An artist's rendering of the travel and tourism technology incubator that will be operated by Niagara University's Niagara Global Tourism Institute. This facility is an adaptive reuse of three long-vacant buildings at 7th and Niagara Streets.

Niagara University’s educational impact in Western New York and beyond is well known. With nearly 4,000 students among undergraduate and graduate programs, the university has the largest total enrollment of any private university in the region, and its emphasis on international students has attracted individuals from 53 different countries, from Canada to southeast Asia, making the university the largest private institution in terms of international students in the region. This diverse campus environment educates students to be citizens of the world.

What may be less known is the impact NU makes on the regional economy.

It is estimated, by the Center for Governmental Research, that Niagara contributes $227 million dollars to the region’s economy on an annual basis, more than 16% of all the colleges in Western New York. The university employs upwards of 800 people and remains one of the largest employers in Niagara County. Contributions come from instruction, research, administration, construction, and other indirect sources.

Our international student population have an economic impact of $16.2 million, supporting 102 jobs in the Western New York community, according to the NAFSA Association of International Educators.

And there are many individual programs that make a difference.

 Our partnership with Catholic Charities of Buffalo offers a Hospitality & Tourism Training Institute to provide unemployed workers with the skills needed for a sustainable career path in the tourism and hospitality industry.

In fact, our nationally recognized College of Hospitality and Tourism Management works regularly with Visit Buffalo Niagara on projects related to strengthening the local tourism industry. Students in the college recently evaluated the effectiveness of the visitor’s bureau website and presented their recommendations to enhance branding for the Buffalo-Niagara region. Another project stemmed from the need for the local hospitality industry to become more environmentally conscious in order to attract organizations that require hotels and convention centers demonstrate their use of “green" practices.

The Family Business Center at Niagara University recognizes the importance of family-owned businesses, abundant in the Buffalo Niagara region. Sponsored by the College of Business Administration in collaboration with five area businesses, the Family Business Center comprises more than 60 family businesses as members that participate in informative seminars and workshops that focus on the often unique issues facing family-operated companies.

A technology transfer and commercialization clinic in the College of Business Administration has provided a new opportunity for Niagara University to assist with the economic development of the region. The clinic was created to assist local companies with moving new scientific discoveries from the laboratories into the commercial marketplace.

Niagara’s tech transfer clinic is part of a statewide network of similar entities that provide specialized assistance with the commercialization of new technologies. This year, the clinic worked with MMC Lipid BioServices, Inc., a local biotech company, to research how to commercialize a patent-pending technology that shows promise in improving the delivery of therapeutic drugs in the systems of cancer patients.

In the City of Niagara Falls, the university’s Niagara Global Tourism Institute is working to transform Niagara Falls from a visitor attraction to an international tourism destination. Through collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector, NGTI is improving the regional tourism product and global competitiveness by providing reliable data to inform strategic decision making; developing the skills of the workforce from entry-level to senior executive level, utilizing new and emerging technologies in support of destination development, marketing and visitor servicing, and establishing an incubator to encourage entrepreneurial creativity and development of new businesses in the tourism sector. The NGTI spearheaded efforts to bring free wireless internet access to the downtown corridor of Niagara Falls, and will break ground soon on a business incubator focused on travel and tourism technology startups, an adaptive reuse of three long-vacant buildings at 7th and Niagara Streets. Through this facility, entrepreneurs will be connected with the bi-national tourism industry to test their apps.

Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, powered by our mission-driven transformative leadership, and in collaboration with our strategic partners, Niagara University looks beyond the campus to foster economic development in our community, making a deliberate and focused impact in the region and positively impacting the lives of others in our community.

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