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On Saturday, May 12, 2018, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom visited the United Nations in New York City to deliver a speech on “Business-Education Ecosystems Undergirding Sustainable Development” at the Creating a Shared Future for Entrepreneurs and Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Conference. The event was hosted in partnership with the International Council for Small Business.

During his remarks, Bloom discussed how NJIT is developing ecosystems that foster achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN on September 25, 2015, to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Those 17 goals with specific targets to be reached during the subsequent 15 years will require a collaborative of governments, private enterprise, education and all societal and economic sectors to do their part.

Bloom described the current economic landscape, saying, “Gone are the days of corporate labs dominating the research and development landscape, and the Micro-, Small-, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) that make up more than 95 percent of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. [The organization], which includes the United States and 34 other nations, does not have the luxury of investing heavily in basic research. Nor do they have the resources.”

“MSMEs, which account for 60-70 percent of employment in most countries and produce nearly 50 percent of the gross domestic product for the United States, are rising and falling within dynamic and highly competitive marketplaces,” added Bloom. “For institutions of higher education to serve as catalysts for economic development, we must adapt to the marketplace and develop partnerships that serve the needs of industry while enhancing the educational experiences of our students.”

Bloom described how NJIT has developed a business and educational ecosystem consisting of four main components — talent, knowledge, infrastructure, and innovation — to match the university’s resources with the needs of industrial partners. Specifically, Bloom noted the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), which was established less than four years ago as a portal and platform for applying NJIT’s intellectual and technological resources to challenges identified by industry partners. NJII conducts more than $60 million in contract work annually.

“NJIT is serving a vital role in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals because we are evolving our approach with the marketplace,” said Bloom in his closing statements. “We are creating points of entry for industrial partners of all sizes and preparing the workforce that will be the lifeblood of those business entities. We also are sharing our experiences and knowledge, both domestically and internationally, with entities seeking to follow a similar path. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we all need to do our part, and NJIT can serve as a guide.”