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How Innovation Spurs Business Growth in This Midwestern State Find out what powers the creativity, capability, and real-world solutions among Ohio businesses.
It's one thing to start a company and see how it goes. It's something else altogether when you create a product or service that is truly different and creates its own industry or niche. That doesn't happen by chance. It requires hard work, research, and a lot of creative thinking.
As it turns out, Ohio is home to a powerful hub of innovation thanks to world-class research and development (R&D) resources facilitated within an array of incubators, universities, and private corporations. These networks channel investment, streamline invention, prepare workforces, and accelerate commercialization.
If you ask Andrew Deye, VP of Strategy at JobsOhio, innovative businesses call Ohio home for good reason. It's well-known that Ohio is the birthplace of some truly revolutionary innovations, including the early phases of the airplane and the traffic light, and JobsOhio seeks to highlight the business opportunities that Ohio has and continues to offer. Over the past decade, JobsOhio, along with their partners, have facilitated the growth of more than 2,100 Ohio born and bred companies, as well as introduced 500 new companies to the Buckeye State.
But what keeps companies flowing into this midwestern state? Deye believes that this can be attributed to four different pillars: business climate, location and infrastructure, workforce, and the most critical pillar: research and innovation.
According to Deye, innovation equates to diversification. Without innovation, companies cannot remain competitive in their respective fields, or their respective locations on a citywide, national, or even global scale. What's unique about Ohio, in this case, is that the aforementioned pillars all work to support the particularly competitive and diverse pillar of research and innovation. Additionally, JobsOhio has taken on an auxiliary role by implementing an innovation strategy to provide companies with further resources to develop burgeoning innovation opportunities throughout Ohio.
This innovation strategy consists of three major parts: R&D center grants, growth capital, and innovation districts. Each of these pillars works together to achieve the same goal: to provide companies with the opportunity to grow, scale, and achieve their business goals. "JobsOhio invested $5 million in a research and development center for Midmark Corporation, a company focused on creating biomedical tech," Deye says.
So, how can hopeful entrepreneurs or startups tap into the wealth of opportunity that Ohio's R&D scene and business climate generates? Along with strategic investors like JobsOhio, the state's government has also promoted an initiative called IP Promise, which Deye says makes Ohio's universities more attractive to innovators and entrepreneurs at the company creation stage. "Ohio is 12th in the nation for academic R&D and 8th in the nation for academic patents. So, additionally, the universities in Ohio have the resources and potential to be competitive, which is what adds to Ohio being an exciting place for business growth," Deye explains.
"Startups can benefit from this and the entrepreneurial support ecosystem in Ohio, but once companies are looking to grow and make some significant commitments, we [JobsOhio] can get involved," he says. For example, JobsOhio recently launched its Growth Capital Program, which is it describes as a "differentiated tool used to invest alongside venture sponsors to fuel innovative, high growth companies that are Ohio-based or establishing operations in Ohio."
Potential or growing businesses can look to some of the current, innovative businesses that have set up shop in Ohio for inspiration and encouragement, too. "There are some amazing companies that have found their home base in Ohio," Deye says. "For example, in Springfield, Ohio, a company focused on developing next generation transportation, like electric vehicle take-off and landing (eVTOL), has set up operations to become a hub. There's another company based out of Cleveland, which has recently partnered with one of the big four accounting firms on a global industry 4.0 R&D center to drive progress in both manufacturing and industry."
These examples, while two among many, help illustrate how Ohio has much to offer when it comes to supporting and spurring innovation. And JobsOhio is looking to keep leading businesses to the oasis.
"At JobsOhio, we want to help businesses at any level, from awarding R&D grants, to driving strategies and initiatives creating world class centers to foster academic research, STEM talent pools, and employment anchors," Deye says. "We are seeking to grow talent, the real estate around these areas, and startups and scaleups in innovative companies. Combined, over the next decade, we are looking at $9 billion in investments, over 60,000 new jobs, and STEM growth of over 45 degrees. Ohio is an innovators paradise, and we are simply here to highlight that."
Click here to learn more about why truly innovative businesses call Ohio home.