A new international economic engine, the Global Opportunities Center, may soon be a part of Greensboro thanks to the hard work of a group from local organizations and a $500,000 award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The idea, a downtown center that will link a variety of resources from local colleges and universities, businesses, non-profits and government organizations to create new international opportunities for students, businesses and community members, was the winning concept in a competition to generate innovative ways to spur economic activity. The recently announced award is part of the SC2 Visioning Challenge Grant received by the city of Greensboro in 2012.

The idea for the Global Opportunities Center came from UNCG’s Office of Research and Economic Development which then led a planning effort with participation from other local colleges and universities, the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center, nonprofit group Boundless Impact, businesses and many more.

“Greensboro is already a very global place,” said Bryan Toney, associate vice chancellor for economic engagement at UNCG. “But we need to better converge, connect and expand resources to help drive innovation and create more career and business opportunities. The GO Center could literally put Greensboro on the map since there is currently nothing like this anywhere in the country.”

Ultimately, the group hopes to raise $2 million and open its doors in a location in downtown Greensboro in 2016. The $500,000 prize will be “a good catalyst” for getting the center off the ground, Toney said.

Greensboro was selected to participate in the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge” along with Las Vegas and Hartford, Conn.

The original press release can be found here.