Ohio Innovation Fund, Center for Entrepreneurship study concludes next generation of young professionals committing to Ohio

Christina Van Fossen
July 22, 2019

Ohio Innovation Fund, a leading venture capital firm in Ohio, and Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between the College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, recently concluded a study with young professionals that showed young entrepreneurs are eager to start and build businesses, or work at a startup, in Ohio.

More than 100 students enrolled in Ohio University entrepreneurship and management classes were surveyed by Ohio University’s Consumer Research Center, led by professor Jacob Hiler. The respondents answered questions about where they see entrepreneurship fitting into their plans for success and the areas they consider hot spots for business and economic growth.  

Visual of the 5-question surveyThe data pointed to an overwhelming confidence in Ohio entrepreneurship.   The survey found that 85 percent of participants are interested in working at a startup. An impressive 90 percent of respondents feel that Ohio is a better environment today for entrepreneurs than in the past. And, an even high percentage of individuals say they’re optimistic about the future and the environment for Ohio to improve. 

This data is encouraging and not extremely surprising to some, as evidence has already pointed to wealth growth in the Great Lakes region. This region, which includes Ohio , “Accounted for 5 percent of VC deal value in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2019. That may seem nominal, but the region’s share nearly doubled versus first quarter 2018, when it was at 2.6 percent,” noted a blog post by the Ohio Innovation Fund. 

The Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF) aims to connect capital and expertise to developing companies in Ohio. Ohio University is one of the founding investors in the fund, along with The Ohio State University and Kent State University, as part of its commitment to innovation in the state. More than $10 billion in market value has been created since the start of the OIF. Some of the customers that their portfolio companies serve include American Express, Barclays, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Exon Mobil Chemical, over a dozen universities, and many more.