Enhancing growth and building prosperity through entrepreneurship, innovation, and community engagement Main Content
Established 30 years ago, the Office of Economic and Regional Development (OERD) serves as the university’s primary business and community development outreach arm. OERD has a history of success in enhancing growth and building prosperity throughout southern Illinois. SIU has been supporting the region’s entrepreneurs in job creation, enterprise development and expansion, and strengthening the rural southern Illinois economy since 1985 with the establishment of the Small Business Development Center. Staff expertise in business start-up and expansion, conventional financing, business consulting, and entrepreneurship training have made this program one of the most successful in Illinois. With the addition of the Small Business Incubator in 1990 and the formation of Southern Illinois Research Park in 2001, the University added a focus on advancing research and innovation and increasing technology jobs in southern Illinois. Technology entrepreneurship training, youth and collegiate entrepreneurship, and the Saluki Innovation Lab are key successes of this unit. Additionally, Community Development and Outreach efforts are focused on making communities more prosperous and healthy through collaborative engagement and greater connectivity in southern Illinois. Key partners include Champion Community Investments, the Connect SI Foundation and the SIUC Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, to name a few.