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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

Indiana Business Research Center receives grant

The Economic Development Administration awarded $499,977 to the Indiana Business Research Center at the Kelley School of Business. The grant will go toward furthering the development of statsamerica.org, the website run by the center.

“The grant has several moving pieces, but in the main it is to provide a resource to EDA for their comprehensive economic development strategies, or CEDS,” said Timothy Slaper, director of economic analysis at the Indiana Business Research Center.

EDA grants help to fulfill regional economic development strategies designed to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship, advance regional competitiveness, create higher-skill living-wage jobs, generate private investment, and fortify and grow industry clusters, according to the EDA website.

Any region can apply for EDA funding, but it must have one of these CEDS in place. The EDA also requires a region to scrutinize its socioeconomic data and come up with a strategy on how its would use EDA 
resources.

“EDA’s focus is on those that are kind of boots on the ground trying to generate jobs and economic vitality in their region,” Slaper said.

The grant will allow the center to support and expand StatsAmerica, an online database and website used nationwide.

Its goal is to provide actionable data for economic developers to use in site requests, developing metrics, grant writing and strategic planning.

It collects its data from dozens of federal and state sources, as well as some commercial or private source data, according to the StatsAmerica website.

“StatsAmerica brings a powerful suite of data tools to the fingertips of economic developers and policy-makers across the nation,” Bryan Borlik, director of performance and national programs at the U.S. Economic Development Administration, said in an IU press release.

The site houses many other websites, with each tile on the homepage linked to a different website.

“StatsAmerica is an aggregation of many websites,” Slaper said. “Some of which are IBRC generated and hosted. Some of them are not. They’re also ones that EDA has funded that they’ve asked us to provide a link.”

Since anyone can access all the data in one place, it makes it more convenient for economic development practitioners because it gives them free data at the click of a button rather than having them spend hours searching for it, Slaper said.

“We’re trying to make it as painless as possible,” he said.

The grant provides the center with a piece of funding and continues the relationship with EDA. The grant also allows the center to figure out how it can better help economic development practitioners in the field.

“So, it kind of helps continue to buoy our street creds in that area of practice, if you will,” Slaper said.

The Indiana Business Research Center provides and interprets economic information used by Indiana’s businesses, government and organizations. It also provides that information to those nationwide who are interested.

Slaper said one of IU’s goals is to encourage economic vitality. The grant helps the University in terms of that external 
engagement.

“It does show that we’ve got some muscle, clout and prominence in terms of engaging outside of the University wall,” Slaper said. “We’re supposed to engage, you know, the broader state. It’s not just simply doing research and educating students.”

Alisa Wood, assistant director for external relations and funding opportunities at the IBRC, said the IBRC is pleased to have a collaborative partnership with the EDA in its work for 
StatsAmerica.

“The EDA grant awarded is a testament of the valuable work that the IBRC continues to yield for stakeholders not only in Indiana but across the nation,” Wood said.

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