Officials Announce Creation of Ohio’s First Innovation Hub

PERRYSBURG, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Lydia Mihalik, Ohio Department of Development director, on Monday announced the creation of the state’s first Innovation Hub.

The new Northwest Ohio Glass Innovation Hub is supported by more than $31.3 million in state funding from the Ohio Innovation Hubs Program and $10.4 million in local investment

The innovation hub “will build on Toledo’s legacy as the Glass Capital of the World to accelerate innovation and job growth in both the glass sector and solar industry, which relies heavily on glass,” a news release states.

“Innovation rarely happens without daring ideas and bold risks, and Ohio’s new Glass Innovation Hub will be a groundbreaking example of what we can achieve when we build partnerships and promote collaboration,” DeWine said. “This new venture will enhance the Toledo region’s competitiveness on a global scale, propelling northwest Ohio to the forefront of glass and solar innovation.” 

The Ohio Innovation Hubs Program was developed last year to spur investment outside the state’s major metro areas. Similar to the Innovation Districts in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Innovation Hubs combine the talents of academic and research institutions, workforce and economic development partners and private companies to gain a competitive advantage through collaboration.

“The glass industry moved to northwest Ohio because of its proximity to natural resources, but its future growth will depend on innovation and talent,” Husted said. “The Innovation Hub designation and funding will help make it more likely that companies and the region will have a more prosperous future.”

Led by the Northwest Ohio Innovation Consortium, the Glass Innovation Hub will be headquartered at the Glass Center of Excellence on the campus of O-I Glass in Perrysburg. The center will serve as a physical location for O-I and other partners, such as First Solar, Libbey Glass, Owens-Corning and Pilkington North America, to research and develop new technology to solve issues in the glass and solar industries. 

The Ohio Innovation Hubs Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development, will invest $125 million in the creation of Innovation Hubs across the state. Additional awards will be announced in the coming months.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.