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Mary Kate Naatus, Mike Caslin, Joe Szocik, Tony DiMarco, Len Green

Universities as Place-Makers in the Local Economy

Colleges can play a critical role in sustainable regional development by expanding their historical role as anchor institutions. This expansion could take the form of a ‘knowledge economy” update on the land grant college model. Land grant colleges were established to provide practical skills training to farmers, mechanics and other tradesmen. Providing education in innovation, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship can prepare both students and adult learners for well-paying careers in the place-based economy. Place-making as an economic development strategy, also called place-based economic development, is the practice of using a community’s public amenities to make economic progress. This approach focuses on the unique features of particular places, building on existing assets, such as arts, cultural amenities, parks, architectural design, lakes or walkable streets to create a strong bond between people and the places they live, contributing to the appeal of these places to live, work and socialize. Effective place-making strategies can also attract investment and be a catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation. Our strategic approach to place based development will include the pipeline system developed by Lyons and Lichtenstein along with cross sector collaboration. The Pipeline Methodology facilitates thinking about commercial or business entrepreneurship and its relationship to community economic development. The Pipeline integrates on-going skill development of social entrepreneurs with a framework for assisting enterprises to successfully move through the business life cycle e.g. formulation to maturity. Cross sector collaboration has been featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) for its ability to scale up social impact. The Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN) has developed a “prac-ademic” education system that has emphasized 4P Impact by adding “Place” to the more widespread triple bottom line formula of People, planet, profit, and can be a useful tool for colleges and universities to engage in place-based economic development. Adding “Place” to create 4P Impact reflects Johanna Mair’s (IESE Business School , Spain) insight that “The defining purpose of social entrepreneurship, regardless of the financial model is to effect social change by altering the social, economic, and political day to day realities at the local level.” This proposed paper for the 2018 IAJBS conference will examine social entrepreneurship educational program design that has the embedded goal of place-based economic development built into the program’s outcomes. The paper will incorporate survey responses from college administrators, entrepreneurs and local government officials in 2 communities on the east coast. We will examine the role that universities play as important anchor institutions in local and regional ecosystems, in maximizing collaboration and collective impact, particularly when there is broader support for place-making as a crucial component of economic development planning. GCSEN and Saint Peter’s University intend to explore the interest of local colleges to collaboratively adopt GCSEN’s Social Entrepreneur Systems Institute place-based college model to promote economic development in the State of NJ.