SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Geography: Ohio

Strategic plan outlines blueprint to grow Ohio’s innovation economy

Industry-led “innovation hubs,” additional funds for risk capital, and a proactive talent strategy are among the recommendations included in Ohio BOLD: A Blueprint for Accelerating the Innovation Economy, a new strategic plan conducted by Columbus-based TEConomy Partners on behalf of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation. Developed as a way to inform a new gubernatorial administration of the Chamber’s priorities, the plan identifies opportunities around four platforms: next-gen manufacturing, future health, smart infrastructure, and data analytics.

State Auto Labs partners with Rev1 Ventures on $25 million fund

Columbus-based State Auto Labs, the innovation arm of the State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company, is collaborating with venture development organization Rev1 Ventures on a $25 million corporate venture fund to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the insurance industry. Through the partnership, Rev1 Ventures and State Auto Labs will help connect InsurTech and FinTech startups with resources such as capital, technologists, and industry experts.

$24M grant to spur Ohio, New York communities

In an effort designed to stimulate economic growth and workforce development in Ohio and New York communities, KeyBank Foundation announced a $24 million grant awarded to JumpStart, Inc. The grant represents the foundation’s single largest philanthropic commitment to date. Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart said in a prepared statement that the grant “will dramatically increase the impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses on neighborhoods and communities." Leach went on to say that the grant will provide capital for more startup and scaling companies, and will increase the participation of minorities and women in the growth of those companies.

R&D and innovation funding sees some increases, more decreases in state budgets: CA, IL, MS, NC, OH

Breaking a two-year impasse, legislators in Illinois were able to pass a state budget that reinstitutes an R&D tax credit and implements workforce development programs. In California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) will see a 28 percent increase in funding, while other innovation initiative are receiving level funding. In other states whose budgets SSTI analyzed this week for TBED-related funding, we found that Innovate Mississippi was able to maintain state funding and new funding was appropriated for workforce development at the state’s community and junior colleges; a variety of programs were cut in North Carolina; and, Ohio will not get funding for a state office focused on commercializing research across key industries that the governor had proposed. More findings from California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio are detailed below.

Ohio Third Frontier reinvests in Dayton-, Toledo-based entrepreneurial support

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission (Third Frontier) has announced investments in entrepreneurial service providers (ESP’s) in the Dayton and Toledo regions. A new collaboration focused on health innovation will lead the initiative in Toledo, while an existing entrepreneurial center will lead programming in Dayton. Both regions had been among Ohio’s largest without a dedicated ESP. The state also awarded funds for its first joint-university program at Cleveland State University and Kent State University, and for commercialization activities at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Tech Talkin’ Govs: Kasich zeroes in on innovation

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is one of the last governors to deliver a state of the state address, which he did Tuesday evening. The former presidential contender assured the audience that he is “not running for anything,” but wanted to thank those who worked on managing the state budget. He used the address to focus on a variety of topics, including tech and innovation initiatives in the state, and educational efforts to support those industries. Kasich did not read a prepared speech and the following comments were taken from a transcript of his address:

Government innovation offices popping up

Government offices focused on innovation have been around for several years, yet some states and even the federal government are seeking new ways to incorporate the concept into their offices. This week the White House announced a new Office of American Innovation, while earlier this month Rhode Island used its Office of Innovation to launch a new effort called the Government Innovation League, and in January Ohio’s governor proposed funding a new state office focused on innovation, emerging technologies and their job-creation potential.

OH, TN, TX, state budgets focus on innovation, R&D, education

SSTI continues to review state budget proposals as they are released, combing through them for TBED-related initiatives. This week, education and research and development programs are revealed as we examine the budget proposals from governors in Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Ohio tech startup gets $1.1B deal

A portfolio company of JumpStart Inc., an Ohio venture development organization, is to be purchased for $1.1 billion. The proposed acquisition of Ohio startup CoverMyMeds by McKesson Corp. marks Ohio’s first tech startup unicorn. JumpStart Evergreen, the non-profit fund that invested in CoverMyMeds, was funded in part by Ohio Third Frontier. CoverMyMeds was started in Ohio in 2008 and is now headquartered in Columbus.

EDA Grants Support Regional Innovation

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced a number of grants last week to aid regional innovation and entrepreneurship efforts through infrastructure improvements, the creation of new spaces, and business improvements in regions across the country. The grants fund projects in AR, AZ, CA, ME, MI, and OH.

Innovative Funding at the Edges

Venture development organizations are reaching into new territory for funding partners and finding success in innovative models. Two new funds, the San Diego Tech & Life Science Investor Syndicate and Rev1 Fund I in Columbus, OH, have recently opened with less traditional funding sources, testing the waters of crowdfunding and heavy corporate backing, respectively. The San Diego fund, launched by CONNECT, allows anyone wanting to invest $1,000 the opportunity to participate alongside more experienced lead investors.

Cleveland Fed: Use Sector Partnerships to Address Employment Needs

Opportunities for successful workforce development partnerships exist across a variety of industries and geographies, according to a recently released report from the Community Development Department at the Cleveland Fed. The report, Addressing Employment Needs through Sector Partnerships, includes five case studies from throughout the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District, which contains Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Kentucky, the panhandle of West Virginia and all of Ohio. Although sector-based initiatives have been around for quite some time, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, whose final regulations became publicly available in June 2016, places a strong emphasis on aligning education and job training with employer needs, according to the report’s authors Kyle Fee, Matt Klesta, and Lisa Nelson.

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