After spending six plus years working on mentoring and investing in brand new emerging companies founded in Ohio, I am 100% convinced that this work is a critical component to re-building Ohio's economy.
At the same time, however, I also believe that Ohio's ability to attract startup companies whose technology was invented and developed elsewhere -- from California to Europe -- but now has the need and ability to go-to-market may be equally important to our short-term economic future.
If Ohio is able to leverage its current competitive assets, from its low cost of living to its strong manufacturing-oriented workforce, it will be able to create thousands of new jobs in the short term which will enable Ohio to generate significant tax receipts and create new jobs. This also allows us to buy some time for the companies that have recently been started in Ohio over the last five years to grow and mature, and provide more time for individuals who are being re-trained to take on more white collar jobs that are already in great demand.
That is why the renewal of Ohio's Third Frontier Project must be pursued diligently now that the State budget resolution is behind us. This public/private initiative has the ability to not only support new businesses but if we leverage the expertise in the State, we can now attract and commercialize technologies that have been invented elsewhere, and have the ability to generate revenues and create jobs more quickly.
Recently we have been working with companies that have been venture-backed that are headquartered in other states but now are looking to establish their first significant manufacturing operations. Many times, for these companies it does not make sense to locate these in higher-cost communities that are further away from their customers. Ohio has the ability to address and solve these challenges for such companies.
Startup companies in the cleantech space, in particular, face real challenges in establishing their first manufacturing operations many of which make perfect sense to be located in Ohio as these business are looking to leverage the industrial expertise of the Ohio economy.
JumpStart looks forward to working with leadership in the State and in the private sector with the new Third Frontier Project in order to make all of this happen starting now.
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.