Northwest Ohio to benefit from $8.7 million award, partnership with BGSU

Collaboration with NextTech to support regional technology startups

Dr-Michael-Ogawa
Dr. Michael Ogawa is the Vice President for Research and Economic Engagement at BGSU.

Bowling Green State University has joined a collaboration to support technology start-up companies in northwest Ohio.  

NextTech, a collaborative organization comprised of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica, and the University of Toledo, was awarded a $8.7 million grant as the Entrepreneurial Service Provider (ESP) for Northwest Ohio by the Ohio Third Frontier Board. The grant includes the calendar years 2017 and 2018.

The ESP program available through Ohio Third Frontier offers a network of entrepreneurial services and capital to help accelerate the growth of early stage Ohio technology companies. Ohio Third Frontier is part of Ohio Development Agencies. The Northwest Ohio ESP will serve an 18-county region.

Having an ESP is essential to the northwest Ohio economy, and is significant for the Ohio economy overall. With this in mind, the leadership and boards of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica and UT committed to working together as the region’s ESP.

“As anchor institutions in our communities, we are wholly committed to investing in, growing, generating jobs, creating investment capital and strengthening our region and Ohio by fostering inclusive technology entrepreneurship,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica, which is the lead applicant for the ESP.

High tech companies in northwest Ohio have lagged significantly in capital raised and jobs created over the last several years. NextTech will be focused on helping enhance connections to assets in the region as well as access to capital and talent in an inclusive environment including women, minority and rural populations. One key initial area of focus for NextTech is to help ensure resources are focused on high potential companies that have critical business needs not currently being sufficiently addressed.

Each of the participating organizations brings an area of expertise to the ESP, and will have active roles in the delivery of technology commercialization services.

In addition to its new Collab-Lab, BGSU will engage with a wider, broader and deeper range of potential entrepreneurs.

“This is an outstanding collaboration for northwest Ohio that will help to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “We look forward to leveraging our strengths in education, arts and sciences, digital arts, computer science and data sciences to launch new businesses.”

UT will continue to help researchers launch start-up companies by providing space to work and access to potential investors, as well as connecting them with business advice and patent protection.

Mercy Health will have broad responsibilities, including helping manage the assessment of a portfolio of innovations and to help identify opportunities with commercial potential.

ProMedica will continue to support biomedical innovators and entrepreneurs from across the region, and will work to ensure that there will be greater visibility for commercialization activities as well as the breadth of opportunities.

As part of the collaborative effort between the partnering organizations, a governance structure has been developed to ensure that conflicts of interests will be eliminated.

 “This is a tremendous opportunity that we are very thankful to have,” said Oostra. “The ESP will help to continue to build on the revitalization and economic development momentum we have already established. Our four organizations have the experience, expertise and resources to be successful in this venture.”