Third Frontier Awards Ohio University’s Innovation Center $350,000

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The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has awarded Ohio University's Innovation Center $350,000 to help grow technology businesses in southeastern Ohio.

In addition to supporting existing staff and entrepreneurship initiatives, the funding will allow the small business incubator to hire two new contract employees who can focus on customer service management and executive talent recruitment to further develop its two dozen startups.

"This will help our client companies grow revenue, increase jobs and create more wealth for their employees," said Jennifer Simon, director of the Innovation Center.

The funding also will allow the incubator to strengthen its partnership with Ohio University's Edison Biotechnology Institute, which provides direct client services, said Anna Jensen, associate director of the Innovation Center. The institute has served an important role in feeding biotechnology and biomedical innovations and startup companies into the Innovation Center.

The Innovation Center was one of 11 incubators in the state of Ohio to receive funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Incubation Program, which supports technology-based startup companies by providing intensive entrepreneurial assistance, access to capital, state-of-the-art facilities and other resources.

The award covers support for initiatives during the 2014 calendar year.

The highly competitive state program selected the Innovation Center for its comprehensive suite of services it offers to clients, use of Lean Startup principles, extensive coaching and tracking of startups and outstanding facilities, Jensen said.

The Third Frontier commission seeks to support incubators that do more than provide space for startups, Simon said. Funding applicants needed to show a strong record of customer service and access to venture capital opportunities, which are crucial to the success of young businesses.

The Innovation Center has been well-positioned to do this, Simon noted, as Ohio University has developed an entrepreneurial ecosystem over the last few years that has created a strong pipeline of technology startups. The system helps identify new company prospects from among Ohio University's faculty, staff and student inventors, as well as entrepreneurs from across the southeastern Ohio region. With support from TechGROWTH Ohio, another Third Frontier funded program administrated by the university, the ecosystem offers business coaching, planning and seed funding to launch and advance new companies.

Recent initiatives at the Innovation Center have included new wet labs and equipment for biotechnology firms, 3D printing capabilities, a digital media incubator and a summer business accelerator program for young entrepreneurs.

For more information about the Innovation Center, visit

This article contributed by Ohio University Compass