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ETBU Secures EDA Grant for Economic Revitalization in Marshall

May 10, 2024

East Texas Baptist University is proud to announce its reception of a $475,000.00 grant from the United States Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA has awarded these funds to enable ETBU to address economic challenges in Marshall and the surrounding region by developing and implementing long-term economic revitalization strategies to serve the local economy. This strategic investment is poised to foster sustained economic advancement and vitality within the region for years to come.

An award of this magnitude from the EDA is a significant achievement for ETBU’s Synergy Park, allowing it to better serve the economic development needs of Marshall and Harrison County. With this funding, ETBU now has the opportunity to implement new, market-driven programs to serve both local business owners and workforce participants while expanding the array of services already offered at Synergy Park.

“Receiving this grant from the Economic Development Administration is a tremendous blessing and a milestone moment for ETBU and Synergy Park,” said Scott McCurdy, Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Administrative Affairs at ETBU, who also serves as the Director of Synergy Park. “This funding further reinforces our commitment to serve the economic development of Marshall and Harrison County as we seek to enhance our community by serving our neighbors for the glory of God. This award was made possible by the overwhelming support Marshall has shown for Synergy Park and the excellent guidance provided by our regional EDA representatives.”

Since opening in April 2023, Synergy Park has quickly become a major driver of economic revitalization in downtown Marshall. At 48,000 square feet, the former East Texas home of Capital One now serves as the headquarters for twelve local corporations, five of which are non-profits. Synergy Park has also impacted many local startups, with all five WorkShip offices currently rented with two organizations on a waitlist for the space. WorkShip, the coworking component of Synergy Park, offers individuals the opportunity to utilize fully-furnished offices, high-speed internet, printing services, and a professional business location at a minimal cost. Specifically geared towards cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit, WorkShip allows startups and small businesses the opportunity to grow their clientele and develop their strategies without the fixed costs often associated with such an endeavor.

“ETBU’s vision for Synergy Park was to create an innovative center for educational and professional activity within downtown Marshall, catalyzing further economic development,” said ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn. “We are honored to partner with the EDA in this vital work as we strive to serve the region’s workforce and develop cooperative alliances among educational institutions, businesses, industries, and non-profit organizations throughout East Texas.”