Influencers, Policymakers & University Leaders Connect to Strengthen Statewide Innovation & Entrepreneurship
As Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) welcomed leaders from 35 Ohio universities to the 11th annual College Presidents Conference, Ohio Innovation Fund’s managing director Bill Baumel prepared to take the stage and help lawmakers, federal agencies and other education experts understand their role in job creation, industry growth and social entrepreneurship.
“Most of the Fortune 500 and the leading universities are now customers of our companies,” Baumel says. “This conference unites the university presidents of Ohio in collaborating toward driving Ohio’s innovation economy, which we are funding and working within to deliver Silicon Valley-like innovation and career opportunities in the heartland of Ohio.”
While Ohio acts as a launching pad for fulfilling careers and innovative startups to reach larger markets, the state itself has become a national entrepreneurial powerhouse.
“Through strong partnerships with The Ohio State University, Ohio University and Kent State University, we have seen great progress in our efforts towards transforming innovative research into highly successful Ohio-based companies growing in excess of 100% annually in industries, such as MedTech, cyber security, data science and advanced manufacturing, providing excellent career opportunities for Ohioans,” Baumel says.
However, entrepreneurial success in Ohio doesn’t come without a few hurdles unique to the heartland.
The Midwest faces the following barriers to success:
- Lack of venture capital understanding
- Attempts to “reinvent” the venture capital wheel
- Not thinking big enough
OIF’s Triple Impact: Bringing Unique Growth Opportunities to Ohio-Based Limited Partners
Ohio Innovation Fund offers a unique triple impact opportunity to university and university foundation limited partners (LPs). OIF is not only focused on providing investment-level returns, but also offers LPs the chance to invest their dollars in their local ecosystem by supporting Ohio based companies. Furthermore, OIF provides additional educational opportunities to partnering universities through student internships and classroom speaking engagements.
OIF leverages its rich history to help less-experienced innovators, entrepreneurs and VCs further understand the intricacies of the venture capital world, while reducing common startup redundancies and simplifying the management process. Each current OIF portfolio company acts as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs to think bigger and operate at the speed of technology innovation, similar to Silicon Valley where progress is measured not only in quarters or years, but also in what is accomplished in minutes, hours and days.
Innovation is a Bipartisan Effort
Throughout the conference, Sen. Brown also invited members of Ohio’s congressional delegation to speak with attendees. These members included Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3), Bob Latta (OH-R-5) and Warren Davidson (OH-R-8).
Each resource, whether it be an educational institution like the Ohio State University, Kent State or Ohio University, or an experienced top emerging manager like Ohio Innovation Fund, lends itself to the greater good – a more affluent, innovative Ohio.
“Our higher education system is one of our state’s greatest assets,” says Brown. “And today we’re talking and sharing ideas about how we leverage that asset to grow new industries, create jobs and bring new opportunities to Ohioans.”