Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Ohio

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Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Ohio

Ron Seide, a small business owner in Akron, recently told me about his efforts to connect with customers throughout the world. Summit Data Communications, based at the Akron Global Business Accelerator, now generates the bulk of its revenue through exporting its products around the world.  This 21st century firm is just one of the innovative, high-tech small businesses that got its start at a business incubator.

Nearly two-thirds of new jobs are created by small businesses.  However, entrepreneurs who are eager to transform a great idea into a good business often lack the resources to get started.  To bolster job creation in Ohio and throughout the United States, business incubators are providing start-up companies with the support services needed to build a thriving business.

An incubator is an organization that helps new businesses get started, or accelerates the growth of existing ones, by providing entrepreneurs with resources, guidance, and services.  Most incubators are non-profits that assist local businesses through grants, federal resources, and workshops.  Some incubators are “brick and mortar”—actual buildings that house office space— while others provide so-called “soft services”, which includes business development assistance, marketing, market research, and management training services.

I’ve authored the Business Incubator Promotion Act, which would help create business incubators and help existing incubators expand. The bill would do two things.  First, it would provide resources to help regions introduce new business incubators and expand existing ones. Such incubator support has already created hundreds of thousands of jobs by providing start-up companies with support services that help turn innovative ideas into viable businesses.

Second, the bill would help ensure that economically-distressed communities have access to federal resources through the EDA. By targeting resources to areas suffering from severe economic hardship and high unemployment rates, we could help create higher-skill, higher-wage jobs that put new Ohio products and services into the global marketplace.

If we want to promote a 21st century economy based on innovation, we must better connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to transform an idea in a lab into a product on the market.

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