JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio, has announced that through its regional network partner, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), it has invested over $30 million of JobsOhio funding into Southeast Ohio in 2020.
Despite the challenges of the past year, businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region creatively adapted and took advantage of market opportunities to expand and grow their capacity. Together, JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast supported 49 business expansions and locations in 2020, a record high for Southeast Ohio, thanks in part to new programs offered through JobsOhio.
“The businesses we helped pledged to create 875 new jobs and invest over $382 million in fixed assets,” said Mike Jacoby, OhioSE president. “To support those projects, our organization helped secure $6.8 million of support from JobsOhio and $1,145,728 from the State of Ohio in assistance programs. When we add in COVID-19 response programs for cash-strapped businesses and speculative site and building development programs, we brought over $30 million to the region last year.”
One of these programs, the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant (JOIG), was created in 2020 as part of the JobsOhio 2.0 Initiative to provide financial support for eligible projects in designated distressed communities and/or for businesses owned by underrepresented populations across the state.
“JOIG’s are designed to help small companies in the JobsOhio targeted sectors undertake capital expansion projects that introduce new technologies, new products, or open new markets,” Jacoby said. “The average JOIG grant in the region supported the creation of 3.8 additional jobs. OhioSE embraced JOIG and was tied for first in the state among the six regions for the most JOIG projects last year. Eighteen of the 49 projects we supported in 2020 were supported with JobsOhio Inclusion Grant.”
To qualify for an Inclusion Grant, a company must be owned by an underrepresented population – which includes consideration of geographic location, race, ethnicity, gender, veterans and those with disabilities – or it must be located in a qualified distressed community as defined by the Economic Innovation Group. The grant may be put towards eligible costs including fixed asset investment in machinery and equipment, real estate investments and training costs.
“These funds have leveraged investment and jobs growth to many of our small businesses in southeastern Ohio,” said Taylor Stepp, OhioSE Project Manager. “With this tool, our companies can have additional access to capital, which can help supercharge their growth plans.”
Whether giving existing companies a place to grow or attracting new companies, having ready sites and buildings is critical to a community’s economic development effort.
“Our regional economic development strategic plan, identified the lack of ready sites and buildings as a priority, and as a region, we have advocated for new tools,” Jacoby said. “Fortunately, in the two years since the prosperity planning process was launched, we have gone from zero programs to support speculative site and building development to three programs.”
In 2020, nearly $9.5 million was awarded in the region through the JobsOhio and OhioSE Sites Initiative. “The National Road Business Park in Muskingum County received just over a $3-million grant for infrastructure, the Bill Theisen Industrial Park in Athens County received just under $3 million for site improvements, and the Franklin Furnace to Southern Ohio Industrial District sewer project in Scioto and Lawrence counties received a $3.5 million grant,” said Jacoby.
Last summer, JobsOhio launched the Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP). Two awards from OSIP have been offered in the region so far: for spec buildings in Washington County and a site development in Belmont County. Total OSIP grant and loans offers in the region amounted to $3.7 million. Ohio’s Rural Industrial Park Loan (RIPL), which is managed by the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded three loans for spec building development in Meigs & Lawrence counties totaling $4.2 million.
While the challenges presented by the pandemic are far from over, the team at OhioSE, supported by JobsOhio, has been hard at work equipping regional businesses and local economic development organizations with the resources and tools they need to thrive.
- “Southeast Ohio Received Over $30 Million in 2020” – Ohio Business Mag, 03/15/2021
- “JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development invested $30M in region” – Barnesville Enterprise, 03/12/2021
- “JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development invested $30M in region” – Tribune Ledger News, 03/09/2021
- “JobsOhio invests over $30 million in Southeast Ohio in 2020” – Athens Messenger, 03/05/2021
- “JobsOhio invests more than $30 million into region” – Coshocton Tribune, 03/04/2021