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Established in 1995, the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) has facilitated the creation of high value businesses through collaborative partnerships that promote innovative technologies. Over the last 20 years, the incubator has become a hub for software and technology startups that are investing in the City and has had a profound positive economic impact on downtown Youngstown. The incubator has been one of the most successful incubators in the nation and has even received global recognition; in September 2014, YBI was recognized as the best university affiliated incubator in the world by the University Business Incubator Index in Stockholm, Sweden.
In August 2012, the YBI campus became home the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (aka "America Makes"), the flagship program in the President's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The creation of America Makes has further accelerated the entrepreneurial growth in the region, creating a need for second stage business accelerator space to accommodate this growth and retain companies that are graduating from YBI and utilizing America Makes. In 2014, EDA invested $3 million in Public Works funds to renovate the Youngstown Business Incubator Tech Block Building #5 to function as a second stage accelerator, additive manufacturing incubator and workforce training facility for the Youngstown region. This project is expected to create 350 new jobs and $100 million in private investment.
This investment builds upon a long, productive history of EDA investment in Youngstown’s entrepreneur revolution. In1998, EDA awarded $498,000 to the Youngstown Edison Incubator to renovate the incubator. In September 2006, EDA awarded a $2 million to the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corporation and Youngstown Edison Incubator Corporation to construct the Taft Technology Center, a facility next door to YBI to house graduate companies.