Northeast Ohio Winner of White House Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

Lorain County Community College, JumpStart, MAGNET and NorTech to receive over $2 million for collaborative program to spur job creation.

Sep 22, 2011, 15:08 ET from NorTech

CLEVELAND, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Northeast Ohio is one of 20 regions in the country selected as a winner in the Obama administration's $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multi-agency competition to support the advancement of high-growth industry clusters across the country.

The region will receive a $2,062,945 million grant for a collaborative program led by JumpStart, Lorain County Community College, MAGNET, and NorTech, which will stimulate job creation. This program, the Northeast Ohio Speed-To-Market Accelerator (STMA), is designed to accelerate the speed-to-market for near-production or pilot-production prototypes in the advanced energy and flexible electronics industry clusters in Northeast Ohio.

"STMA is led by a close-knit network of nationally recognized service providers in Northeast Ohio with a history of success through regional collaboration," said Rebecca Bagley, President and CEO of NorTech. "This program will provide a conduit to connect products ready for commercialization with key manufacturers supported by a trained, qualified workforce."

The STMA will employ a step-by-step process to help accelerate the commercialization of products, increase the global competitiveness of cluster companies, attract additional private capital to the region, and attract students, incumbent workers, and the unemployed to educational and training programs. JumpStart, MAGNET and NorTech will provide one-on-one assistance to help cluster members meet difficult challenges such as assessing key markets, engaging with commercialization partners and anchoring customers, increasing export revenue, and accessing capital.

According to Daniel Berry, President and Chief Executive Officer of MAGNET, "MAGNET's experience and expertise will enable it to support cluster companies in their efforts to invent and commercialize new products that capitalize on high-growth market opportunities."

Lorain County Community College will lead an extensive network of Northeast Ohio universities in early assessment of cluster workforce needs to develop and implement education/training programs.

"We are excited to be partnering with NorTech, MAGNET and JumpStart on this federally supported initiative to help commercialize new technologies and ensure there is a talent base ready to support their growth," said Roy Church, President, Lorain County Community College.  "It is this type of robust collaboration that makes Northeast Ohio a nationally recognized ecosystem for supporting technology-based economic development."

JumpStart will identify and recruit eligible businesses to join the STMA project; provide management and technical assistance through one-on-one counseling and membership in its First Client Pilot Initiative; help minority businesses secure initial sales to established companies; and identify, pursue and secure new capital to grow businesses.

"This grant is unique in that it allows for multiple organizations to address this opportunity together, each utilizing its own strengths to provide a more comprehensive, yet efficient, set of programmatic solutions," said Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart Inc. "We should be able to really accelerate outcomes by working collaboratively."

First announced in May, the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge (the Jobs Accelerator) is designed to help regions achieve the demonstrated benefits of collaborative, cluster-based regional development. The Jobs Accelerator aims to accelerate innovation-fueled job creation and global competitiveness by awarding grants to regions that demonstrate the existence of high-growth industry clusters that support a wide range of economic and workforce development activities. The Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration (ETA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are providing funding for the Jobs Accelerator. Twenty awards were granted, averaging $1.8 million per region and targeting several industries, including Health Care, Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, and Information Technology.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Fernandez made the announcement today in Washington.

About JumpStart: JumpStart Inc. is transforming the economic impact of entrepreneurial ventures and the ecosystems supporting their growth. JumpStart invests time, and in some cases dollars, in diverse, Northeast Ohio-based, early stage companies that are positioned to excel in high opportunity markets. The organization also supports the growth and strengthening of Northeast Ohio's innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem by securing a continuous stream of resources for entrepreneurs.

About Lorain County Community College: Established in 1963, Lorain County Community College is the first community college in Ohio with a permanent campus.  For 48 years LCCC has served the diverse needs of the greater Lorain County region by providing affordable access to higher education, and now represents Ohio's fastest growing college serving more than 17,000 students each year.  The role of the College has broadened within the community, positioning LCCC as a regional leader not only in education, but in economic, cultural, and community growth—the four cornerstones of Lorain County Community College's mission.  LCCC is working hard to accelerate businesses to enhance regional competitiveness, a priority which the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) helps drive forward.  GLIDE was developed in 2001 through a partnership between government, the private sector and higher education and its primary function is to support entrepreneurs and companies to retain and create good jobs in Northeast Ohio.  GLIDE has advised more than 2,600 entrepreneurs and incubated 50 companies-right on LCCC's campus.

About MAGNET: Since 1984, MAGNET -- the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network -- has assisted thousands of manufacturers through its Edison Technology Center programs, Manufacturing Extension Partnership services and business incubation efforts.  MAGNET is a "one-stop shop" for manufacturers and entrepreneurs seeking the resources to become or remain globally competitive.  

About NorTech:  NorTech is a regional nonprofit technology-based economic development organization serving 21 counties in Northeast Ohio.  As a catalyst for growing Northeast Ohio's emerging technology industries, NorTech is leading efforts to develop regional innovation clusters that create jobs, attract capital and have a long-term, positive economic impact.