Establishing a relationship with a major university through email and networking events is analogous to seeing a major museum in a couple of hours. You can say you’ve been there, but you miss a lot.

Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) main campus just 3 miles from Deerfield Beach City Hall. FAU’s Undergrad enrollment in the fall of 2020 was 25,562.  FAU offers more than 6,000 undergraduate research activities, 28 combine bachelor’s to master’s programs, and 4,800, annual intern placements. The University also hosts the Research Park at FAU (an independent public authority,) FAU’s Tech Runway, a public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies, and one of 9 regional Florida State Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) responsible for all SBDC activity in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

The DB-EDC’s collaborative” beachhead” with the FAU began 4 years ago at the Research Park at FAU.  The Research Park at FAU is governed by the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority (FARDA,) an independent special district created by Florida Atlantic University in partnership with Palm Beach and Broward counties.

The Research Park acts is a bridge between the private sector (Venture Capital, Mentors and Market Place) and top talent form FAU’s schools of Business, Research, and Engineering.

The parks tenants are growing companies that have reached requisite market place thresholds established by the park

Introductions from Senior Staff at the Park to tenants, FAU’s Tech Runway, a Public Private Partnership for technology start up companies, Deans and Professors at the university and regional economic developers has compressed the amount of time and energy it would have taken to establish trusted relationships with all the above.

In the last quarter of 2020, The DB-EDC the distinction of having several in depth meetings with key departmental decision members that have resulted in the following activity:

Research Park at FAU

  • Several confidential discussions regarding potential new tenants and development real estate.
  • The Director at the Research Park, a credentialed Economic Developer, has graciously given much of his time to help the DB-EDC be a more effective organization.
  • The DB-EDC’s virtual attendance at several FARDA Board meetings have been very valuable.

FAU Department of Research

  • Several meetings that included detail conversations with Dean Daniel Flynn
  • Reviewed the extremely difficult 10-year strategic plan to turn a commuter college into a major research institution.
  • Clearly defined the Department’s relationship with the Research Park, Tech runway, Florida’s SBDC, and the Private Sector
  • Conducted confidential discussions regarding potential collaboration with the City of Deerfield Beach
  • Extended an opened invitation to meet with Deerfield Beach Companies unfamiliar to the school that are on the leading edge of Life Science, Engineering, and Technology innovations.
  • Coordinated follow up meetings with Florida’s SBDC at FAU and the City of Deerfield Beach

FAU’s Tech Runway

  • Collaboration with Runway Staff on the DB-EDC’s 2021 Summit
  • Multiple conversation with past and present leadership
  • Leverage relationship with South Florida’s Tech Trade Associations
  • Pathway to many connections regional venture capital leaders
  • Attended the opening of The Runway’s satellite opening of their City Boynton Beach Facility

Florida’s SBDC at FAU

  • Invited by Boca Chamber for Exclusive meeting with The SBDC’s Regional Director, and a delegation from nation of Chile for historic announcement of the first of its kind MOU two county’s SBDCs. Linked to video recording
  • Coordinated meetings with DFB’s Sr. Economic Development Staff, Deerfield Beach City Manager and the, SBDC’s Regional Director and team that overseas all SBDC activity in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
  • Direct referral of two companies to the SBDC.
  • The DB-EDC had a significant role in establishing a formal relationship with the City of Deerfield Beach (more to come!)

FAU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning

  • DB-EDC among those acknowledged by Dr. Merlin at recent City Commission meeting for r role collaborative role played in study that received award from the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (link to FAU’s post)

The DB-EDC’s “process win” of growing the collaborative relationship with FAU is dependent, not only on personal relationships, but how we help each department meet their Key Performance Indicators.