Akron Tech Company Leaving City’s Downtown For Cuyahoga County; Lured By $480,000 loan

An Akron tech startup, nurtured in the business incubator in the city’s downtown, is planning to relocate to Independence.

Cuyahoga County is luring the company, 7signal, with a $480,000 Business Attraction Forgivable Loan.

The county’s loan will be forgivable “only upon the company’s creation of 48 jobs having average annual salaries of at least $100,000 and maintenance of those jobs within the County over 7 years,” according to a news release issued by Cuyahoga County.

7signal, located in space in the Akron incubator called the Akron Global Business Accelerator, said last fall it had more than 20 employees (about 12 of them working in Akron), and more than 80 customers across the United States and in Europe.

Engineers in Finland, who worked for mobile giant Nokia, started the company that provides software that makes wireless communications connect easily and operate more reliably inside buildings such as hospitals.

In addition to the $480,000 Cuyahoga County loan, the city of Independence has said it will give 7signal a job creation grant valued at up to $200,000, according to the Cuyahoga County news release.

The tech firm’s departure will put a dent in the amount of income taxes collected by the city of Akron, which must compete globally as well as locally to keep and grow jobs.

“We work to attract and retain potential and existing businesses on a daily basis, but this situation simply became a numbers game,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “When we look at making an offer to a company, we have to weigh the return on investment to the community. We feel we have been a great home for 7signal; we recruited them, we invested in them and we offered them incentives that made sense for Akron. But we prefer to invest in and incentivize companies that want to stay and grow in our city.”