University Economic Development Association

Finalists Representing Leading Economic Development Initiatives Across North America, to Present at the UEDA Summit

The 2021 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists have been chosen from a group of highly impactful and creative programs and initiatives. Higher education institutions and organizations across North America submit nominations annually for innovative programs that focus on developing economic prosperity in their communities and beyond. A panel of university and economic development professionals have chosen 21 finalists from the group of nominated projects.

The UEDA Awards are designed to validate and promote these programs, and to encourage their adoption by other institutions and communities. Program categories include: Innovation, Talent, and Place, as well as the intersections of these three categories.

Here are this year’s finalists:


  • James Madison University – JMU/BRCC/Merck Public Private Partnership in Workforce Development
  • University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center Program – HITmethods: Growing Renewable Health and Economic Development Solutions
  • University of North Dakota Center for Innovation – Legendary Leaders In Innovation

Innovation + Talent

  • Florida Atlantic University – Building an Innovation Pipeline
  • University of Alaska Center for Economic Development – The Failure // Resilience Project
  • University of Iowa – Venture School Entrepreneurial Training Program
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh – gener8tor Upskilling


  • Georgia Tech – Downtown Development Strategic Assessment
  • University of Kentucky – Coldstream Research Campus P3 Development
  • Western Illinois University – IL. Institute for Rural Affairs – Rural Fresh Markets

Place + Innovation

  • Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group – Innovation Incubator (I2)
  • University of Georgia – Georgia Broadband Map
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City – Building Bridges for Just-In-Time Small Business Support
  • Wichita State University – FTRC and MRO Mod Facility


  • America’s SBDC New Jersey (NJSBDC) – NJSBDC: The Pandemic & The Pivot
  • California State University Northridge – The AIMS^2 Program at CSUN
  • WiSys / UW System – The University as a Talent Engine: Fostering Entrepreneurial Skills & Talent

Talent + Place

  • Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group – Georgia Southern Fabrication Laboratory
  • Tennessee Tech University, Office of Research and Economic Development – Rural Reimagined Grand Challenge
  • University of Georgia – Cherokee Workforce Collaborative
  • University of Virginia’s College at Wise – Rally SWVA: Placemaking and Building Leadership Capacity in Rural Southwest Virginia

Don’t miss your chance to hear from each finalist during the UEDA Summit on September 19-21 in Savannah, Georgia! Be sure to participate in category roundtables during the Summit to vote for your favorite projects. The category leaders will be announced during the Summit on Tuesday evening at the Awards Banquet.