New Business Enterprise Institute at University of Alaska Anchorage: seeing more effective statewide engagement with business community.

Author:Klouda, Nolan

The Alaska business community will soon receive new and improved support from the state's university system. University of Alaska leadership recently announced the creation of the Business Enterprise Institute (BEI), a new University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) unit that will place nearly all of the system's business and economic development programs under one roof. The institute will be located at UAA's Bragaw Office Complex at 1901 Bragaw Road in Anchorage. The mission of the BEI is to develop and diversify the economy of Alaska. In addition, the BEI will improve coordination, collaboration, and innovation of services available to Alaska's business community.

The institute is well-positioned to address the needs of Alaska businesses--large and small. The BEI brings together the Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the UA Center for Economic Development (UACED), and their constituent programs. Christi Bell, previously the executive director of the Center for Economic Development, has been named Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of the BEI.

"With the formation of the Business Enterprise Institute, UAA is placing itself firmly on the road to greater engagement with state industry," Provost Elisha "Bear" Baker states. "This new unit combines an incredible depth of expertise and will improve on service coordination and administrative efficiency. The message to businesses and economic development organizations is clear: the University is ready to have a more productive partnership with industry, support development that sustains Alaska's communities and economic growth, and better serve the people of Alaska to grow and diversify the state's economy."

Providing a Platform

Bell believes the BEI will provide a platform for high-level consultancy between industry and the university and will serve as a one-stop bridge to the wealth of expertise and talent across the entire University of Alaska system. Bell states she is "excited to lead a dynamic team of professionals that together represent a full suite of services capable of supporting the growth of innovative strategies across Alaska."

The united entities all share complimentary attributes that will allow for greater organizational synergies and better service to clients. These programs include the following:

UA Center for Economic Development: The UACED's mission has been to leverage university expertise to support economic development efforts across the state, specifically...

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