Monday, November 25, 2013

RedTire program earns recognition for innovation

RedTire is one of the most effective initiatives for engaging regional and local economic development according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC).

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) at the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau within the USDC, collected information about entrepreneurial programs from universities all over the country, including 131 research universities. The OIE published its findings in a report titled, “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus.”

The report said “the goal is for universities and colleges to look at these examples for inspiration and relevance to their programs and objectives.” RedTire, launched in June 2012, is one of those examples.

When rural business owners retire, many times the business closes simply because there is nobody to take over. RedTire matches businesses facing that dilemma with qualified Kansas graduates who want to own a company, thereby keeping the businesses open so they can continue to contribute to the local economy. Wally Meyer is director of entrepreneurship programs at KU and the director of RedTire. He said more than 100 businesses are participating in RedTire and they all provide essential services to the community.

“We also have about 150 candidates who have submitted their applications as replacement managers for the business owners who are retiring,” Meyer said. “We are currently in the process of matching those replacement management candidates with the businesses looking for successor management.”

The report praises the efforts of universities to support and revitalize local and regional economies through innovation and entrepreneurship.

For more information about RedTire or to apply, visit