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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation


Youngstown, OH

Project Name

Valley Growth Ventures, LLC


Seed Fund Support

Award Amount

$250,000 for Valley Growth Ventures, LLC

The Mahoning Valley in Northeastern Ohio was one of the largest steel producing regions in the country during the heyday of American-produced steel. The local economy was decimated by the death of the local steel industry in the late 1970’s. Particularly hard-hit were the cities of Youngstown and Warren, with the later suffering a second catastrophic event when Delphi shuttered its facilities years later. Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs were lost with that decision alone. Over the years there have been some starts, but more disinvestment and consequently the economy has never rebounded. The Seed Fund Grant provides support for us to address these issues.

Three economic development organization have partnered to create a Pre-Seed Venture Capital Fund to address the need for a locally managed fund which can be used to provide capital to emerging technology businesses. Two of the partners, the Youngstown Business Incubator and the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in Warren, are technology incubators. The Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation provides businesses access to capital. The impetus for the fund is to provide an essential tool to rebuild the regional economy on a 21st Century platform. The EDA Grant allows us to continue forward to raise additional investment capital, administer the fund, and spur deal-flow.

By having our own professionally managed VC Fund, we will grow and attract technology-based businesses to the incubators to help diversify and strengthen the regional economy. The impact of successful emerging firms will resonate many times through the economy. Since the two incubators are located in the urban core, the investments in our technology companies will also spin-off follow-on investment in downtown residential and commercial development.