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Innovation Center's 2021 Economic Impact Report highlights continued success

Published: June 8, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 249 jobs that generated an estimated $18 million in employee compensation and $49.7 million in economic output in Athens County in 2021, according to a new economic impact report.

Over the last seven years, the business incubator’s job creation numbers have increased 78 percent, and employee compensation generated from its client companies is up 211 percent.

“The Innovation Center’s efforts to build and support new business is vital to Southeast Ohio, and we’re proud of the team’s efforts to continue to provide this essential support, particularly during challenging times,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said.

The Innovation Center’s Economic Impact Report, conducted via a third-party analysis through Athens County Economic Development Council, identifies the number of jobs, annual wages, and economic output directly associated with businesses supported by the Innovation Center. The report also estimates these businesses' indirect and induced effects on the Athens County economy.

“Despite the challenges of a continuing pandemic along with supply chain disruptions, our current and graduate clients continue to grow and make a substantial impact throughout the region,” Innovation Center Director Stacy Strauss said. “We applaud their efforts and look forward to continuing to support them as they build and scale. Although the entrepreneurs and their staffs deserve all of the credit, it is heartening to see the aggregated positive results of our work each year through our annual report.”

The Innovation Center, part of Ohio University’s technology commercialization and entrepreneurial ecosystem, has supported entrepreneurs in southeastern Ohio since 1983 by providing business coaching and space, including laboratories, for startups at its facility at 340 W. State St., Athens. It also provides virtual business support and networking services to University and regional entrepreneurs.

The need for laboratory spaces has been on the rise, particularly during the pandemic. In 2021 the Innovation Center received several grants to support life sciences and biotech start-ups, including a $1.2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration that enabled the center to add three biotech laboratory spaces. The center also received grants last year totaling $350,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand business support provided to technology startups in the science industry sectors.

The 2021 economic impact analysis was developed by Athens County Economic Development Council utilizing JobsEQ, a software for computing economic impact.