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Vol. 10 No. 2

Institutions of Higher Education as Engines of Small Business Development

November 10, 2010


Universities today exert an ever-increasing stimulus to
small business development, contributing to national and local
economic development as the general economy becomes
increasingly knowledge-based. The transition to a knowledgebased
economy, coupled with the passage of the Bayh-Dole
Act in 1980, has resulted in stronger university-industry partnerships
in technology transfer, promotion of business incubators,
and entrepreneurship development. Today, over two-thirds of
all licenses and options executed annually by academic institutions
are conducted with small businesses; in 2002, academic
discoveries led to the formation of 450 companies, and 569
products based on university research were made commercially
available. At the local level, about 25 percent of business incubators
are sponsored by universities, while institutions of higher
education are also emerging as major players in local community
revitalization and economic development through funding
from federal agencies including HUD, Labor, Commerce, and
the SBA.