YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A new statewide technology-focused partnership aims to spur innovation and growth by presenting a broader picture than existing organizations do, said Barb Ewing, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator.
The new nonprofit entity, OhioX, “represents and connects those committed to growing Ohio’s economy through technology and innovation,” according to a YBI news release announcing its founding Wednesday. Its efforts will center on promotion, collaboration, advocacy and shared learning to foster an environment of innovation and economic opportunity. Ewing serves on the organization’s advisory board.
“Through storytelling, community building and shared learning, OhioX has the potential to shine sunlight on the people, companies and ideas that will positively shape Ohio’s future,” said Chris Berry, president of OhioX. “By uniting diverse backgrounds from all corners of Ohio, our vision is Ohio as a world leader in technology and innovation which creates a vibrant economy and opportunities for all.”
The organization is open to anyone committed to supporting and growing Ohio’s economy through technology and innovation, according to the release. That includes Ohio’s startups, small businesses, corporations, health-care systems, universities and research institutions, investors, service providers and nonprofits.
OhioX provides a means to identify new technologies and make connections to known industries, creating a way to “look at the bigger picture than any one of us can see,” said Ewing.
“There’s really nothing else like it in Ohio right now that speaks broadly to the value of all technologies,” she said. Most organizations are specific to a field, such as the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition or America Makes, which focuses on additive manufacturing.
“OhioX provides Ohio’s businesses and schools the opportunity to connect, educate and discover,” said Jessica Gritzan, chief operating officer at Squirrels LLC, a Canton area software technology company, who also serves on OhioX’s board. “A community of diverse members helps build the foundation to create and retain top talent in the area.
“Partnering with education systems will provide businesses the opportunity to help build what’s needed most in future talent,” she continued. “This will also provide the opportunity to let upcoming graduates know about the opportunities right in their backyard.”
YBI’s involvement is important for several reasons, not the least of which is making sure that Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley have a seat at the table in its advocacy, public relations and networking activities, Ewing said.
The additive manufacturing ecosystem, software innovation and new developments in energy locally can’t be “Ohio’s best-kept secrets” she warned. If the Valley isn’t at the table, someone will take its place.
“Technology no longer develops in a silo. Software touches all industries, and additive manufacturing is playing an increasing role in a broad array of industries,” Ewing said. “We need to have a broad understanding of what’s happening in the market and try to position the Valley to take advantage of new opportunities.”
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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