News and Announcements

Ohio University Innovation Center increased job growth, economic impact in 2023

The Ohio University Innovation Center’s support of its clients resulted in a total impact on Athens County’s economy in 2023 of 267 jobs, over $7.4 million in annual wages, $26 million in compensation, and over $80.7 million in economic output. This impact will be repeated for each year in which these jobs exist.

Over the last ten years, the award-winning technology business incubator’s job creation is up 92 percent; its client companies’ employee compensation is up 35 percent; and the economic output is up 715 percent.

The Innovation Center, part of Ohio University’s technology commercialization and entrepreneurial ecosystem, has supported entrepreneurs in Southeastern Ohio since 1983 by providing business development assistance, connections to funding and resources, and professional space for startups at its 36,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility. It specializes in supporting technology or technology-enabled businesses from all sectors. In addition to onsite incubation, the center also offers a virtual membership. The center serves community members as well as faculty, staff, and students at the university. 

"This report underscores the significant impact of the Innovation Center on our community and region," said Ohio University President Lori Stewart Gonzalez. "The Innovation Center serves as a catalyst for economic growth, providing crucial support to entrepreneurs and offering invaluable experiential learning opportunities for our students through engagement with Athens-based technology startups. We are proud of the Center’s contributions to fostering innovation and driving positive change in our region."

The Innovation Center’s 2023 Economic Impact Report, conducted via a third-party analysis through the Athens County Economic Development Council, identifies the number of jobs, annual wages, and economic output directly associated with businesses supported by the Innovation Center. Utilizing JobsEQ, a software for computing economic impact, the report also estimates these businesses' indirect and induced effects on the Athens County economy.

“We celebrate this annual report and credit our current and graduate clients on their success in building and growing their businesses,” stated Innovation Center Director, Stacy Strauss. “We work with tenacious, brave, brilliant, and committed entrepreneurs who are driven to succeed and have chosen Southeast Ohio as the place to launch and grow their businesses. The figures within our economic impact report validate the fact that successful scalable ventures are being built in our rural region. It is heartening to see the aggregated numbers.”

To benefit newly formed and early-stage technology ventures, the Innovation Center offers 29 offices, five conference rooms featuring with virtual conferencing equipment, ten wet laboratories, and two manufacturing laboratories. The center is one of only a few incubators in the tristate region that provides adaptable Biosafety Level 2 lab spaces. The center also owns and maintains over $1M in lab equipment to benefit its clients. The equipment, fully secured office and lab spaces and the expert business development assistance and sector expertise offered by the center enable clients to advance their technology to market and achieve growth.

In addition to Ohio University, the Innovation Center is financially supported in part by the Economic Development Administration, US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

April 23, 2024
Staff reports