Michael Brandy, Deseret News
OREM — The state's newest university has announced an ambitious plan to stimulate business development in Utah County.
Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland Friday detailed a seven-point initiative he said would lead efforts to invigorate the area's economy through the creation of strong relationships between UVU and local businesses.
Holland unveiled the plan at the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce First Friday Forum breakfast in the UVU Sorensen Student Center. He said the initiatives are designed to maximize the university's economic impact in the Utah Valley region and make the school and its students "economically indispensable."
"It's a win-win situation for everyone all around … to be able to connect with the students and help them achieve their goals, while helping the businesses achieve their goals as well," said Rona Rahlf, Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce chairwoman-elect.
During his presentation, Holland outlined each of the following points:
1. Development of a UVU Office of Technology and Commercialization to help shape viable business models for intellectual property entrepreneurs
2. Implementing new entrepreneur initiatives, including a Small Business Resource Center
3. Emphasizing educational rigor — to continually improve the university's academic curriculum
4. Continuing the dialogue between UVU and the business community to ensure that graduates meet current industry demands and local employment needs
5. Establishing UVU as a leader for economic cluster initiatives put forth by the Governor's Office of Economic Development
6. Early development of career pathways for students — to help them target a field or area of study as soon as possible
7. China Studies Expertise — emphasizing courses of study focusing on the importance of China as an emerging force in the global economy
"We've already refined and begun to implement most of these recommendations, and we'll continue to pour our energy and best thought into this process because we know it will have a very positive affect on the local economy and the university itself," Holland said.
The initiatives were formulated by a 50-member panel of business and community leaders from Utah and Wasatch counties. The committee was chaired by Fraser Bullock — co-founder and managing director of Sorenson Capital — and Greg Butterfield, managing partner of SageCreek Partners.
"Some of the brightest minds in our state came up with these strategies," Holland said. "We are confident they will enhance our role as a driver of economic development in Utah Valley and beyond."
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