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Kauffman Foundation awards $3 million to Syracuse University and its partners to take Scholarship in Action to next level
Kauffman Foundation awards $3 million to Syracuse University and its partners to take Scholarship in Action to next levelDecember 14, 2006Kevin C. Quinnkcquinn@syr.edu
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today awarded Syracuse University a five-year, $3-million grant that will allow SU, along with a collaborative team of academic and community partners, to take the next major step in advancing the vision of Scholarship in Action throughout the Central New York region.
The Kauffman grant will support the “Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative” — a collaborative partnership that will build on the key tenets of Scholarship in Action by encouraging faculty and students throughout Central New York to work with communities of experts across disciplines and geographic boundaries to foster entrepreneurial education and innovation through three key areas: technology, neighborhood and arts entrepreneurship.
SU, along with its partners, is one of just nine colleges and universities across the nation to receive the grant, which was announced today as part of the Kauffman Campuses Initiative — an effort to transform the way entrepreneurship education is taught in the nation’s college and universities.
“Syracuse University, along with the other new Kauffman Campuses schools, will empower all students on campus to access the skills, orientation and networks that can lead to greater individual opportunities and to the creation of jobs, innovation and prosperity for America,” says Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation.
Beginning in January 2007, SU will lead a coalition of academic and community partners that includes Cayuga Community College (CCC); Le Moyne College; Morrisville State College; Onondaga Community College (OCC); the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF); the Central New York Community Foundation; The Gifford Foundation; the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce; Messenger Associates Inc.; and National Grid.
“We are proud and excited to be one of just nine institutions in the nation selected by the Kaufmann Foundation to receive this transformational grant,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “This award is perfectly aligned with our vision of Scholarship in Action in which faculty and students across disciplines join with communities of experts to find innovative solutions to the pressing issues we face. The Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative will allow us to embed an entrepreneurial mindset across our campus and throughout the region and leverage the educational, business and cultural capital in Central New York in ways that will truly transform our communities.”
The Initiative will have three key physical anchors in the region, which will serve as collaborative experiential sites: the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, The Warehouse and the Arts Quarter in downtown Syracuse, and the South Side Innovation Center. It is expected to bring visible changes to the Central New York region, such as the formation of new ventures, improved entrepreneurial skills in the local business community and key not-for-profit organizations, and revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods by fostering entrepreneurship. Impact across coalition campuses and in the community will be assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively.
“The Kauffman grant is another step in advancing the University’s vision of Scholarship in Action, which encourages our students and faculty to become a catalyst for positive change in their communities,” says John Couri, chair of SU’s Board of Trustees. “This new initiative is very exciting because it will further allow SU and our academic and community partners to tap our collective strength and power to help advance and create new innovation and new opportunity in the Central New York region.”
“I am thrilled that a nationally prominent foundation like Kauffman has deemed our plan worthy of major recognition and significant financial support,” says Marilyn Higgins, vice president of economic development for National Grid. “This group of partners `gets it.’ They understand that we need closer connections between our colleges and communities to make real progress, and they’re committed to breaking down the old walls and barriers to get there.”
The Initiative will apply the principles and practice of entrepreneurship through disciplined investment across interdependent “entrepreneurship clusters,” leveraging the recognized strengths of each partner to address the pressing needs of the region.
Each cluster includes faculty and students from different academic fields on each campus and community members from a wide variety of professions. New investments by SU and its partners will leverage synergies in and between three interrelated “clusters” for entrepreneurial education and innovation:
Technology Entrepreneurship: Anchored at the Center of Excellence, this cluster will focus on the most traditional form of entrepreneurship — the transformation of ideas and technologies into growth-oriented start-up companies, with green technologies a special focus. Examples of actives that will be undertaken include:
- a new experiential site, at which students from all campuses are embedded in start-up or established green technology companies at different stages of the entrepreneurial process such as idea generation, research, product development and manufacturing; and
- creation of an Entrepreneurship Corps of graduate students, faculty and alumni who are active in Green Entrepreneurship and address environmentally related problems facing the region.
Neighborhood Entrepreneurship: Anchored at the South Side Innovation Center, this cluster will focus on the creation of neighborhood businesses while building a community in which residents are economically independent and deeply engaged in innovative schools, community organizations and entrepreneurial local government. Examples of activities that will be undertaken include:
- a new “Commercial Product Development Kitchen” at the South Side Innovation Center, where South Side residents can turn recipes into marketable products, along with creation of a community newspaper and a food/grocery co-op; and
- creation of a new youth entrepreneurship initiative to encourage at-risk young people to become budding entrepreneurs. The program will be connected to the current Partnership for Better Education program and include in-school student programs, seminars for high school teachers, `entrepreneurship and business’ learning communities in city high schools, and a major Young Entrepreneurs Seminar each year.
Arts Entrepreneurship: Anchored at The Warehouse and the Arts Quarter in downtown Syracuse, this cluster will help artists launch sustainable ventures while advancing the arts and integrating art into all aspects of community life, thereby attracting professionals and firms that thrive in a vibrant cultural setting. Examples of activities that will be undertaken include:
- creation of an Artist Relocation Program that offers cultural and financial incentives for arts and culture entrepreneurs to live and create new enterprises in Syracuse; and
- building on the Connective Corridor initiative, entrepreneurial teams will develop innovative arts and design concepts and support creation of related businesses to provide a cohesive link for revitalizing the Corridor; this could include creation of public art, diversification of traditional and technology artist galleries, and creation of niche galleries that would provide an opportunity to be at the forefront of both the practical technology and cultural arts fusion movement.
Each cluster will inform development of innovative interdisciplinary curricula across coalition campuses, helping to blur boundaries between academic disciplines and between the campuses and the region to provide students and faculty with unique, firsthand experience of the power and potential of entrepreneurship.
“This broad reaching institutional and community partnership has incredible potential to make higher education more relevant and also make a difference in our region,” says Morrisville State College President Raymond W. Cross. “It builds beautifully on Morrisville’s partnership with the South Side Innovation Center and is a great opportunity for our institutions to come together to further advance innovation.”
The objective of the Initiative is to — in a strategic and disciplined way — integrate an entrepreneurial perspective into every college and school on the SU campus, within the partner institutions and into the Central New York community. Specific curricular goals include:
- assisting students in all disciplines to become aware of their innate entrepreneurial potential;
- demonstrating the relevance of entrepreneurship to different disciplines and majors;
- encouraging students to act on their entrepreneurial potential by identifying emerging opportunities for value creation within their disciplines;
- engaging students and faculty members in the pursuit of entrepreneurial projects that directly impact the region; and
- helping to stimulate the region with the power and energy of entrepreneurship.
“We know there’s an entrepreneurial spirit sweeping across college campuses today, and we’re thrilled to build on this momentum so that entrepreneurship becomes a natural and vital aspect of the American education experience,” says Judith Cone, the Kauffman Foundation’s vice president of entrepreneurship. “Our goal is to make the entire university system more entrepreneurial.”
As part of the initiative, SU will create a Center for Experiential Learning in Entrepreneurship Education, which will coordinate a centralized system of faculty/student/community experiences in each of the three clusters, blending partner institutions’ entrepreneurial outreach projects more fully into the curricula on each campus. The Center will link all partners with experiential opportunities, in the region as well as nationally/internationally, and also transform information collected at the sites into knowledge that can be shared with partners and with the entrepreneurship community.
The Initiative includes plans to host a major annual national research conference in entrepreneurship beginning in 2008. This conference will attract entrepreneurship researchers from around the world to Syracuse. The products of the annual conferences will include an annual volume of proceedings; research symposia for major entrepreneurship journals in certain years; edited volumes on specific entrepreneurship topics in certain years; and research briefs on each year’s theme for wide public dissemination.
SU was selected for the Kauffman Campuses Initiative grant based on a series of criteria, including the ability to create a culture of entrepreneurship that permeates the campus, the potential to create new representative models, and the ability to partner with other foundations and funding partners.
The Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at http://www.kauffman.org.