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State's first university-business incubator making a difference 26 years later

Ohio's first university-business incubator is going strong, 26 years after becoming one of only 20 in the country.

While Ohio University's Innovation Center has evolved, its basic mission remains the same: To make an impact on local jobs and economic growth. So far, so good.

At a time when unemployment remains at troubling levels, three start-ups at the Innovation Center created 378 jobs and 16.9 million in income in 2008. Workers contributed $1.5 million in local tax revenue.

Among those start ups is Got Game Media, a tech firm that markets athletic recruiting software for coaches and sports teams.

"In this economy, people are becoming more innovative and entrepreneurial. They're creating jobs rather than seeking them. The university and the community are working hard to offer them support," says Jennifer Simon, Innovation Center director.

Launched in 1983, the Innovation Center was the state's first university-based small business incubator, and the nation's 20th. It currently has an 11-company portfolio, and operates out of a modern, 36,000 sq. ft. office and lab facility that opened in 2003.

Start-ups also have the support of the university's bioscience and alternative energy research, and the University's Technology Transfer Office that moves inventions from the research lab into the market.

The center hired its first Executive in Residence this year to give clients one-on-one attention, thanks to a recent Ohio Department of Development grant. And a city, county, university partnership, The Athens County Economic Council, launched Business Remixed to attract entrepreneurs.

Source: Ohio University Director of Research Communications Andrea Gibson
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

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