- Federal Updates
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- State Updates
Columbus’s $40M Smart City grant draws interest from companies around the world
“Dozens of firms,” including multinational General Electric Co., are “seeking to become vendors” in Columbus’s implementation of a $40-million-dollar grant the city received from the U.S. Department of Transportation,” Columbus Business First reports. Columbus won “the highly competitive” Smart City Challenge grant in June 2016 and “added $90 million from area businesses an organizations to be spent over the next four years testing transportation and mobility technologies,” according to the article. So far, only one corporate partner, Vulcan Inc., has signed with the city, according to Jeff Ortega, assistant public service director for Columbus. More than 50 companies have expressed interest in working with the city. General Electric said its “‘ecosystem of partners,’ which includes Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Oracle Corp. and AT&T Inc., can easily be plugged in,” specifically noting that it can “help Columbus make its street lights ‘intelligent.’” Bosch USA “has worked with automated and connected vehicles, electric-powered vehicles, parking and other aspects Columbus will explore as part of the grant,” and has offered software, in-kind services and staff expertise. For more, read the full article.
Starting a business in Columbus? Here’s where to find non-bank funding and resources
Entrepreneurs in Columbus may think they need a bank loan to fund their new or small business, but funding and other assistance is available from several area organizations, Columbus Business First reports. The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help with “business plans, financial analysis, market research and technical assistance such as one-on-one advising of small manufacturers,” according to the article. The Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) offers financing ranging from “$500 microloans to build credit” to “$350,000 to established businesses,” in addition to technical assistance and business plan advice. Slow Money Central Ohio offers “peer-to-peer, low-interest loans for farm and food-based businesses,” while SunDown group holds monthly small business seminars. The Columbus Metropolitan Library has “[m]aterials to research starting and running a business, including an online Small Business Resource Center.” For more, including other available resources, read the full article.
Fuyao Glass America Inc.’s $450M Moraine factory opens
The former General Motors plant in Moraine, once an image of “the industrial decline that had long plagued the Midwest,” is now a beacon of “industrial rebirth” as the new $450-million Fuyao Glass America Inc. auto glass factory, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The plant already has 2,000 employees “and is ramping up one of the largest auto glass facilities in the world,” according to the article. The facility “will be able to make enough auto glass for 4 million to 5 million vehicles a year — a quarter of those made in North America.” Governor John Kasich signed a state tax incentive agreement with Fuyao Chairman Cho Tak Wong in May 2014, while JobsOhio signed an agreement for its largest-ever incentive, $6.6 million, in August of that year. Fuyao began manufacturing trial runs in October 2015, with full-scale production starting in October 2016. For more, read the full article.
Grove City building $4.65 million fiber optic network
Grove City officials say a $4.65 million investment in a municipal fiber optic network will bring faster internet service speeds and also help promote economic development for the city, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said, “[i]f you want to be on the short list (of consideration by developers or businesses), you have to have it” in reference to the project. Public entities that have access to the network include the city, South-Western City Schools and Prairie and Jackson townships. The advantage is those entities “pay the same price for internet services but get speeds 10 times faster” which will create “more room to send and receive data,” according to the article. Partners will pay the same amounts they currently pay for internet service, but will now make those payments to Grove City, which will pay back the $4.65 million in “less than nine years.” For more, read the full article.
Zanesville selected for Cool and Connected broadband initiative
A central Ohio community is one of only ten nationally selected for “an innovative initiative to help people use broadband service for downtown revitalization and economic development,” the TimesRecorder reports. Zanesville will participate in the “Cool and Connected planning assistance program” sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Combining broadband service with local assets “such as cultural and recreational amenities” will help communities to “attract and retain investment and people, re-energize downtowns and diversify local economies,” according to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in the article. Jay Bennett, Zanesville’s public service and community development director, said the city thinks the program “will open a lot of doors” as broadband will make the downtown area more attractive to business growth. For more, read the full article.
Marysville plans “hub” for R&D, advanced manufacturing on Route 33
The City of Marysville “is thinking big” with plans for its proposed 33 Innovation Park along the “automotive-heavy employment corridor tracing Route 33 in Union County,” Columbus Business First reports. Marysville “plans to acquire 203 acres of what it calls rare shovel-ready land” which will lay the groundwork “for a hub of advanced manufacturing and research and development activity,” according to the article. Economic development officials for the city estimate that the development project could create as many as 2,100 jobs. The city “would spend $1.3 million to build the first part of an access road, with infrastructure work expected next year.” Officials say the planned fiber optic infrastructure in that area, the NW 33 Fiber Collaborative, will be a “selling point to potential employers” as well. Lee & Associates real estate brokerage “will manage marketing and development of the park”; principal Mike Spencer said the firm will work with JobsOhio, Columbus 2020 and “area economic development staff.” For more, read the full article.
JobsOhio launching talent program to help Ohio companies fill jobs
A new statewide talent program from JobsOhio will “ensure companies growing and expanding in the state have the talent they need to fill jobs,” the Dayton Business Journal reports. JobsOhio is establishing the Talent Acquisition Initiative “in conjunction with its regional economic development groups including Dayton Development Coalition [DDC],” with the end goal of having “tailored training programs the state will be able to offer as an incentive to companies growing and expanding here,” according to the article. Lucious Plant, DDC’s director of talent acquisition, said, “[w]hat we’ve been hearing at DDC . . . site seekers, those folks helping companies expand, are saying talent is really an issue,” noting that other states have begun offering customized talent services as incentives. JobsOhio’s program “will market for talent, provide talent sourcing and pre-screen and train the workforce, and provide a consistent set of programs for workforce training.” For more, read the full article.
Gov. Kasich’s directive: help train workforce to meet future job market demands
Governor John Kasich wants to find a way to help Ohioans train for the jobs that Ohio companies need to fill, The Columbus Dispatch reports. A “constant refrain from business owners” is that they can’t fill open positions because they “can’t find people with the right skill set,” while at the same time, “workers say there aren’t enough good jobs available,” according to the article. Gov. Kasich directed his Executive Workforce Board “to find ways to remove barriers to training and employment opportunities for Ohioans who need them.” The goal “includes determining what skills workers need now and in the coming years to meet the demands of employers, and ensuring that training programs are there to meet these needs,” the Dispatch reports. Dan Navin, assistant vice president of tax and economic policy for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, said the governor wants “the business community to weigh in on the workforce needs in the three-to-five-year time frame so that the sate can adapt strategies for an educated workforce to provide the skills and number of people Ohio employers are going to need.” For more, read the full article.
Cleveland State University economic development research program receives $80,000 federal grant
Cleveland State University (CSU)’s Center for Economic Development has been awarded “an $80,000 federal grant to help spur innovation and economic diversity,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown recently announced, according to an article on Cleveland.com. Sen. Brown said, “[t]his investment will help strengthen the partnership between Cleveland State University and local organizations in Cuyahoga County to create and implement strategies to boost the local economy and create jobs,” according to the article. The grant, given by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, “will fund the first year of a five-year CSU economic development program that provides technical assistance and research and development tools to increase regional productivity, spur innovation, and promote entrepreneurship,” according to university spokesman William Dube, the article reports. For more, read the full article.
State offering workforce training grants to help Ohio employers remain competitive
Online applications are now available for the next round of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, “an employer-driver program designed to provide direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of Ohio’s employers,” according to a recent Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) press release. The program will reimburse an employer for up to 50 percent of eligible training costs, up to $4,000 per employee, after the employee successfully completes the training and the employer has paid for that training in full. Businesses must meet eligibility requirements including operating “as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry” and 12 months of continuous operation in Ohio. Online applications will be accepted beginning at 10:00 a.m. on October 14, 2016, on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, including a link to apply for this year’s program, click here.