U of I turns attention to economic development
By Chad Nationn/ World-Herald News Service
There’s no magic bullet to build a better local economy, but producing homegrown small businesses and entrepreneurs is a good start.
The University of Iowa is reaching out to communities across the state in an effort to help local businesses thrive.
Dan Reed, vice president of research and economic development, and David Hensley, interim associate vice president for economic development at Iowa, sat down Thursday for a round-table discussion with area business leaders at Iowa Western Community College to discuss the role the university can play in helping economic development in southwest Iowa.
Reed — who came to Iowa last year after serving as the vice president of global technology at Microsoft — said the university needs to do a better job reaching out to communities across the state.
Reed said the workforce is ever-changing and the notion of someone graduating from college, getting a job and staying at that job long-term is gone, and likely not coming back.
“Whatever you know now is unlikely to be economically valuable in 10 years,” he said. “The key is: How can we continue to refresh skills in a world where whole economic structures are dismantled in a couple of years?”
Increasing and acquiring skills is a possibility, but entrepreneurs inventing their own jobs that fit their skills is even better, he said.
Reed said as a state, Iowa needs to “inject a little more risk tolerance.”
“Most start-ups fail,” he said. “But you can fail in glorious ways or inglorious ways. Serial entrepreneurs keep trying and realize it’s not a badge of shame to fail.”
Terry Murrell, President of Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) and Dan Reed, UI VP for Research & Economic Development, discuss prototyping and economic partnerships at WITCC in Sioux City, IA.