Southeast Ohio’s Innovation Assets

Entrepreneurial Capacity
From a history of self-reliance comes a culture of entrepreneurialism.  The regional system of entrepreneurial support built by TechGROWTH over the past few years has integrated existing programs, infused them with increased capacity, and added new layers of service and sophistication.  The result is a rapidly growing entrepreneurial culture backed by professional support services that accelerate venture development and the commercialization process.  This is evident in the sheer volume of companies assisted by TechGROWTH.  Since 2008, over 3,500 companies have entered the TechGROWTH pipeline, with close to 500 of these qualifying for intensive operational assistance, and over 60 companies receiving financial support to speed their path toward sustainable businesses creating wealth, jobs, and economic activity in Appalachian Ohio.

Business Acumen
Human capital—talent—is just as important as financial capital in helping early-stage technology companies develop and succeed.  TechGROWTH’s extensive network of “Executives in Residence” provides top-level, “been-there/done-that” experience to entrepreneurs seeking to bring new ideas to the marketplace.  This knowledge and know-how included market feasibility and technology potential studies, business models, risk assessments for both products and markets, competitive research and positioning, intellectual property strategies, distribution channels, sales and marketing programs, top management assistance, financial projections, and presentation skills.   TechGROWTH helps drive talent, as well as capital, into companies.   Evidence of success in applied business knowledge can be seen in the amount of resources that TechGROWTH has been able to help companies acquire – over $62M since 2008.  Another indicator is the number of companies whose success in sales is due to TechGROWTH guidance.

Risk Capital
TechGROWTH helps companies access various forms of financial capital throughout the commercialization process, from early-on grant funding for ideas and prototypes to pre-seed investments to demonstrate market acceptance, to angel investment to fuel growth and market penetration, to venture capital to fund high growth and scale up to national and global markets.

R&D Enterprise
Southeast Ohio is home to several centers of innovation.  As might be expected, many are rooted in Ohio University and other institutions of higher learning in the region.  Happily there are also others: small R&D firms with world-class talent solving problems, inventing solutions, and generating patentable ideas.  The region attracts and nourishes creative minds.  TechGROWTH surrounds this creativity with opportunities to network, brainstorm, acquire resources and bring ideas to the marketplace.

Technology Commercialization Competence
Turning innovative technology into sustainable businesses is hard and challenging work.  It takes more than one special kind of talent.  TechGROWTH has collected and integrated a collaborative system of experts who can accelerate the translational pathways that bring discoveries into commercial or societal use.  Knowing how to translate market-driven research into products or processes with commercial value is the business of technology commercialization.  TechGROWTH brings experienced experts into this process and draws upon the successful track record of university commercialization at Ohio University’s Technology Transfer Office.

Human Capital
The region boasts a dedicated, affordable workforce, supported by educational/training systems that can customize a relevant, high-level curriculum around the needs of businesses.   There are relevant entrepreneurial components to the human capital resources in the region.  Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship not only trains start-up managerial skills, but also provides applied, real-world experiences.   The human capital inscribed in the university system is available to support entrepreneurs in the business of bringing innovation to the marketplace.

The Southeast Ohio region is replete with manufacturing capacity, prototype development shops, shared physical capacities, equipment, testing areas, and more.  Incubators in all areas of the region provide diverse and affordable space for start-ups and create niches for synergies among research, enterprise, and entrepreneurial communities.   There are cutting-edge, high-growth firms with global markets in the region that serve as leaders, mentors, and anchors for cluster development.  Global linkages offer greater growth potential and competitiveness.

Intangible Assets
Southeast Ohio is imbued with a “sense of place” and increasingly this involves celebrating entrepreneurship and venture development.  There is a buzz about the growing levels of support and effectiveness as the TechGROWTH model of “rural acceleration” gathers national attention and is lauded for its impact.  The branding of the region as entrepreneurial has created opportunities for events and networking to foster synergies and connections.  This robust regional discussion and exchange of ideas leads to new business models and opportunities for advancing the innovation culture of the region.