In recent years, Ohio has taken an aggressive approach to reviving its economy. Efforts to attract investment in high-growth sectors such as healthcare and technology have generated billions of dollars in venture capital, and the creation of comprehensive innovation acceleration strategies has helped sustain this economic boost.
During a recent fast business panel discussion, Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and Kevin Chambers, CEO of the state’s private economic development corporation, JobsOhio, discussed how the state creates a business climate who promotes economic development. The two are at the forefront of the wave of innovative activity and the state’s collective commitment to transform Ohio into the Midwest’s premier destination for entrepreneurial innovation. Here are four key points from their conversation.
1. Build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in booming sectors.
To propel innovation, states must attract and retain high-growth companies in the most competitive sectors. To do this, JobsOhio has developed an economic development strategy based on three pillars: research and development center grants, innovation districts and capital growth investments. “Together, these can help companies grow, bring in research teams, leverage STEM talent, and bring these new ideas to market,” Chambers said.
These efforts helped Ohio land the largest economic development project in state history. In early 2022, semiconductor giant Intel announced plans to invest more than $20 billion to build a new chip manufacturing campus in the Columbus area. The company’s decision to develop this project in Ohio was due to factors such as the state’s strong manufacturing pedigree and highly skilled workforce.
“It’s hard to express the scale of these projects in building computer chips, which support 300 sub-sectors of the global economy,” Husted said. “Ohio is going to lead the way on that front.”
2. People are at the center of innovation.
Innovation relies not only on attracting and retaining companies, but also on developing and recruiting talent to support these companies. The state has tripled its number of STEM graduates by launching incentives such as funding for high schools that graduate students with skills in areas such as cybersecurity or robotics and scholarships to entice high school students to pursue further education. in STEM. “We want these graduates to stay in Ohio and attract others from out of state to come here,” Chambers explained.
As Husted points out, equipping as many Ohioans as possible with coveted skills benefits the state. “We want every high school graduate to be career-ready, so they can immediately step in and join the workforce and support what’s happening in our economy,” he said. “We don’t want to leave anyone behind and we want them to have the most in-demand talent.”
3. Amplify existing hubs to accelerate growth.
JobsOhio has leveraged the state’s top research institutes, universities, and private companies to further strengthen innovation. The organization has invested $300 million to bring these players together in three innovation districts in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. The centers are anchored in leading institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Ohio State University.
“These innovation districts were chosen because they feature leading global and national healthcare institutions,” Chambers said. “They have the urban infrastructure to support [the] attraction of research and technology organizations.
JobsOhio estimates the hubs will spur 60,000 new jobs and more than $9 billion in economic impact, much of it related to cutting-edge healthcare. “We are attracting billions of dollars in new research in pediatric cancer, gene and cell therapy, and virology,” Husted added.
4. Eliminate friction.
Public policies can either speed up or slow down innovation. Husted attributes Ohio’s economic success in part to its commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment for doing business. In addition to his duties as the state’s second-in-command, he also leads InnovateOhio, which works to streamline state government. The fluidification of business production is one of its priorities.
An example of this is The Ohio IP Promise, an initiative with Ohio universities that simplifies the path to commercializing intellectual property. For example, negotiating the terms of commercialization of intellectual property used to be a particularly cumbersome and bureaucratic process for universities. Now schools have an easier path to turn their research and inventions into marketable ideas. “It’s turned a lot of our intellectual property into commercialized uses and entrepreneurial ventures at a faster rate than we did before,” Husted said.
These innovation-inducing policies, coupled with the affordable cost of living and low state taxes, make Ohio an ideal location for business. “People are coming from all over the world and we’re excited about what the next 10 years have to offer,” Husted said.