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The Buckeye State Wants to See Your Startup Thrive For businesses in Ohio, there's a team working behind the scenes to help you find success.


Ohio is the place for companies to call home. With a competitive talent market, affordable housing opportunities, reasonable tax structures, and an incredibly business-friendly landscape to take advantage of, startups and early-phase businesses have cropped up all around the Buckeye State. New figures show that the Columbus metro area saw a combined $1.5 billion in VC deals, as well as a 143 percent increase in money invested from 2020 to 2021.

Given that, it's no surprise why Ohio is a mid-western magnet for new businesses. But VC backing isn't the only way for new businesses to plant roots and thrive in Ohio. We spoke with J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO, to understand the model behind JobsOhio and how they enable startups to be successful in Ohio's booming startup economy.

What makes JobsOhio attractive to startups.

Nauseef says there's no other economic development infrastructure in the U.S. that functions like JobsOhio. "There are four primary attributes that differentiate JobsOhio from other economic development platforms," Nauseef explains. "The first is that JobsOhio is private: we are 501(c)(4) and being private provides a competitive advantage."

For most other states, economic development is part of their local government structure. When companies are looking to locate to these states, they must release information, such as their financials, to the public. "That's sensitive information that most companies don't want to share until they are ready. So, with JobsOhio being private, we can protect that information and give those companies the confidence to work with us without compromising their competitive information," Nauseef explains.

The second unique attribute of JobsOhio's model is their source of funding. In 2013, JobsOhio raised $1.4 billion from the bond market, and deposited that money into the State Treasury. "In exchange for that, we secured the rights to operate and distribute spirituous liquor in the state of Ohio," Nauseef continues. With this arrangement, JobsOhio oversees the distribution of liquor from wholesale to retail, which allows them to use the profits from that operation to fund economic development.

"Additionally, once we hit a certain level of profit, the state gets 75 cents of each additional dollar. Since we have established this arrangement, we have given over $380 million back to the state's general fund, which allows elected representatives to use that money for better education and better healthcare services for the people of Ohio. It's a very unique model that ensures that our source of funding is extremely stable," he adds.

As for the third attribute, Nauseef believes it is how JobsOhio goes to the marketplace via partnerships. "When companies and individuals assess a location to move their business to, they don't think about it in terms of states, but rather in terms of cities they want to be in," he says. JobsOhio works with six independent partners who represent unique metropolitan regions of Ohio, and through these JobsOhio Network partnerships, JobsOhio can connect with existing businesses in these locations or cities.

By connecting with these businesses, JobsOhio can inform them of tools, services, and resources which can help them expand and be successful in Ohio. Nauseef says, "thanks to this arrangement, over 80 percent of all the deals that JobsOhio has done have been with existing Ohio businesses. These businesses are highly successful, and they continue to expand in Ohio versus other states. We go into the marketplace through these partners so we can have central, state-level resources that we are able to deliver with a soft, local touch."

The fourth and final attribute of JobsOhio's business model is its team. "We have people that are passionate about the state and about their community, and they also have a depth of understanding of the sectors which helps us negotiate win-win deals for the company," Nauseef explains. With this team of dedicated individuals, JobsOhio can convert deals into meaningful results for businesses and state requirements.

How JobsOhio helps drive success for startups.

JobsOhio offers a wealth of resources, tools, and services to help startups take off. "We have grants, loans, programs for companies owned by underrepresented portions of the population, funds and resources for planning, and a capital fund that invests as a sidecar for innovative and entrepreneurial ventures in Ohio," Nauseef says.

At the center of it all, JobsOhio has a team of professionals to customize your solutions. "If you enter the JobsOhio network, there will be someone to connect you with the right team or resource," he says. "We are here to delight the businesses and people that come to Ohio. We want your business to be here, and we want you to be successful and have a great experience in Ohio."

So, why Ohio?

As Nauseef puts it, there simply isn't just one reason. But the greatest reason he can offer is the promise of balance without compromise.

"This is reflected in our organization's vision: you can live your version of the American dream, which we define as, you don't need to make the false choice between success and business investment or your family and community priorities," he says. "Because Ohio provides an extremely affordable quality of life and diversity of industries, you can achieve both."

If you come to Ohio for work, you have the option of living in a metropolitan city, the suburbs, or even a farm if you choose. "That diversity of options for working families attracts talent and creates vibrancy," Nauseef says. "If you want to be able to pursue success in your business, time with your family, and time with your community, you can afford to do all of that here in Ohio."

Click here to find out how JobsOhio can help your business thrive.

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