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How Does Higher Ed Help the Economy? By Driving Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

How Does Higher Ed Help the Economy? By Driving Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

American colleges and universities make a powerful contribution to our economy as business incubators. Through their research activities, facilities, technology, and teaching, higher education institutions are powerful generators of new ideas and effective partners in launching new business ventures.

Here are some of the ways higher education encourages the innovation and incubation that advance our economy into the 21st century.

Colleges and universities cultivate entrepreneurship. Those who attend college are more than twice as likely to own a small business than those with a high school education or less. And small businesses are important economic drivers—our country’s 29.6 million small businesses are responsible for 2 out of 3 new jobs, 37% of high-tech employment, and 46.7% of private-sector economic outputs.

Colleges and universities foster innovation. In fact, 9 out of 10 U.S. patent holders have bachelor’s degrees, and nearly half have professional or doctoral degrees.

Contrary to some perceptions that start-up culture operates separately from higher education, colleges and universities have incubated countless new business ventures by providing research, facilities, and technology to these efforts. Over the last 20 years, universities sparked development of more than 380,000 new inventions, contributed $591 billion to the national GDP, and supported 4.3 million jobs.

Not only are higher ed institutions among our nation’s largest employers, but they also spark economic development, ignite innovation, and fuel the knowledge economy. Colleges and universities make an impact on our nation’s economy that is powerful as well as practical. As discussion continues about the return on investment of higher education, trustees are uniquely positioned to share how truly important colleges and universities are to the nation’s economy.

What's the value of higher ed? Over the next several months, the AGB Guardians Initiative will help trustees answer that question through a series of media campaigns to demonstrate higher education's enduring value to graduates, communities, the economy, and the future of our nation. Learn more here.
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