By BILL KOEHLER
CEO, Team NEO
CLEVELAND – Team NEO accelerates business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of northeastern Ohio.
As the designated JobsOhio network partner, we connect companies to resources to help them grow and make communities prosper.
Last year was pivotal for Team NEO and the region. Northeastern Ohio, like many areas across the country, experienced some economic headwinds due to uncertain market conditions.
Despite those challenges, our region attracted new companies, helped existing companies grow, and created jobs, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years.
Team NEO focused on strengthening our region’s overall competitiveness through major strategic initiatives relating to proactive site development.
Some of the most significant accomplishments of our network in 2023 include:
- Led the state in the number of JobsOhio Inclusions Grants (JOIG). Fifty-one small businesses received JOIG funding to help their businesses grow, resulting in 219 new jobs, $12 million in annual new payroll and $18 million in capital investment. To qualify for these grants, companies must be located in eligible communities and/or owned by underrepresented populations, including people of color, women and veterans.
- Launched Developing Opportunities, an initiative to increase the number of readily available manufacturing sites with in-demand attributes. This initiative will help improve northeastern Ohio’s chances of winning more of the most attractive manufacturing business projects.
- Advanced the Vibrant Economy Index, a more accurate measure of our regional economy’s performance in comparison to 12 key markets across the country. This work highlights partner initiatives, identifies key performance metrics, and measures outcomes focused on building a talented, resilient, innovative and equitable economy that is growing and allows all residents to prosper.
In the Mahoning Valley, we work with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Youngstown Business Incubator, BRITE Energy Innovators, Youngstown State University, Western Reserve Port Authority, America Makes, and many others.
Our activity in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in 2023 resulted in 10 project wins, 258 jobs created, $16 million in annual payroll, and $88 million in capital investment. Here’s a closer look at some of those projects:
- Xaloy, a global leader in high-performance machinery components and equipment for the plastics industry, was the first company to receive a JobsOhio Research and Development Grant in the Mahoning Valley.
- Projects in Mahoning and Trumbull counties received support from the Ohio Site Inventory Program to fill gaps in the state’s real estate inventory. These include construction of a 100,000-square-foot spec industrial building as the first phase of a new 84-acre industrial park on Warren’s west side; and construction of a 76,000-square-foot spec industrial building at 13001 Mahoning Ave. that should be attractive to manufacturing end users.
- Engineered Products of Ohio, a woman-owned company developing and manufacturing custom-engineered radio frequency identification devices, was awarded a $25,000 JOIG to assist with the growth of its offerings to numerous markets. This is one of four JOIGs awarded in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.