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Regional Initiatives for Mid-Size Companies

Regional Initiatives for Mid-Size Companies

January 18, 2018

If you were to think about a successful economy what would it be? What is the secret ingredient for the success of your company?

Northeast Ohio businesses have a rich tapestry of organizations and collaborative initiatives that help address issues like workforce development, infrastructure and technological research. Yet often the non-profit organizations working on these initiatives are removed from the entities they are trying to help – our business community. In this forum, we attempted to solve this and create new opportunities for partnerships and a more streamlined avenue for business leaders to both shape and take advantage of the vast economic development resources available to them. This is a key role that EDGE plays: bringing groups of people together to foster a healthier, more intelligent and more innovative business community.

Northeast Ohio business leaders gathered for a panel discussion focusing on these questions plus broad-scale initiatives to help grow the value in their business, from talent access to infrastructure to manufacturing and innovation operations. The panel featured Dorothy Baunach, Interim Director, DigitalC; Holly Harris-Bane, Executive Director, NOCHE (Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education); and Brad Whitehead, President, Fund for Our Economic Future and was moderated by, Caroline Taich, Kirtland Consulting, LLC with additional invited guests from regional economic development and business assistance organizations including: ConxusNEO, Goodwill, and Great Lakes Biomimicry.  Special thanks to Hiring Optics for sponsoring.


  • Idea of Innovation: as a community we need to fall in love with the production economy, it’s a real strength that we have as a region
  • Worker Mobility & Transportation: How do people get to work and what are viable solutions? Access to labor and the challenge on whether people can get to work. Where Jobs Locate Matters Research Identifying Job Hubs in Northeast Ohio
  • How do you qualify employees that you hire: Using educational attainment when it is not necessarily required? What if employers looked at skills as hiring criteria as opposed to higher education/degree?
  • There’s at least a $20,000 income inequality gap in Cleveland.
  • Downtown is vibrant but if you go into the neighborhoods the wealth isn’t shared.
  • Cleveland is ranked as the 3rd Least Connected City, digitally isolated neighborhoods, not even connected to the internet.
  • With DigitalC and the Mid-Town Tech Hive they’re taking it into the neighborhoods and into the heart of the city with the Connect the Unconnected program.
  • NEO Talent Exchange, a resource available to businesses to match talent with internship opportunities at your organizations. Businesses can reach out to universities for assistance with their R&D efforts and leverage student talent.


NOCHE (Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education):

Fund for Our Economic Future:


  • Mid-Town Tech Hive: Opening to the public March 1, 2018, at 6815 Euclid Avenue will be an inclusive and creative space to co-work, root companies, hold events, and take technology skill building classes, daily passes, dedicated desks, meeting rooms, classrooms, and private offices.
  • Connect the Unconnected program: in partnership with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority supports 140 households by bringing them online, providing devices for each household, and providing digital literacy and job training.

Additional Resources Shared:

  • America Makes National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
  • ASM Materials Camp
  • ConxusNEO (Summit County) – partner with companies to identify skills needed to transform the way people are prepared for great careers so they prosper and companies thrive.
  • Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio: providing skill-building programs and services needed to help remove common barriers to good jobs and independence. The stores provide revenue to help fund these programs and serve as job training sites.
  • Great Lakes Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature

About the EDGE Executive Forum Series:

This quarterly breakfast program is designed for senior leaders of middle market growth companies headquartered here in northeast Ohio, and features topics and speakers that are current and important to any business leader faced with top-level strategic and operational choices. EDGE Member organizations are invited to send up to 8 members of their leadership team to each program.

Upcoming Executive Forum Events:

For more information contact: Grant Marquit