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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Lorain County Community College District

Location

Elyria, OH

Project Name

Northeast Ohio Regional Acceleration in Digital Innovation (NEO ReADI)

Program

i6

Award Amount

$499,999.00

NEO innovates in growth-oriented tech sectors such as IT, BioScience, additive manufacturing and materials engineering as a means to expand and grow the regional tech economy and a more diverse, tech-savvy workforce. Exceptional digital network infrastructure positions NEO to grow and attract data-focused startups. More than 95 percent of NEO’s hospitals, universities, and research facilities operate on ultra-fast fiber-optic networks.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Acceleration in Digital Innovation initiative (NEO ReADI) will provide proof-of-concept and commercialization services to start-ups in a nascent Core Digital Technology cluster as its i6 focus. NEO ReADI will cultivate early-stage innovations in NEO’s “big data” revolution by leveraging strengths in data-aligned technologies that encompass sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), embedded/wearable technologies, and other products to integrate & process electronic information. Key partners include tech incubators and economic development entities including the Lorain County Community College GLIDE incubator, DigitalC, JumpStart, BioEnterprise, Braintree Incubator, MAGNET, Team NEO, and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

Directed by project leader GLIDE, partners will provide project connectivity, entrepreneurial development, proof-of-concept and commercialization services. DigitalC, catalyst for an open and neutral fiber network throughout NEO (that now spans 24 counties and 2,500 miles), will likewise provide key connectivity to the cluster development work. TeamNEO will lead “open innovation collaboration” on business/technology development projects with larger industry partners.

NEO ReADI’s goal is cluster growth of data-aligned tech companies. It aims to bolster 8-12 companies with proven concepts and markets within three years, and continue thereafter advancing four or more cluster ventures each year to marketability and commercialization.

Importantly, two seed funds are aligned with NEO ReADI to support project clients financially, with up to $1M in funds available to amplify cluster enterprises. The DigitalC Fund is an equity-based seed fund focused on the cluster. GLIDE’s Innovation Fund is a nationally-recognized non-equity based seed fund, cited as a best-practice non-profit fund in tech-based economic development.