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Business incubator is seeking support to build on its success



Published: Mon, February 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Youngstown Business Incu- bator, one of the city’s greatest success stories, is entering the second phase of its life.

The incubator has paid enormous dividends on what was a modest investment by the state, initially through its Edison Technology Incubator program, but times are changing. And as times change, those who don’t adapt die. The Youngstown Business Incubator has been adapting since the day it was born, so there’s every reason to be confident about its future. But it will need the support from people, businesses and foundations that believe in its mission.

The YBI is doing a remarkable job of nurturing technological start-ups and supporting its established success stories on an annual budget of less than $1 million. At one time, about 70 percent of that budget came from the state. That is down to 50 percent now. And it is anticipated that in just five years, that percentage will drop to 10 percent.

Recently the YBI revealed how it was going to meet that goal, in part by launching a five-year fund-raising program designed to produce $500,000 a year. It should come as no surprise that the campaign is getting strong support from people who have invested their time, energy, resources and talent in the Mahoning Valley.

Jim Yukech of Catholic Health Partners is the YBI fund-raising chairman. Co-chairmen are Mike Broderick, CEO of Turning Technologies, YBI’s biggest success story; Doug Sweeney, president of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, and Bruce Beeghly, former head of Altronic, and a member of a family prominent in industry and philanthropy in the Valley for three generations.

For different reasons, each of the co-chairmen know how important the YBI’s high-tech success story is to Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

By the numbers

Consider the figures provided by Jim Cossler, CEO and “chief evangelist” for the Youngstown Business Incubator. In the last five years, the incubator in downtown Youngstown has attracted $76 million in capital investment and created 610 jobs with an average wage of $52,800. YBI clients have paid $53 million in wages and generated total income of over $184 million. That’s an impressive result for an organization with an annual budget of less than $1 million.

Broderick credits Cossler with having the vision to see that Youngstown was capable of nurturing a high-tech company. He says YBI probably provided support worth $250,000 to Broderick’s Turning Technologies. Today the company has 250 employees, a payroll of $15 million and its employees pay more in annual income taxes to Youngstown than YBI invested in helping the company prosper.

Turning is an extraordinary success story, but there are dozens of smaller success stories and those companies, most creating specialized software, are cumulatively providing hundreds of jobs. And Cossler’s confident that there are more extraordinary success stories in the making.

Even as the YBI has paid a remarkable return to the state, the city and its initial supporters in jobs created and economic vitality realized, it has the potential to do even more if it gets the support it is seeking in this fund drive.

As Broderick says, Turning Technologies can make a difference, but it alone cannot transform the Mahoning Valley. But twenty Turning Technologies could.

There are those who may not think that’s possible. But they’re probably the same people who never imagined that Youngstown would some day get as much ink in the national press for being a high-tech incubator and a center for additive manufacturing research than for being part of the rust belt.


Comments

1UticaShale(854 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

When are we going to stop hearing the self proclaimed success story of Turning Tech. If they are so successful, why the hell are they still sucking up space needed by upstarts that really need help. YBI is nothing but a pork job needed during the interim before real industry came back to YTown, brought in by the hidden Utica Shale asset underneath us. Time for the pork YBI to leave town and make way for raw free enterprise spurred by the energy industry. Defund Pork!

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2chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

This place will never see a penny of my money.

It paraded the likes of former-Sen. John Edwards who cheated on his cancer stricken wife, and Nancy Pelosi who proclaimed "we won't know what's' in the Affordable Health Car Act until we pass it."

Does timie ryan still maintain an office there?

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3chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe the chief evangelist should pass around the plate in Aurora where he lives.

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4UticaShale(854 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

YBI never let it out much they they wern't a true business and has been sucking up taxpayer millions for decades.

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5ytowntechie(5 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

The YBI is a public organization that has a portfolio of over 81 start-ups in Northeast Ohio. The 81 companies employ over 500 individuals that make an average salary of $50,000. Turning employs 290 employees worldwide, over 80% are located in downtown Youngstown. If you want to start a tech based company anywhere it should be in at the YBI. YBI has helped raise over $54 million in investment for companies and in the last 6 months alone have maintained a sales revenue of over $30 million.

YBI has had two Silicon Valley based companies move to Youngstown. If you have any doubts about what the YBI is doing, visit the organization anytime during business hours and you will see a vibrant campus with employees that are creating software applications used worldwide. Unlike other organizations, real things are happening at the YBI and the investment given to the organization has and will continue to help grow downtown Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. All information, all metrics, all questions can be answered by visiting the YBI campus. Please make an appointment to really see what is happening.

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6lovethiscity(147 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Chuck/Utica

Ok...fearless key board warriors...here's the business incubator's telephone number 330-746-5003. Call them for a tour.

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7UticaShale(854 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I had a tour.

YTowntechie, educate us, What was the past years operating budgets? What portion of the budget was public sector funding?

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8ytowntechie(5 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

YBI's operating budget is approximately $850,000. Less than 40% of the budget comes from public sector funding. When was the last time you had a tour? The YBI campus has successfully grown over the last 5 years. The YBI has helped create real companies that are creating products used world wide. What else would you like to know? What is wrong with the Youngstown Business Incubator? How else should tax dollars be used, if not to change the image and to create jobs for the area?

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9UticaShale(854 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Holy Crap 40%! Is that a loan which needs to be paid back? Subsidized industry never works throughout history. The future of high tech here in the valley is in the energy field, all pork must wither away.

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