Plug And Play’s Biotech Bet On Cleveland Affirms City’s Innovation Status: Editorial

The Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart’s recently announced three-year biotech partnership with Plug and Play, one of the world’s biggest startup accelerators, is a smart way to entice up-and-coming biotech and digital health companies to our biotech-rich region — along with the venture capitalists and corporations who love them.

Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play Tech Center is already in 22 locations and four countries — yet the company picked Cleveland for its first biotech bid. That should make our sweet spot sweeter. Plug and Play has created an enviable business model for how to match emerging businesses nationally and internationally to venture capitalists, and enrich both. In this case, they’re aiming at established biotech companies hungry for innovations to keep their competitive edge.

Kudos to the Cleveland Clinic and JumpStart along with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, who supported this project, for realizing the advantages and for successfully selling the Cleveland region’s renowned hospitals and cutting-edge health care innovators

So how will it work? Plug and Play along with JumpStart and the Cleveland Clinic will select at least 10 startups and small businesses in the biotech field to work at the Global Center for Health Innovation rent-free next spring while they receive coaching from Plug and Play.

As a side benefit, Plug and Play’s move into the long-ailing Global Center is a boon to its new manager, BioEnterprise, which recently took over the promotion and marketing of the center.

After mentoring the startups, Plug and Play will give them a chance to show their innovations to corporate partners and others.

Of course, there are big economic development benefits to having all of this talent, new ideas and money coming to town — for instance, encouraging some of these new companies to settle here instead of elsewhere.

Plug and Play’s decision to establish a location in Cleveland is an opportunity for this region to showcase itself as a major hub of biotech and digital health innovation. Let’s take full advantage of it.

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