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Dare to dream? City’s potential noted

Published: Sat, July 18, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Don Shilling

The business ranking will help the city promote itself nationally, officials say.

YOUNGSTOWN — Entrepreneur magazine has named Youngstown as one of the Top 10 cities in the U.S. to start a business.

The August issue even mentions Youngstown on the cover with this headline: “The 10 Best Cities to Start a Business (Youngstown, Ohio, anyone?)”

The magazine gives each city in the Top 10 a nickname. For Youngstown, it’s “The Dreamer” — a small city determined to break away from its economic failures of the past.

It touts the “innovative” Youngstown Business Incubator, which is building up business-to-business software companies by offering them free rent, Internet bandwidth and services such as mentoring.

“The incubator concept was revolutionary enough to help ignite a renaissance in this small city,” the article said.

Leading the renaissance is the incubator’s biggest success story — Turning Technologies. In the article, company co-founder Mike Broderick said Turning Technologies was able to grow faster in Youngstown than it would have in the Silicon Valley because affordable rent and taxes have freed up more money for expansion.

The maker of audience response devices and software sells products all over the world. It has moved its 130 employees out of the incubator and into a new $6 million building next door.

In an interview Friday, Broderick said the article will help as the city and incubator try to attract other entrepreneurs. The long-term goal is to create a “tech block” around the incubator.

“It’s great exposure for Youngstown,” Broderick said. “It’s a great place for business. It’s a great place to start a business, and it’s a great place for innovation.”

Local officials were alerted to the magazine cover by Sheila Hura, manager of corporate marketing and events for Turning Technologies. She was traveling through the Houston airport on business Wednesday when she stopped by a magazine rack and saw the cover.

She immediately called back to Youngstown.

“What a tremendous sense of pride you feel to see Youngstown featured in such a positive way,” she said.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams envisions that people from all over the country will pick up the magazine and be surprised to see Youngstown mentioned along with growth cities such as Phoenix, San Diego and Atlanta.

“That’s pretty good company,” he said. “It underscores and validates what a lot of us here already know.”

He said city officials will use the ranking as they meet with companies that are interested in new office or plant locations.

“It will help us as we go out and continue to sell ourselves nationally,” he said.


TOP 10

The best cities to start a business and the nickname given to them by Entrepreneur magazine:

Youngstown: The dreamer Las Vegas: The opportunity Portland, Ore.: The cooperator Orlando, Fla.: The coordinator San Diego: The proactivist

Phoenix: The expander Chapel Hill, N.C.: The globalizer Atlanta: The grower Madison, Wis.: The diversifier Austin, Texas: The cross-pollinator

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