Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation Recommends Innovation Hubs, Investments in Workforce and Risk Capital

COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 18, 2018) — The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation, Inc. today released Ohio Bold: A Blueprint for Accelerating the Innovation Economy. Based on research completed with TEConomy Partners LLC, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation, which serves to provide nonpartisan research to public policymakers, recommends a statewide organizational approach to accelerate the innovation economy in Ohio around four innovation opportunity platforms: Next Gen Manufacturing, Future Health, Smart Infrastructure and Data Analytics. These platforms would be represented by four statewide Innovation Hubs focused on addressing the needs of the innovation ecosystem. Each hub will support a single platform with statewide impact, bringing together industry, research institutions and the public sector through intentional partnerships to advance product development, process improvements and the commercialization of new technologies.

“Innovation initiatives are not just an important endeavor, but an absolute necessity for our state’s economic competitiveness,” said Brian K. Hicks, president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation. “Through these statewide Innovation Hubs and the other strategic initiatives outlined in Ohio Bold, we believe Ohio’s government and business leaders can provide increased focus to specific areas of innovation that are of growing relevance to large sectors of Ohio’s economy.”

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation developed its recommendations with the input of numerous economic development partners throughout Ohio. Project partners included local chamber of commerce officials from Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown and Zanesville.

While the creation of four statewide Innovation Hubs is the anchor recommendation, it is not the only strategy outlined in the report. The report also recommends expansion of several tax credits and other incentive programs, a new Serial Entrepreneur Attraction Program, creation of new venture capital investments funds, seeking voter renewal of Ohio’s Research and Development Bond fund, incentives to retain Ohio graduates with skill sets related to the four Innovation Hub topics, and a new Ohio Alumni Outreach Program to attract senior and mid-level professionals back to the state.

Earlier this week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation met with the gubernatorial campaigns of Democratic nominee Richard Cordray and Republican nominee Mike DeWine to share this vision for expanding Ohio’s economy.

Ohio has made progress in advancing its innovation economy in recent years. Programs offered though JobsOhio, the Ohio Third Frontier project and Edison Technology Centers have helped Ohio stay competitive and remain a home of economic innovation. Yet, there are areas of concern, including a private sector average annual GDP growth rate that has remained below the national average since 1991. Ohio workers have also seen slower growth in real wages, and lower median household income and per capita income than U.S. averages. Current investments – both private and public – in entrepreneurial initiatives have resulted in several pockets of economic success, but entrepreneurship and growth still lag behind overall, as does the amount of risk capital available to innovative companies and entrepreneurs.

Although state-sponsored economic investments have traditionally focused on specific sectors of the economy, Ohio Bold recommends a realignment of Ohio’s innovation investments on areas of convergence, where innovation and disruptive technologies can cross over to impact many of those traditional industry clusters. Moreover, the blueprint and strategic recommendations seek to further elevate the entrepreneurial and risk capital ecosystem in Ohio and develop and attract the talent needed for these specific investment areas.

“Through our research, we found that Ohio is well positioned to greatly advance its economy with smart and innovative investments in cutting-edge innovation,” said Deborah Cummings, principal and senior director for TEConomy Partners, which performed the research for Ohio Bold. “Each platform and Innovation Hub, as well as these other strategic initiatives, could have a profound impact on the future of the state’s economy and quality of life for Ohio’s workers.”

For more information about these recommendations and the full report from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation, visit ohiochamberfoundation.com/ohio-bold/

About the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) organization that serves to provide scholarly research to public policymakers. Its nonpartisan research serves as a resource to Ohio lawmakers and provides an in-depth look as to what policy will have an impact on Ohio’s economy, economic competitiveness and job creation. Although an affiliate of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Research Foundation operates under separate bylaws and a separate board of directors.

For more information, please visit www.ohiochamberfoundation.com.

About TEConomy Partners

TEConomy Partners, LLC is a global leader in research, analysis, and strategy for innovation-based economic development.

For more information, please visit www.teconomypartners.com.

Media contact: Dan Williamson, Paul Werth Associates, 614.224.8114