UCAP is an economic development partnership between businesses and higher education in which the resources of higher education and other community and state partners are leveraged and aligned, with the objective of stimulating growth in strategic areas of the economy.
The UCAP alliance with Southern Utah University, after a long process involving much study, will focus on the development of small business using economic gardening techniques.
Michael T. Benson President of SUU said that small business is the main job creator in the area as well as the nation and to focus on small businesses is the best way to improve the local economy.
He continued to say that in large cities the focus is always on large corporations, “But here our bread and butter is the small business.”
John Westwood, candidate for Utah House of Representatives District 72 (election results were not in at press deadline), said the resources offered to existing and potentially new businesses through UCAP and The SUU Business Resource Center are vital and he would like to see more people made aware of them and taking advantage of them.
Four strategies were unveiled of exactly how SUU will help with the growth of small businesses including helping with economic gardening, which was explained by Regional Services Executive Director Wes Curtis to be a trademark term describing a targeted strategy to focus on businesses that are on a growth trajectory and have a desire to grow.
Curtis said if local businesses feel they fit that description then they should contact the Small Business Development Center and “we will connect you with resources you never imagined existed.”
Mac Urie, owner of small businesses Delta Disaster Services and Urie Company Construction, said “Businesses around here would benefit immensely if they knew of all the resources offered at the (SUU) Business (resource) Center that are free and available to them.”
The primary focus of the UCAP strategies are expected to focus on technological companies, but all companies with a desire to grow could benefit from the strategies and resources offered through UCAP.
The strategies that will be implemented to accelerate small business growth in the area in addition to economic gardening are: A region-specific economic data service that will allow local small businesses access to analysis and data providing them the opportunity to make informed business decisions; SUU offering a certificate program in entrepreneurship and small business management, which will consist of course offerings such as entrepreneurship, accounting, marketing, and finance; the development of a small business internship program that will match students to the specific needs of local businesses, thus providing the human capitol needed to move any company forward; and hosting and sponsoring entrepreneurship forums initially focusing on companies with a technological emphasis.
Further information can be found by contacting the SUU Business Resource Center located on Main Street in Cedar City’s downtown.