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Local incubator is tops in Ohio



Published: Fri, October 27, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Incubator tenants received $32.8 million in outside investment in one year.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown Business Incubator is the top-ranked incubator in the state in terms of sales, payroll and outside investment.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan released figures today that showed the downtown incubator outperformed all of the other 10 incubators that are funded by the state.

"The state of Ohio's findings confirm what we in Northeast Ohio already knew: The Youngstown Business Incubator is the premier home in Ohio for innovative companies poised for success," said Ryan, of Niles, D-17th.

The rankings were for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The incubator's total numbers are kept private, but Ryan released these increases over the previous fiscal year: sales, up $10.3 million; payroll, up $5.3 million and outside investment, up $32.8 million.

Jim Cossler, incubator director, said the investment number is significant because it represents money coming into Youngtown from other areas.

Cossler wouldn't provide specifics, but Ryan said a large investment from a Columbus area venture capital firm boosted the outside investment figures. One tenant, Turning Technologies, announced in June that Talisman Capital Partners of Dublin, Ohio, made a significant investment in the local company to support its worldwide expansion.

Cossler said this is the first time the local center has led all three categories, which he called the most significant for economic development.

He added that the top rankings were achieved on a $425,000 operating budget for the incubator, which is significantly less than those of some other incubators.

"This should tell the world that innovation can occur anywhere, and certainly it can occur in the Mahoning Valley. It also shows that we certainly can build world-class technology companies here," he said.

The Youngstown incubator is dedicated to growing high-tech companies. Its eight tenants employ about 170 people.

Most of the recent growth has come from Turning Technologies and Softek Sofware International. The two companies are poised to leave the incubator for the Youngstown Technology Center, which will be built next door.

Turning Technologies develops audience response systems for schools and businesses. Softek develops software for retailers.

shilling@vindy.com




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