Ohioans did something bold on May 4th. By passing the $700 million extension of the Ohio Third Frontier via Issue One, they assured that the progress Ohio’s high-tech economy has made will not only accelerate, but perhaps more importantly, is going to out-accelerate not only all of our neighboring states in the Midwest, but perhaps every state in the U.S.
As we all know, most states are going to be facing tremendous budgetary challenges starting next year. Ohio is not an exception to this fact as almost all observers believe that Ohio legislators are going to be facing a budgetary deficit of $6-8 billion over the next two years. As a result of this reality, many existing state programs are going to be facing tremendous cuts. This is why renewing Ohio Third Frontier today – well before the gubernatorial election in November as well as before the budgetary challenges we will be facing next winter and spring – was so critically important. The passage of Issue One will provide resources to competitively reviewed projects that have the potential to attract or keep Ohio’s brightest individuals, and to accelerate the growth of companies that have the promise to (or already) employ hundreds or thousands of Ohioans and/or have the opportunity to attract tremendous amounts of private sector capital. Over the last eight years, Third Frontier projects created 58,000 jobs. I would anticipate that the continuation of Ohio Third Frontier will create at least another 50,000-70,000 jobs in the next five years.
If Issue One had not passed, Ohio would have likely quickly fallen back into the pack of neighboring states trying to find resources to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives – and given the budget situation – almost all of
Over the last three recessions, Ohio did not perform well coming out of the downturns. With the help of the recent successful Issue One campaign, Ohio can break this trend in the next couple of years.
Ray Leach is CEO of JumpStart and brings his energy and leadership experiences from founding five high growth entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial endeavors in the last 20 years. Ray is a Sloan Fellow and earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He also earned a BA in Finance from the University of Akron.