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OHIO Innovation Center increased job growth, economic impact in last calendar year

From Staff Reports | Jun 18, 2019

Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 297 jobs that generated an estimated $12.9 million in employee compensation in Athens County in 2018, according to a new economic impact report.

Over the last five years, the business incubator’s job creation numbers have increased 112 percent, and employee compensation generated from its client companies is up 111 percent.

“Ohio University is proud of the award-winning Innovation Center’s year over year success in supporting the growth and development of new businesses in southeastern Ohio,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “Stimulating regional economic growth is one of our key priorities.”

The Innovation Center’s economic impact figures represent the number of jobs created directly, indirectly or induced by the Innovation Center businesses, which also generated an estimated $2.1 million in state and local tax revenues in 2018. The tax revenue impact has increased 220 percent since 2014.

Stacy Strauss, director of the Innovation Center, attributes the increase in numbers to the rapid growth experienced by several companies currently housed in the Innovation Center, as well as rising sales and new hiring by recent incubator graduates.

“We work with tenacious entrepreneurs who are driven to succeed. They are building companies and creating jobs with wages that are significantly higher than the average rate for our area,” Strauss said. “We are just one piece of a larger network of university and regional collaborators that provide critical early-stage services to startups. These figures are more proof that successful scalable ventures are being built in southeastern Ohio.”

The release of the economic impact report follows two major awards received by the Innovation Center from the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA).  In April, the InBIA named the Innovation Center the 2019 Rural-Based Entrepreneurship Center of the Year and bestowed it with the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year Award, the association’s highest honor. In 2016, the center was awarded the Rural Incubator of the Year by InBIA, and was ranked #3 among University Business Incubators in the United States by UBI Global.

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 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 2018 economic impact analysis was developed by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The full report is available online on the Innovation Center website: www.ohio.edu/innovation.