OHIO Innovation Center reports unprecedented job growth, new economic impact for 2017

ATHENS — Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 269 jobs that generated an estimated $9.9 million in employee compensation in Athens County in 2017, according to a new economic impact report.

The business incubator’s impact on local job opportunities has increased by 105 percent over the last four years, up from 131 jobs in 2014. The employee compensation impact also has risen 52 percent during the same time period.

The Innovation Center’s economic impact report built upon news from a separate impact study earlier this week that revealed Ohio University’s $2.9 billion contribution to the State of Ohio’s economy in 2016-17.

“These studies provide tangible evidence regarding OHIO’s commitment to, and success in, forging strategic alliances between partners and stakeholders, on campus and off, for economic development,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “Such positive progress will help to ensure that OHIO continues to substantively engage with the economic challenges of the 21st century.”

The Innovation Center’s economic impact figures represent the number of jobs created directly, indirectly or induced by the Innovation Center businesses, which also generated an estimated $1.5 million in state and local tax revenues in 2017. The tax revenue impact has increased 108 percent since 2014.

Stacy Strauss, director of the Innovation Center, attributes the increase in numbers to the “unparalleled growth” experienced by several companies currently housed in the Innovation Center, as well as rising sales and new hiring by recent incubator graduates.

“These figures provide tangible evidence that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southeast Ohio provides a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and new ventures,” Strauss said. “The services that the Innovation Center and its partners provide truly do promote economic development.”

The Innovation Center, part of Ohio University’s technology commercialization and entrepreneurial ecosystem, offers business coaching and space for startups at its facility at 340 W. State St., Athens. It also provides virtual business support and networking services to additional university and regional entrepreneurs.

The award-winning incubator currently is home to 17 companies in the areas of life sciences and biotechnology, software and other products. The Innovation Center has supported entrepreneurs in Southeast Ohio since 1983 and has been recognized globally for excellence in its economic development efforts. It was named the 2016 Rural Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association, and a 2015 Top University Business Incubator in North America — #3 in the United States — by UBI Global.

The 2017 economic impact analysis was developed by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The full report is available online on the Innovation Center website: www.ohio.edu/innovation.