Institute for Economic Development awarded $700K for business program

Institute for Economic Development

Institute for Economic Development, UTSA Downtown Campus

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(Jan. 21, 2010)--The UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) was awarded a two-year $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant will fund a new Sustainable Business Program that will assist South Texas businesses with comprehensive emergency preparedness and sustainable business development.

Targeted areas include Bexar, Nueces, San Patricio, Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties. The major components of the sustainable business model are effective disaster preparedness, efficient business operations and reduced environmental impacts.

"Our goal is to bring small businesses into the emerging green economy and provide technical assistance to ensure their success," said Linda Ramirez, director of the Institute for Economic Development's Contracting Resource Center, which will house the new program.

In addition to the Contracting Resource Center, two other IED centers will contribute expertise to the Sustainable Business Program. These are the Center for Community and Business Research and the Southwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center. As part of the grant, UTSA students from the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture will work to help local manufacturers improve energy use efficiencies.

"A sustainable business is a more competitive business in terms of survivability through a disaster in the worst case and in terms of becoming more efficient and profitable in the best case," said Robert McKinley, UTSA associate vice president for economic development. "Environmentally friendly business practices can be an advantage, and that is one way we can help South Texas businesses grow."

The University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development provides professional business consultation, technical training, research and strategic planning services to help establish and grow small businesses.

The institute comprises 10 programs that serve the Texas-Mexico border area as well as regional, national and international outreach efforts. Together with federal, state and local governments and private businesses, the Institute for Economic Development fosters economic and community development in support of UTSA's community engagement mission.