May 25, 2006

SIUC launches network for region's businesses

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Economic development experts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have set up a new network for Southern Illinois businesses.

Officials at the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development recently created the Southern Illinois Research Park Network to enhance communication and sharing of ideas throughout the region's business community. The network is an extension of the Southern Illinois Research Park, which is part of the SIUC Office of Economic and Regional Development.

The business park, located on the southern edge of campus on Pleasant Hill Road, has dozens of tenants and continues to grow, but officials want to extend its reach beyond campus.

That's where the network comes in. Its mission is to foster a relationship between high-tech enterprises in Southern Illinois, create jobs in the region and expand knowledge-based investments here.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Raymond C. Lenzi, executive director of the park and associate vice chancellor for economic development. "We want to create the same sort of image that exists in places like Silicon Valley where it's not one research place, it's an entire community of businesses from all across the state and beyond."

Lenzi invites the following types of groups to join the network: high-tech and knowledge enterprises, business parks and sites, research/academic centers and enterprises, and business and economic development organizations supporting high-tech and knowledge-based jobs.

"My hope is that it becomes a network for high-tech and job growth for college grads and Southern Illinois and it leads to marketing of this research park and Southern Illinois businesses in general so word gets out that something is happening in Southern Illinois," Lenzi said.

To become a member, call 618/536-4451 or visit

There is no fee to join but members must sign a memorandum of understanding.

Participants attend quarterly network events and promote high-tech and knowledge enterprises and jobs in Southern Illinois.
Promoting economic and regional development is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.