Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
The Voinovich School’s economic impact on the region is significant and growing. New companies are forming, established companies are expanding, jobs are being created and saved, and new sources of investment have blossomed. By leveraging partner investments with funds from the state and university, we have helped Ohio enterprises generate in excess of $5.8 billion over the last five years. Examples of this work include:
- The Ohio University Small Business Development Center (OU SBDC) provides assistance to existing and startup businesses in 13 southeast Ohio counties. Experienced counselors provide confidential, no-cost consulting services as well as professional development opportunities in a variety of topic areas. SBDC staff meet with business owners to customize services to the specific needs of the company. Counselors can assist businesses to secure capital, develop business plans and financial projections, identify market and growth strategies, and complete financial analysis to identify opportunities for improved profitability. Additionally, the SBDC houses the Export Assistance Program which serves 20 counties in Ohio and helps companies enter new international markets to increase their existing export programs.
The OU SBDC received the award for ‘Best Overall Performance’ by a center in 2022. Our Center was selected from 28 SBDC centers throughout the state of Ohio.
- APEX Accelerator at Ohio University (formerly PTAC)
The Voinovich School APEX Accelerator works with businesses in 62 Ohio counties, assisting them to identify and pursue opportunities to contract with government agencies. This office continues to break its own record, assisting Ohio firms to obtain governmental awards now worth over $1 billion yearly.
- TechGROWTH Ohio works with high-potential technology businesses, providing intensive, customized operational assistance for enterprise growth and capital acquisition. TechGROWTH Ohio has generated more than $500 million in economic impact. Additionally, this initiative worked closely with Ohio University to establish two first-of-their-kind initiatives to assist researchers in commercializing and funding their technologies: iCorps @ Ohio and the Ohio Innovation Fund.
- Center for Economic Development and Community Resilience
Partnering with Ohio communities to leverage Ohio University resources in order to build a more vibrant economic future, the Center offers technical assistance, economic impact analysis, feasibility studies and strategic planning. It also houses programs and conducts work on projects that leverage the resources of Ohio University to support economic development in Appalachia Ohio.
- EDA University Center
Since 1996, Ohio University and Bowling Green State University have jointly served as a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center covering 59 rural Ohio counties, 32 in Appalachia and 27 in northwestern Ohio. The goal is to provide local economic development efforts access to economists and experienced economic development researchers who can assist with marketing and industry studies, competitor analysis, financial pro forma and modeling, cost-benefit analysis, and technology assessments. This initiative also partners with the Ohio Economic Development Association to offer the Ohio Economic Development Institute, Ohio’s only certification for economic developers, and offers an annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region conference to build a shared understanding of regional economic challenges and opportunities.
The School’s expertise in venture development also benefits Ohio University researchers and student innovators. For instance, the Center for Entrepreneurship, a nationally recognized award-winning program, was co-created by the Voinovich School and the College of Business to help students and faculty bring their business ideas to life. In addition, the Voinovich School regularly engages MPA students and Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars to work closely with faculty and professional staff on economic development projects and internships. Experiences vary, but opportunities include assisting with business or community consulting; conducting market and industry research; and developing public reports, presentations and infographics.
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