University challenging: how inclusive capitalism breeds innovation

Innovation and new businesses go hand-in-hand, so why do universities in the UK and US struggle to build on students’ ideas? By installing an inclusive capitalism mindset we can boost the economy, nurture talent and build communities.

In New York City, Brooklyn really is the place where it’s all happening. It’s seen as a thriving cauldron of creativity, where startup businesses are booming and $billions are being invested to keep hold of the talent being produced there.

Over in Staten Island, they too have been quietly creating a buzz of their own. An educational research project is underway - the CSI Tech Incubator. This is a partnership programme between SMEs and the College of Staten Island, setting out to create a culture of innovation in the campus and within the neighbouring community. As a result, the borough is quickly transforming itself from a sleepy part of NYC into a charged hub of creativity that will create knock-on business activity.

A great example of this can be seen in the Cortex innovation district of St. Louis. They have created a joint venture between three universities, businesses, local media and a state botanical garden that has created an estimated 3,800 new tech jobs – with a projected boost of future developments worth $2 billion. These kinds of partnerships are nothing new. For years US universities have successfully married technological innovation with businesses and institutional investors, with MIT famously serving as a tech lab for Apple throughout the 1980s.

Today, the world has caught up with the trend. In the UK, Google has an ongoing collaboration with University College London  and Manchester University collaborates with MediaCity in nearby Salford. Most recently, Edinburgh University has formed a direct connection to the city’s bio-quarter and Newcastle University is the co-owner of the Helix, a launchpad for new ventures. 

However among the thousands of universities in both the UK and the US, a vast majority of them struggle to build on the new ideas that their students create. This is mainly due to a lack of businesses willing to back them with long-term funding. By encouraging the behaviour of Inclusive Capitalism, businesses can align themselves with universities’ goals of making societies better, more equal and help raise the economic value of the area.

Forming corporate partnerships with Universities

Innovation gives birth to business. When new business ideas are brought to life, there’s also a need for services to support employees—restaurants, coffeehouses, tech support shops, etc. This creates a ripple effect, as these same people need to live closer (creating a demand for housing), be able to live day-to-day (new retail developments) and travel to and from their destination (necessary infrastructure/transportation). By forming corporate partnerships with Universities that drives this innovation, companies are also providing streams of readily employable talent.

Stepping in to help fund university research provides a way for investors to nurture and multiply local talent while giving back to the community, valuing education, and generating long-term profits from their investment.

University-initiated innovation and startups are the lifeblood of any country’s future economy. Backing academic research is a way for companies not only to write the future, but to make it a better one for all.

By encouraging the behaviour of Inclusive Capitalism, businesses can align themselves with universities’ goals of making societies better, more equal and help raise the economic value of the area.

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