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Ohio University Innovation Center awarded grant from USDA Rural Development Office to advance technical business development

The Ohio University Innovation Center was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Office to provide technical and business development support to current and future Ohio University Innovation Center clients.

The project, titled “Technical Business Development Assistance for Advanced Manufacturing, Alternative Energy, and Additive Manufacturing,” will utilize approximately $100,000.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to provide our current clients with the technical and sector-specific business development guidance that they need to build their businesses,” Stacy Strauss, Innovation Center director, said. “We appreciate the continued support from the USDA which enables the valuable work that we do to create economic development through entrepreneurial support.”

The focus of the funding is to ensure Innovation Center clients have access to the center’s personnel, who provide business development guidance including business acumen; compliance with regulatory oversight; understanding of proper manufacturing equipment use and maintenance; creation of manufacturing protocols and procedures to ensure safety, efficiency, and adherence to standards; and client staff training on equipment and protocols. This support will allow the entrepreneurs and startup businesses to advance their technologies, expedite their path to market, and scale. The end goal of this technical service delivery is to increase new business and job creation, helping improve the economic impact in the region.

The Innovation Center is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed business incubator that provides resources and guidance to tech and tech-enabled startup companies based in Athens and the surrounding region. Located in its custom-built 36,000-square-foot facility, the Innovation Center is a key player in fueling the economic development of Southeast Ohio. Since 1983, the Innovation Center has helped launch over 300 businesses and added over 3,000 high-paying jobs to the Southeast Ohio region. In 2021 alone, the Innovation Center’s 2021 Economic Impact Report highlighted the program’s support of the creation and/or retention of 249 jobs that generated an estimated $18 million in employee compensation and $49.7 million in economic output in Athens County.

The center supports its clients with a considerable range of resources via a virtual or onsite client membership which includes executive coaching, professional office space, state-of-the-art laboratories, additive manufacturing, conference and meetings spaces, discounted vendor contracts, and access to an expansive network of public and private business industry experts. Additional amenities include a fully equipped business center, high-speed internet, parking, and much more. For more information, visit

June 29, 2022
Staff reports