Team NEO Report Highlights Gains in Innovation, Investments

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Team NEO’s Resilience & Innovation Report shows the region has seen gains in innovation and small business investments and a 40% increase in electric vehicle charging stations.

The report, released Monday, is informed by the Vibrant Economy Index.

“In order to have a vibrant economy, we must have a business environment that is innovative and a resilient place for long-term investment,” said Steve Fritsch, Team NEO vice president of industry advancement and engagement.

Christine Nelson, vice president of project management and site strategies at Team NEO, added: “We must also have a pipeline of readily available sites to enhance our competitiveness and ultimately increase economic vibrancy in the region.”

Team NEO’s Resilience & Innovation Report provides updates on the Vibrant Economy Index launched in February 2022. The VEI is a comprehensive measure of economic success that tracks progress in northeastern Ohio and 12 peer markets across the U.S. in six categories: talent, equity, innovation, resilience, competitiveness and prosperity. 

The update focuses on the resilience and innovation pillars of the VEI. Notable insights:

  • Northeastern Ohio continues to be a low-risk climate for doing business.
  • Northeastern Ohio saw investments in EV charging stations grow more than 40% through 2021. However, the region still ranks 10 out of 12 metros for total EV infrastructure investments.
  • Northeastern Ohio saw meaningful growth in both the number of small business loans and the total number of payrolled business loans in the economy. However, it still ranks in the bottom third in both categories.
  • Industrial vacancy rate is at an all-time low of 3.5%, meaning the region has less industrial market-ready sites to quickly take on investments.

“The insights shared in the Resilience & Innovation Report present us with a tremendous opportunity to align economic development strategies across the network – including economic development organizations, public sector, private sector and philanthropic entities – in a way that addresses the challenges we have and creates a more competitive and prosperous regional economy,” said Bill Koehler, chief executive officer of Team NEO.

In early 2024, Team NEO will release an update on progress made to make the region more competitive and prosperous.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.