Story excerpt provided by Crain's Cleveland Business
Written by Chuck Soder
The turbulence that has rocked the Ohio Third Frontier program over the last several months has subsided.
After a two-day retreat, the commission that runs the technology-focused economic development program emerged with a plan that would make only minor changes to its Entrepreneurial Signature Program, which is a key source of financing for Cleveland-based JumpStart Inc. and other Northeast Ohio nonprofits that provide services to entrepreneurs.
Members of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission also are considering putting extra emphasis on investing in biomedical technology, shale gas exploration technology, information technology and unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a draft document that describes their plans for the Third Frontier program.
They came to an agreement on a few other issues, too, which should help the commission work through a huge backlog of awards it was supposed to make during its last fiscal year, which ended June 30.
The group to date has awarded about $72 million of the $190 million set aside for that 12-month period. Officials from the Ohio Department of Development have said the awards process has been slow because employees from the department needed extra time to shape several Third Frontier programs that were created or changed in 2011.
Now, however, the direction of the Ohio Third Frontier program is clear, and the people running it are moving in that direction as a group, said commission member Rick Fearon, who also is vice chairman and chief financial and planning officer at Eaton Corp. in Cleveland.
“It’s now been pulled together in a coherent way that has rallied everybody behind it,” Mr. Fearon said. “We have buy-in.”
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