Wilkes University President Pat Leahy is making his second trip to the United Nations on Saturday, getting another chance to talk about the role mid-size colleges and universities can play in spurring economic growth through what internationally has been dubbed “Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises.”
Leahy was among those invited to speak at the UN last May to mark the declaration of an international “MSME Day.”
“I joke that they either liked what they heard last year enough to invite me back, or they’re giving me a second chance,” Leahy quipped.
Odds are it is the former. Leahy noted that, in between the two United Nations appearances, he was invited to speak at an international conference regarding MSME day in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The international community has high hopes that micro and small businesses are a smart way to lift many people out of poverty. Leahy has been a strong backer of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Wilkes, and he gets 10 minutes during a conference Saturday to discuss the role colleges can play in boosting new business ideas.
Leahy said other schools represented at the conference include Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, Santa Clara University in California, and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
“Our section is on how higher education can support it. Other sections will be on how corporations can support it, and how governments can support it,” Leahy said.
“I’m flattered, quite frankly. What I really appreciate is that, yes, there are big research universities that do a lot to support entrepreneurship and small businesses, but they are also open to smaller universities in smaller metropolitan areas that can have no less of an influence on their communities.”
In fact he noted, it makes sense to involve small and medium institutions because there are so many. “There are 40,000 or so colleges and universities, and more of them are like Wilkes than are like George Washington University.”
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish