UA prominent in federal report on entrepreneurship and innovation


November is National Entrepreneurship Month, and The University of Akron is helping to lead the way in innovation in the United States, according to the federal government.

A major U.S. Department of Commerce report on innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education puts UA right at the top – in the second sentence of its Executive Summary and throughout the full report.

Dr. Luis M. Proenza

The report, "The Innovation and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship In Focus," details how colleges and universities around the country have engaged in a comprehensive set of programs to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship among their students, faculty and communities with the goal of supporting industry and the regional economy. The report was released Nov. 6 by Commerce's Office of Economic Development Administration and is a result of university collaboration with Commerce's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

UA embraces role as regional catalyst

"It's fitting that this report be released during National Entrepreneurship Month, and that The University of Akron figures prominently in it," says UA President Luis M. Proenza. "Throughout the past decade, the University has evolved into a regional catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by moving great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to create jobs and economic growth. I'm gratified that the U.S. Department of Commerce has recognized the hard work of everyone at the University to help spur job creation in Ohio and throughout the nation."

The Akron Regional CHange Angels Network, or ARCHAngels, which brings investors together with market-driven, technology-based investment opportunities, was cited in the report. The network, established by UA and The University of Akron Research Foundation in 2005, focuses on health care, information technology, and polymers and advanced materials.

Proenza says several collective achievements with local partners have contributed to the success of The Akron Model. Along with the ARCHAngels, he cites The University of Akron Research Foundation with more than 55 start-up companies; UA as one of the founding partners of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA); the National Polymer Innovation Center and its partnerships with ABIA and researchers in local business and industry; the Timken Engineered Surfaces Lab partnership with The Timken Company; and the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion Materials Performance.

National recognition for efforts

This isn't the first time UA has been cited nationally for its efforts in driving economic development in Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Earlier this year, UA was highlighted in two similar reports, one by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "A Report of the MIT Task Force on Innovation and Production." In that study, pointing to UA's recent collaboration with The Timken Company to establish the Timken Engineered Surfaces Lab on campus, MIT scholars suggested that a renewed commitment to research and development in manufacturing, sometimes through creative new forms of collaboration, can spur innovation and growth in the U.S. as a whole.

The other report, "Best Practices in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives: Competing in the 21st Century," by National Academies Press, cites UA and other Ohio universities and how they are responding to the challenges of fostering regional growth and employment in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Media contact: Laura Massie, 330-972-6476 or