Northeast Ohio’s Tech Startups Need Stronger Backing

A proper plan for economic viability today simply can’t exclude the role played by technology-driven startups and a surrounding system that creates and supports them.

So as business leaders in Northeast Ohio lament the region’s sluggish growth, what can be done to foster a stronger startup culture here may need to lead that discussion — or at least be a part of it.

“The underlying observation, having been here 20 years, is things look incredibly different than they did in 1995. We should take note of that progress and also think about what we can do to accelerate the rate of progress of the region,” said Remsen Harris, an 11-year veteran of JumpStart Inc. and its lead investor. “The fly wheel is turning, and now is the time to accelerate that rate of progress. That means collaboration, bringing resource capital and smart people together to grow companies that will only benefit the entire region.”

Why should tech startups, specifically, draw a heightened focus in venture development that should spur economic growth?
According to a November analysis by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C., science and tech policy think tank, the number of technology-based startups in the United States grew 47% in the last decade, while employment in that sector grew 20%.

Those businesses make “outsized contributions to employment, innovation, exports and productivity growth,” according to ITIF. The report notes that compared with more traditional and historically common startups like restaurants, tech startups typically have greater employment and revenue growth; draw more skilled workers; create more indirect jobs; and pay more than twice the national median wage.

So there’s a compelling case to foster that sector’s growth when it comes to creating a stronger local economy in today’s world.
But in this part of the country, several headwinds are preventing that startup culture from developing to its full potential.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.