Cleveland Innovation Project Unveils Vision for Regional Growth

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Innovation Project – an alliance of the Cleveland Foundation, Fund For Our Economic Future, Greater Cleveland Partnership, JumpStart, and Team NEO – this week announced its vision for how to establish Cleveland as a leading Midwest region for technology-led growth and inclusion by 2030.

Guided by a steering committee of corporate and civic leaders, the project identified strategic sectors primed for development as well as initiatives to bolster the innovation ecosystem.

“We recognize that if we align agendas and collaborate more deeply across the region, we can accelerate and amplify positive impact in the community,” said Joe Roman, president and CEO at the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Based on a review of the region’s innovation assets and industry clusters, market trends, and input from more than 150 business, institutional and civic leaders, three strategic sectors emerged as having the most powerful combination of strengths, opportunities, impact potential, and readiness for scaled growth efforts. They include:

  • Smart Manufacturing: Leading in innovation, application and scaling of industrial digital technologies, leveraging Cleveland’s position as one of the largest and most diverse manufacturing hubs.
  • Health Innovation: Developing the technologies and service models for delivering excellent remote and community health care, reducing health disparities, and promoting wellness, and becoming a global center for pathogens and infectious disease research and development and the manufacturing of new diagnostics and medicines.
  • Water Technologies: Becoming a leading center for next-generation solutions – controls, treatments, data, and analytics – for a water-stressed world.

Within each sector, the focus is on expanding platforms that connect innovators, institutions, entrepreneurs, and industry to leverage technologies and digital applications for creating new products, services, and companies. These three strategic sectors will be enhanced by four initiatives to strengthen the region’s innovation ecosystem:

  • Boost Digital/STEM Talent: Align and expand education and training programs — post-secondary through post-graduate — to prepare many and diverse individuals for careers in digital/STEM jobs.
  • Catalyze a Capital Continuum: Foster and provide access to a robust and varied range of private capital sources to start and scale businesses.
  • Expedite Digital Equity: Ensure every Greater Cleveland resident has access to in-home high-quality broadband for online learning, working, and living by 2022.
  • Enhance Innovation Zones: Develop the region’s primary innovation geographies — the Health-Tech Corridor and the Opportunity Corridor — to accelerate outcomes through proximity, connections, and inclusivity.

“Through this unprecedented collaboration across sectors and organizations, we have an opportunity to fuel technology-driven growth that creates family-sustaining wage jobs for all skill levels and benefits our entire community,” said Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “Inclusive innovation is critical to Cleveland’s future.”

The project has set the following cumulative goals for the region to achieve by 2030:

  • 20,000 additional tech-led innovation jobs, with 25% held by Black or Latinx individuals and 50% held by women
  • 20,000 additional digital or STEM graduates educated and retained, or attracted to Cleveland, with 25% being Black or Latinx and 50% being women
  • More than $2 billion in increased targeted research investment
  • More than $4 billion in total invested capital in tech-led companies, with 25% of companies having Black or Latinx executives and 50% having women executives
  • 100% of Greater Cleveland households with high-quality broadband connectivity by 2022
  • More than 2 million square feet of new institutional, commercial, residential, and community development in the Health-Tech and Opportunity Corridors.

SOURCE: Greater Cleveland Partnership

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.