iowa – CATEGORY LEADER

The Black Capital Projects