The involvement of Northeast Ohio's philanthropic and nonprofit communities in economic development continues to make the news:
- With a goal of assisting 10 companies in 2008, a recent article in the Plain Dealer explores the work to-date of the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, a $1 million project seeded by the Fund for Our Economic Future, which aims to expand minority-owned businesses in Northeast Ohio with sales of at least $2.5 million. During its first 6 months, the Accelerator has registered 30 companies and has 2 deals underway.
- JumpStart Inc., another economic development group supported by foundations and the Fund for Our Economic Future, garnered some nice ink in the New York Times recently. Praising JumpStart's approach, Robert Litan, director of research for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, said “The traditional model for helping relatively depressed areas of the country is smokestack chasing, where a city provides incentives to attract companies or to keep them from leaving,” he said. “But the problem with that approach is that it is very expensive and it is a zero sum game from the point of the country as a whole, because if I attract a company to my city, then I win, but the city where the company used to be from loses.” If a city can successfully spawn more businesses locally, Mr. Litan said, then they are more likely to stay at home.
If you are wondering about the impact of efforts like these and others on moving the dial of Northeast Ohio's economy, check out the the Dashboard of Economic Indicators and read some good news posted at Advance Northeast Ohio about $1.5 million heading our way from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.