On June 9th, Paula Nas, Director of the office of Economic Development at UM-Flint, testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology‘s Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The hearing, entitled “Building Regional Innovation Economies” focused on understanding how all Americans can participate in the innovation economy, with a particular emphasis on providing equal opportunities for historically underrepresented groups and rural communities.
In her testimony, Nas highlighted the work of the UM-Flint Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center, noting that “as a trusted partner in the community, our EDA University Center often serves as the entry point for innovators who might not otherwise attempt to move their ideas forward.” Nas’ testimony explained the benefits of providing opportunities to potential innovators in marginalized communities. Nas highlighted the impact of the UM-Flint’s EDA University Center on a community member who developed a technology to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. With the Center’s support, the individual plans to launch an emerging technology company. Nas also emphasized the importance of introducing innovation education at an early age in order to mold future innovators, giving particular praise to programs like Young Sharks, a program run by UM-Flint that helps elementary students develop entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, Nas testified that universities should serve an important role in the development of innovation economies through removing barriers to access and participation.
A recording of the hearing can be found here.