Research and Impact

OHIO Innovation Center receives $1.2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant

Grant will provide equipment and technical assistance for science entrepreneurs

Ohio University’s Innovation Center, an internationally-renowned business incubator, has been awarded $1.2 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The grant will be matched with $304,225 in local funds, all of which will be used to provide technical assistance for biotechnology entrepreneurs and improve the laboratory equipment within the building where the Innovation Center is located.

“We are so grateful to the EDA for the confidence that they have shown in us with this award,” said Stacy Strauss, director of the Innovation Center. “When we increase the quality of shared equipment and fund business development assistance that we offer to serve biotechnology and life science startups, we create opportunities for new businesses that create higher-paying jobs.”

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s EDA, will be combined with a recent $250,000 award from the Appalachian Regional Commission and a previously-won U.S. Economic Development Administration award of $1.15 million. In addition to providing emerging companies with professional space, the Innovation Center also provides business coaching, advising, and expertise to navigate the pitfalls and hurdles of launching a new venture.

“Over the last year we’ve seen a significant increase in interest from entrepreneurs who want to help solve challenges created by the pandemic and other market factors,” Strauss said. “This grant, combined with those that the Innovation Center previously received, allows us to contribute to the region’s economic development and support emerging small business.”

Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 335 jobs that generated an estimated $22 million in employee compensation in Athens County in 2019, according to an economic impact report published last year. The center was also the recipient of the 2019 Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year Award (InBIA) and the 2019 Rural-Based Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award (InBIA).

“OHIO’s Innovation Center has a critical role in the University’s efforts to put knowledge to work for the benefit of our region and humanity at large,” said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity. “The EDA award will expand the Center’s reach and impact through support for biotechnology startups.”

The Innovation Center is currently accepting new clients. Entrepreneurs and startups who have an idea for a new business are encouraged to reach out for assistance. More information can be found at

June 4, 2021
Staff reports