Monday, February 9, 2009

Jay Jordan's opening speech from the Innovation Awards

Jay Jordan, CEO of OCLC and Chairman of the TechColumbus board, provided opening remarks at the 2009 Innovation Awards Ceremony.  Jordan highlighted the advances and achievements of the region over the last year.  Below is the full text of his speech. 

Jay Jordan: 

"It has been just three years since a group of Central Ohio business, higher education and government leaders – led by CAS, OSU , Battelle and the BTC– joined forces to launch a new organization, TechColumbus, to accelerate the growth of the region’s tech economy.
No other city in the nation has a leading public research university across the street from one of the largest private research and development organizations in the world.  Together, Battelle and OSU represent a $9 billion enterprise dedicated to creating human and intellectual capital. 
The Central Ohio story goes deeper than OSU and Battelle, however.  Our region is home to many companies that apply the most advanced information technology available to manage their global enterprises.
Central Ohio is an emerging national leader in health care research and innovation, bioproducts, and advanced technology for automotive and alternative energy applications.
The past year has been exciting for the business of technology in Central Ohio.  Here are just a few highlights:
  • Forbes named Columbus the nation’s No. 1 Up-and-Coming Tech City in March of 2008.
  • That same month, NetJets announced its expansion in Central Ohio, committing more than $200 million to build a world-class campus and create the largest Flight Safety International training center in the world.  Thanks to Net-Jets decision, Central Ohio is a growing international business aviation hub.
  • In July, TechColumbus hosted the region’s first ever “Startup Weekend,” during which 150 budding and experienced entrepreneurs convened to brainstorm and create new companies in an intense 56-hour period.
  • In November, the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch announced that Columbus had jumped from 14th to 7th in its rankings of the 50 best metro areas in which to live and do business – ahead of New York, Dallas, Nashville, LA, San Francisco, and many others. 
  • This past year, OSU launched a master planning effort that includes a renewed focus on transforming its West Campus into a world class research park.  Combined with tech-focused developments in Dublin, New Albany, Rickenbacker and elsewhere in the region, we’re establishing venues to create, grow, and attract tech companies in the region.
  • Last month, Battelle announced a $200 million expansion of its operations in Central Ohio which could lead to the creation of more than 200 jobs and generate an annual economic impact of more than $450 million.
  • With the launch of the TechStart initiative in 2007 – a Third Frontier initiative to jumpstart new tech businesses across the state – we saw a tripling of ideas for new tech businesses in the 15 counties of Central Ohio.  In the past year alone, we infused $4.3 million into 32 companies through TechStart.  In the last five years, our investments have attracted over $200 million in follow-on investments from other sources. 
  • Just last week, TechColumbus reported that venture investment in Central Ohio companies grew almost 10 percent in 2008, despite the tough economy and a drop in venture capital investments nationwide.
  • In 2008, more and more individuals and companies connected through TechColumbus, as membership grew by more than 30 percent.  TechColumbus has rolled out new events – such as company-hosted after-hours – and new programs – such as an e-Track entrepreneurial membership – to help people in the region connect, learn, and grow.
This is all good, but I know what many of you are thinking – that was then and this is now.  There is no question that the world changed dramatically in the last half of 2008 and that we face unprecedented global economic challenges.  There is no question that these challenges are having an impact on Central Ohio and will continue to do so.  But it is also clear that Central Ohio has the underlying strengths necessary to pull through and be positioned for dramatic growth when the global economy returns to health. 
In talking with business leaders, owners and entrepreneurs, we hear a common theme – when the economy is troubled, there are opportunities to grow and prepare for the upturn that will come. Who just said “never waste a good crisis”? 
Tonight, we will celebrate the accomplishments of dozens of Central Ohio researchers, technology workers, and businesses who are energized by tough challenges and thrive on the opportunity to invest in a better future for all of us.  I believe these individuals, with the support of the entire community, will lead the way toward a much brighter economic future for Central Ohio. 
I thank all of you for your leadership and support. You demonstrate your commitment to building the technologies of the future by being here tonight.  Volunteer and get involved with Tech Columbus at a deeper level in 2009!


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