Tech across Ohio - Securing Our Tech-Belt Potential
Ben's note: hmmm... I wonder what the Columbus community thinks of this??
Original posting at OhioMeansBusiness.com
By: Lorie Llorens, Marketing Manager, BrandMuscle Inc.
If you live in the Northeast, or have an interest in high-tech entrepreneurship, you may have heard rumblings of a new Cleveland-Pittsburgh Technology Corridor.
The initiative, according to collaborators, “is an economic development strategy designed to reinvigorate the region by building on its unique civic, educational, healthcare and industrial institutions.”
The corridor would encompass Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh, which share common traits. Because all of these cities were built on a foundation of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation – and their success depends on their ability to generate new products, technologies and wealth – the idea makes a lot of sense.
The trick will be bringing the idea to fruition and ensuring the corridor’s long-term success. That’s not so easy. While many areas have attempted to build a technology corridor, only a handful has been successful, including Silicon Valley and RTP in North Carolina.
Successful corridors share commonalities:
- A single regional coordinating organization
- Cooperation between city leaders, business leaders and local citizens
- Infrastructure improvements
- Human capital (either home-grown or transplanted from other regions)
- Venture capital
- Top-line universities as anchors
- Standardized, above-area-average wages and employer benefit contributions
- Reasonable cost of living
- Desirable quality of life
- Business tax incentives
It’s fair to say that we have some of these covered. We have the top-notch universities, medical facilities and research institutions. In Cleveland, our cost of living is much more reasonable than in other parts of the country, and many enjoy the area’s family-friendly quality of life.
Additionally, the number of high-tech jobs in Northeast Ohio has been gaining ground since 2007, according to the Northeast Ohio High Tech Economy Report, released March 12, 2009. Additionally, nearly 2,500 tech companies are listed in the Northeast Ohio Software Association directory, and several organizations, including the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition (Nortech), are growing northeast Ohio's high-tech economy across all sectors. Likewise, the Pittsburgh Technology Council listed nearly 7,300 tech firms in its State of the Industry Report 2007.
However, other aspects may take some work. It will be up to the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the Alleghany Conference on Community Development and its Affiliates to support and advocate on behalf of the Tech Belt Initiative.
We hope we have what it takes!