Existing businesses will no longer receive innovation funds from the Ohio Third Frontier Program. The $350 million in remaining funds will go to programs designed to help high-tech startup companies. This will eliminate half of the high-tech economic development programs belonging to the Third Frontier Program. The commission decided to abandon existing business programs because they weren’t creating nearly as many jobs or generating as much wealth as other programs that target startups. (Click here for more information.)
As far as I can tell, Ashtabula County companies have not taken advantage of the Third Frontier Program. They should have. Technological innovation, and the productivity it brings, are what drive economic growth on the national and local levels. Local tech startups will hopefully explore the benefit of the new Third Frontier programs, which are described on the organization’s website.
Rural economies need innovation. Check out this report and this report which demonstrate why innovation is needed and how it can occur in rural areas. After all, agriculture has been a hot bed of innovation over the past century! And look at what Aloterra is doing in Ashtabula County! As the company says: “In the same manner in which the oil industry established itself over 100 years ago, Aloterra is establishing biomass refineries in and around its “biomass reserves” in order to provide stable, consistent, and sustainable supplies of biomass for conversion to higher value products. From unique fiber based materials, to sustainable pulp and packaging, to the next generation of liquid fuels, biomass can and will revolutionize how we live our daily lives.”