NACOGDOCHES — As part of its goal to provide expert economic research, analysis and consulting services in the East Texas region and beyond, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business has established the Center for Business and Economic Research.

Housed in SFA’s Department of Economics and Finance, the nonprofit center offers data analysis, market research and economic impact analysis to the community while providing real-world training to SFA students.

“We want to become the go-to resource in the region for expert analysis and commentary on matters of economic policy and economic development,” said Mikhail Kouliavtsev, chair of the department.

He believes new relationships can be established and existing ones strengthened between the university and local businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations through CBER, as evidenced by projects completed through the department.

These include an analysis of sales tax revenue for the City of Nacogdoches; assessments of the economic impact of various events and entities, such as the Texas Blueberry Festival held annually in Nacogdoches and SFA’s economic contribution to the local economy; and a detailed study of the Texas Purchasing from People with Disabilities Program’s impact for the Texas Workforce Commission.

CBER also works to inform the public and media about the impact of national and state policies on the local economy, the effects of major events on the economy, and the role of new initiatives, such as the Interstate Highway 69 corridor, in local economic efforts.

In addition to increasing SFA’s outreach and visibility to the community, Kouliavtsev said the center will benefit the university in two key ways.

“A center like this attracts high-quality students and faculty to SFA and promotes collaboration with other research centers on campus,” he said. “Plus, SFA offices and departments that normally contract out market research, economic forecasts and other analyses to external consultants can request help from CBER instead.”

CBER is one of several entities launched recently by the College of Business to help bolster local businesses. Others include Business and Community Services; the Greg Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship, or ACE; and the Small Business Resource Hub, which is housed in ACE.

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