Ohio Business Development Coalition

Ohio Business Development Coalition (3)

It's said that most startups fail within five years. Still, the possibility - or experience - of failure doesn't stop approximately 600,000 entrepreneurs from starting new businesses every year in the United States. Yet, while many will fail, many others will succeed. To succeed, entrepreneurs must find a location that balances access to resources and low overhead costs for a higher chance of business success.

"For entrepreneurs, every dollar is a precious commodity," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state of Ohio for capital investment. "The more investment capital that actually makes it to product development and commercialization, the greater the probability of success."

Executives of GhostBlind Industries, in Marietta, and Cerner Resource Systems, in New Concord, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Kent State University, in Kent, are living their entrepreneurial dreams in Ohio's Enterprise Appalachia. The region's unique set of successful business opportunities enabled them to turn their ideas for business success into growing companies.

Every entrepreneur wants to select the right location to start and grow their business. But, the choice isn't always obvious, and often the default is to simply start where you are currently located instead of looking for an ideal location. Choosing a business location is an important strategic choice, one that should be based upon a thorough consideration of established criteria and relevant data.

Ohio's Enterprise Appalachia offers the ideal site selection criteria for small businesses to thrive, from access to funding and finding a considerable knowledge base to leveraging supply chain resources and reaching key markets. This is evidenced by the surge of successful start-up companies who have put the state's abundant entrepreneurial resources into action.

Founded by hunting enthusiasts Chet Burdette and Kevin Pottmeyer, GhostBlind's signature hunting blinds utilize lightweight, reflective panels to create a foolproof camouflage in any landscape. Based on its potential to attract a large market, create jobs and contribute to the regional economy, GhostBlind Industries was a prime candidate for support from TechGROWTH Ohio, which provides business advisory services, competitive grant support and seed-stage investment capital to technology companies and entrepreneurs in Southeast Ohio.

According to Burdette, TechGROWTH Ohio has been instrumental in accelerating GhostBlind's growth over the past two years. Within the past year, the company has taken on nearly 300 dealers in the U.S., such as Cabela's, and abroad - some as far as Australia and New Zealand, noted Pottmeyer.

"They have turned an innovative idea into a high-growth business," said TechGROWTH Ohio Director John Glazer. "They embody the spirit of entrepreneurialism in the Southeast Ohio region."

This is one example of regional venture capital and financial support found in Enterprise Appalachia. Entrepreneurs locating in the region benefit from regional venture capital and financial support that meets the needs of all businesses, from start-up businesses to gazelle high growth companies.

Ohio's Enterprise Appalachian region is home to 25 institutions of higher education, including seven four-year universities and colleges and 18 two-year colleges. Not only do these institutions provide knowledge and expertise to entrepreneurs, but contribute to a knowledgeable workforce ready to help companies grow.

Entrepreneurs Greg Adams and Larry Triplett recognized a need for data processing services and leveraged small business support services in Appalachian Ohio to found Resource Systems. Now with more than 80 employees, Resource Systems caters to more than 3,500 nursing homes nationwide. Inc. magazine has named it one of the nation's fastest growing private companies. In May 2011, Resource Systems merged with Cerner Corporation, now Cerner Resource Systems.

"There are so many benefits to being located in Appalachian Ohio. We're in a nice setting overlooking town, and we have a strong internship program with Muskingham University," said Triplett, managing director of Cerner Resource Systems. "People are attracted to work for us because of where we are, and they make New Concord their home. Once they come, they stay. Our turnover is nearly zero."

In addition, Enterprise Appalachia's location and tax structure, along with easy access to supply chains and key markets, makes it cost effective for entrepreneurs to serve customers in North America and around the globe. A recent report by the Quantitative Economics and Statistics Practices (QUEST) of Ernst & Young in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST) ranks Ohio as third in the nation for friendliest tax environment.

Youngstown, Ohio native Craig Zamary, now entrepreneur in residence at Kent State University, believes Ohio's Enterprise Appalachia offers a work-life balance for business owners, their employees and their families available nowhere else. He is teaching Kent State students what he learned from starting and selling two companies and helping to build the next generation of young entrepreneurs.

"Being able to launch and sell two successful companies and still be there for my wife and children, never missing out on any of the important moments, has been vitally important to me," Zamary said. "Locating your business in Ohio provides you an opportunity to have a life in perfect balance."

"Creating a successful business is a time consuming job. In the Enterprise Appalachia Region, it is easy to travel to and from work without having to deal with the stress of a long commute," Burghard said. "Locating your business in Enterprise Appalachia affords you the gift of time. You can meet the demands of creating a successful entrepreneurial venture without sacrificing your life in the process. It provides you an opportunity to have a life in perfect balance."

For more information, visit: www.ohiomeansbusiness.com

America has long been a worker's state. With deft hands and hard muscle, skilled workers transformed inventions – from airplanes to automobiles – into products in high demand across the U.S. and around the globe. Manufacturing revenues rippled through the economy to create unparalleled prosperity. As the last century waned, however, it seemed the day of the worker was coming to an end.

Though manufacturing nationwide is recovering from the recession, manufacturing production is expected to hit all-time highs in 2011 and 2012, according to the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

According to Ball State University's annual Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card, Ohio is one of only two states to earn both an "A" grade in manufacturing and logistics. Indiana also earned an "A" grade in both industries.

The manufacturing rating is based on total income earned by manufacturing employees in a given state, the wage premium received by manufacturing employees relative to those of other states and the per capita share of manufacturing employment. The logistics rating is based on the share of total logistics industry income as a share of total state income and the employment per capita. These data are collected from the U.S. Department of the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Information System and the Center for Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation.

Ohio aims to leverage its strengths in manufacturing and logistics to be known as a global leader that offers manufacturing companies an ideal environment to maximize ROI with industry expertise, a business-friendly climate, a well-educated workforce and a strong supply chain to get products to market.

"As globalization, technology and innovation reshape our economy, some of the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Ohio lie in manufacturing," said Daniel Berry, president and CEO of the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, a Cleveland-based economic development group aimed at helping manufacturers in Ohio become more competitive and grow.

"We are looking for opportunities to build on the strengths of our industrial heritage that's highlighted in the Ball State University report by connecting these capabilities with future manufacturing needs in technology-driven growth clusters like materials, advanced energy, materials and aerospace," Berry added.

The global marketplace and recent recession have forever changed the manufacturing landscape, distributing manufacturing employment into second- and third-world economies. Despite these changes and resulting challenges, Ohio's strength in "making things" means that manufacturing will remain a key element of Ohio's economy.

According to the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, manufacturing is the largest of the 20 sectors of Ohio's economy with 17.8 percent of total output in 2008. Manufacturing leads Ohio's private sector industry in job creation, with more than 14 percent of all Ohio workers are employed in manufacturing. More than half of all manufacturing jobs in Ohio are in high demand industries, such as transportation equipment, plastics and rubber and food.

From the processing of raw materials to the creation of finely tuned products, Ohioans serve as the world's experts in the manufacturing sector. "In Ohio, we have brilliance in all kinds of materials that support manufacturing from manufacturing and process technologies to process know-how," said Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association. "Ohio has all the components that make up an advanced industrial economy."

Ohio's world-class logistics capabilities help manufacturing companies reduce operating costs by getting components and finished goods quickly to their destination anywhere in the U.S. or around the globe. Ohio's extensive logistics management network supports the state's 21,250 manufacturing companies with multi-modal and inter-modal networks allowing efficient import and export of products—180 public airports, eight interstate highways, 36 freight railroads and 25 waterfront ports.

A strategic location also plays an important role; the state is within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population and is within a one-day drive of 70 percent of North America's manufacturing capacity.

Strategic investments and tax reforms enable Ohio companies to compete – and win – in the 21st century global economy. In fact, businesses incur only a flat $150 fee on out-of-state sales of up to $1 million. A recent report by the Quantitative Economics and Statistics Practices (QUEST) of Ernst & Young in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST), ranks Ohio as third in the nation for friendliest tax environment.  Companies continue to discover the benefits of investing in Ohio, finding a preferred location for capital investment, a competitive business environment and a perfect balance between business pursuits and personal aspirations.

"Ohio's ongoing efforts to reform and improve the state tax structure, as well as our loyal workforce and excellent support from the state and the local community keep Lincoln Electric growing in Ohio," said John M. Stropki, chairman and chief executive officer of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of welding systems and equipment headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.  

"Ohio's success is not solely dependent on the strength of its business advantages. It's about Ohio's promise of work-life balance," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. "Low-cost, low-stress communities and short commutes create the State of Perfect Balance, where you can achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing one for the other."

The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts.

For more information, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com

Product improvement and new product development are a critical part of all manufacturers' growth opportunities. These elements are the way to stay ahead of global competition. But, the time required in the real world to model and test any product design change is significant. Assuming companies have the resources to devote the time and effort to R&D, it still takes months to prototype, test, refine and test again.

The polymer industry is a perfect example. Built around the interaction of complex molecular structures, understanding how they bond and then change over time is critical to the reliability of products. Because of the real world complexities of temperature, pressure and wear and tear, the only practical option for many polymer manufacturers is the time-consuming and costly approach of building and observing. Anything that can reduce time or expense can mean the difference between commercial success and failure in the polymer industry.

Ohio is committed to capitalizing on its strength in advanced materials to create and attract 21st century businesses and jobs. From its early roots in Akron's tire production and the region's support for the auto industry to supply today's growth industries, Ohio has always been the heart of America's polymer industry.

Costs associated with accessing markets and shipping products and supplies can be a considerable business expense for polymer and advanced materials companies. In addition, the challenge of coordinating with polymer manufacturers, suppliers and other resources across many states can be a logistical nightmare for companies.

Collaborative industry relationships are critical to developing and assuring the commercialization of technology-based, high value-added polymer products, says Dennis Barber, executive director of the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, focused on providing strategy and resources for Ohio's polymer industry.

Ohio's world-class transportation infrastructure, proximity to major markets and large-scale polymer and advanced materials industries offer key cost-reducing advantages for polymer companies and makes the state the preferred location for advanced material businesses. Generating $50 billion in annual economic activity and $1.3 billion in exports from plastics, rubber, resins, polymers, composites and other advanced materials, Ohio leads the nation in polymers and advanced materials production.

Ohio's world-leading polymer industry is one of the state's most expansive and important economic sectors. With more than 1,150 companies and a workforce greater than 80,000, the state has the largest concentration of polymer product producers, machines, materials and workers in North America. At least one industry establishment exists in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties.

Ohio also is home to the world's largest concentration of advanced materials and polymer research and development expertise. Eight Ohio universities have polymer research programs, offering a well-educated workforce and opportunities for research collaborations to create new products, applications and opportunities for growth. This workforce supply minimizes time associated with training, significantly increases productivity and reduces operating costs. In addition, millions of dollars of strategic investments by Ohio Third Frontier and more than 60 collaborating private industry partners are paving the way for commercialization of new technologies.

In addition to plastics, rubber and resins, Ohio's key polymer sectors include advanced composites, advanced energy, bioproducts, flexible devices, nanotechnology and polymer processing.

"Building on its rich rubber and automotive manufacturing heritage, Ohio has become a global leader in polymers and advanced materials," Barber continued. "Ohio's leadership is supported by the top polymer science programs in the U.S., the world's highest concentration of polymer research and development and the country's most extensive industry supply chain."

Bahman Taheri, chief executive officer of AlphaMicron in Kent, Ohio, believes his location in Ohio has attributed to the company's success. "Ohio's strong industrial base in plastics and printing and leading research in liquid crystals, polymers and polymer engineering make the state a natural home for the polymer industry," shared Taheri. "In Ohio, I have everything I need to succeed professional and personally."

Ohio's polymer success is not solely dependent on the strength of its business advantages. Today's industry leaders have made Ohio a top choice to pursue their personal goals as well.

"In Ohio, work-life balance is more than a buzzword; it's the way we do business," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. "Low-cost, low-stress communities and short commutes create the State of Perfect Balance, where you can achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing one for the other."

Download Ohio's latest brochure about the polymer industry: http://bit.ly/enSJxM

About the Ohio Business Development Coalition
The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts. For more information, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com

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