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

April 13, 2017

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.

NextTech, a new partnership comprised of ProMedica, Mercy Health, the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University, will receive $4.4 million in funding from Ohio Third Frontier to support technology start-ups as the ESP for Northwest Ohio. The investment goes toward Promedica Innovations, the grant’s lead applicant, who is planning to redevelop a warehouse in downtown Toledo to house NextTech as well as an incubator for small businesses. The other partners would match the state’s contribution to fund the initiative in full. Rocket Ventures, the former ESP for Northwest Ohio, closed in December 2016, according to the Toledo Blade. The NextTech effort marks “the first time in our history that these four anchor institutions have come together to focus on this area of economic development in northwest Ohio,” according to Mercy Health’s vice president of advocacy and government relations, Matt Sapara, as quoted in the article.

In Dayton, the Ohio Third Frontier Commission approved $2.9 million for The Entrepreneur’s Center (TEC), with support from other sources such as Dayton’s Air Force Research Lab, Wright State University, and the University of Dayton. TEC, located in Dayton’s TechTown, previously operated without state funding. The Dayton region had been without an ESP since June 2015.

Kent State University and Cleveland State University also announced that they received $400,000 from Third Frontier for a hybrid accelerator program called the TeCK Fund, with matching funds provided by the universities. The accelerator will provide up to $100,000 for individual technology validation projects and marks the first time Third Frontier has awarded funds to a joint university collaborative. Additionally, the state awarded Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center $500,000 to grow its Innovation Fund. 

Ohioentrepreneurship, venture dev orgs