The Office for Business & Community Economic Development (BCED) was created in 1999 to advance the University's interests in promoting economic development, employment, and training opportunities for historically underserved communities. The mission of OBCED is to contribute to the economic growth and development of Minnesota communities. The OBCED provides a unique opportunity for leveraging the University's resources, such as intellectual property, technology transfer, and research capabilities.
BCED is a social enterprise whose goal is to leverage the assets and resources of the University to create programs and services that provide innovative solutions to real-world social-economic problems that impact urban communities. More importantly, BCED is a critical component of the University’s public service and outreach mission and its work is designed to drive economic and community development strategies that support the University’s Urban Agenda. BCED works to build stronger, more vibrant communities through programs and initiatives designed to support underserved populations and/or communities.
BCED’s social enterprise approach to solving problems in Minnesota’s urban areas can be summarized as sustainable economic activity that also has a social impact. For BCED, social entrepreneurship integrates social goals and social problem solving into its core business and operational model and to support this approach BCED uses a blended value business model which combines a social-value-generating structure with a revenue-generating business component to create multiple revenue streams to support its programs.
In BCED, the enterprise focus is on community and economic development and by taking a different approach to organizing new ventures that stretch the roles and boundaries of the public, and private sectors in addressing critical social-economic problems; we have discovered an effective strategy that utilizes new innovative methodsto address these issues in a way that can have long lasting impact and benefit.
BCED recognizes that entrepreneurs are essential drivers of innovation and progress and in the business world, they act as engines of growth, harnessing opportunity and innovation to fuel economic advancement. BCED acts similarly as a social enterprise, tapping inspiration, creativity, courage and ingenuity, to seize opportunities that challenge and forever change established, but fundamentally inequitable systems. While a business entrepreneur may see value in the creation of new markets, BCED aims for value in the form of transformational change by pioneering innovative and systemic approaches that benefit and impact urban areas and underserved populations.