Ohio’s technology space is exponentially growing. While it doesn’t resemble tech metropolis’ like Silicon Valley or Seattle, Ohio’s tech space is thriving and has an adaptable base for tech companies large and small. The state is known for some of the best cybersecurity initiatives in the country, has the foundational tech resources, and a large industry of people who have invested their careers in this space.
While the big tech cities have created generational success for booming IT communities, the costs to open, house, and sustain business continues to increase, and small businesses and startups tend to look elsewhere to build. That’s where Ohio comes into play – known for its industrial roots, Ohio has architecture and resources for new businesses to thrive. Companies can operate at lower costs compared to other tech-centered locations due to its lower cost of living and housing.
Ohio’s largest cities help lead the way. Cleveland, once primarily an industrial economy, is home to significant platforms including the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Also, it’s the only state that has two cities, Columbus and Cincinnati, named in Forbes’ Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups. According to Jobs Ohio, Ohio is home to more than 25 incubators and accelerators, 15 venture capital funds, 15 angel funds, and provides mentorships from Fortune 500 and 1000 companies – all which made this recognition possible.
There are many examples of Ohio’s startup success. For example, after raising more than $32M, cloud-based human capital software-as-a-service company, Onshift, projects more than 5% market share, accelerated growth, and continued acquisitions in 2020. TOA Technologies is another Cleveland-OH (Beachwood) based startup driving growth for Northeast OH.TOA Technologies is a cloud-based field service solution that optimizes customer service for enterprises by coordinating and managing activities between dispatchers, mobile employees and their customers. Since opening in in 2003, TOA achieved $99.8 M in funding, and was later acquired by Oracle in 2014.
Ohio also has the skill set to support startups – the state’s pipeline of students and employees who’ve centered their careers around technology is vast and continues to grow. Ohio averages 6,200 IT graduates each year, and 295,000 Ohioans already work in the industry. Programs like Per Scholas, Black Tech Columbus and Level D&I focus on bringing diversity to tech, seeking out more Black people, women, and other minority groups to pursue technology careers.
With 24 Fortune 500 companies and 54 Fortune 1000 companies, it’s safe to say that big companies seek Ohio out to plant their roots. Google, IBM, Amazon Web Services, and Facebook are several companies that sought out the Midwestern state, making it a hub for big data.
Ohio’s governmental programs, grants and loans also make it an attractive state for the IT community. Through the Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Third Frontier seeks to help the state build its IT community and resources. Several grants and loans are available to businesses, like the Technology Validation and Start-up Fund, which provides direct capital funding, and the Pre-Seed/Seed Plus Fund Capitalization Program that contributes funding for capital, talent, and services. More information on Ohio Third Frontier can be found here.
Even with the current recession, Ohio still stands out as a state for growing technology businesses large and small. By combining resources and expertise, the state makes it easy for companies during the decision-making process and sets companies up for long-term success. Ohio makes it possible for new companies by leveling the playing field, providing everybody, everywhere a shot at building a company and the American Dream.