UWF Haas Center to earn University Center designation by US Economic Development Administration

The University of West Florida Haas Center has been awarded a five-year, $548,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to promote business development and employment among Florida veterans and minority business owners.

The center aims to bolster Florida veteran and minority entrepreneurs by building wealth in sustainable businesses in the financial, professional, scientific services, manufacturing and transportation sectors. The project is one of only two such EDA University Centers in the state. 

EDA University Centers provide expertise, applied research, and technical assistance to develop, implement, and support regional strategies that result in job creation, high-skilled regional talent pools, and business expansion in a region’s innovation clusters. The UWF Haas Center’s award includes a five-year plan that outlines a scope of work that will assist historically underserved populations including needs assessment studies, new product prototype development through the use of CAD and 3D printing, as well as site location studies, demographic analyses, business identification and product refinement services.

“As an EDA University Center, we will focus our business research and product design services on veteran and minority business owners and entrepreneurs who participate and hire workers in key growth sectors of our economy, including manufacturing; professional, and technical services; as well as transportation and warehousing,” said Nicole Gislason, executive director of the UWF Haas Center. “These top-level industries align with the State of Florida’s economic development priorities, they pay wages that exceed the state’s average; and all are experiencing substantial growth in jobs.”

The UWF Haas Center supports the region and the state with workforce and survey research, economic impact modeling and industrial innovation.

For more information on the UWF Haas Center, visit