Just finished another great class from Coursera this AM.
The focus was on the efforts to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in NE Ohio and CLE, and the partnerships between private capital, business, government, non-profits and philanthropy to set up and leverage Third Frontier, the Ohio Capital Fund, local accelerators and angel groups.
There is still much to be done, but to date, CLE has moved from ranking dead last (61of 61) for regional entrepreneurial environment in 2002 to a recent 213% improvement in capital funding - moving $259M to NE startups in 2013 and creating hundreds of companies / jobs.
But it is all at risk. The Ohio Technology Tax Credit has been allowed to expire. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are questioning public assistance of capital funding mechanisms. A lack of vision and focus prevails.
But there real jobs at stake - 2500 good paying jobs (including manufacturing) have been created in NE Ohio alone; $30M in annual payroll taxes have been generated.
Ohio remains a economy in transition, and we are poised to compete - and to reverse the "brain drain" that not only saps us of our state's talented graduates, but also the technology coming out of our state-funded universities.
Silicone Valley and the Research Triangle weren't built overnight - or even in the decade since Ohio founded Third Frontier.
But ask anyone who visits the startups fighting here in CLE, CBUS and CINCY and they will tell you, with a little continued help, we can put some shine on the Rust Belt.
The Coursera class description can be seen here: https://www.coursera.org/course/entpecon