Tuesday, November 04, 2008

what does the Tech Belt Initiative want to be when it grows up?

Chris over at NullSpace comments on the recent real estate news of Howard Hanna (of Pittsburgh) purchasing Reality One (of Cleveland) - giving it a 40% share of the Cleveland market.

This builds on the other bit of recent news in October with PNC (of Pittsburgh) purchasing National City (of Cleveland), the latter being the largest bank in the state of Ohio.

In many ways, the interdependence and the collective consciousness of a combined Northeast Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania is strengthening.

And so the website of the [Cleveland-Akron-Youngstown-Pittsburgh] TechBelt Initiative is now up at www.techbelt.org, with a brief 8 page overview of the plan here. Check out the goals, check out the aggregate funding and population levels, and check out the challenges that this mega-region collectively faces.

But after checking out the paper, I keep thinking: What does the Tech Belt Initiative want to be when it grows up?

A membership-based networking organization?

A marketing campaign?

A funding agent?

A lobbying group?

The goals in the brief paper may align the future of the Tech Belt to several of these options.

But if you want to learn more on this project, check out the 2nd Cleveland+Pittsburgh+Youngstown Regional Learning Network meeting to be held this Friday all day at the Youngstown Club. (details on C+P+Y here)


BONUS: Time Magazine's video of Youngstown here on the election, featuring a few local bloggers. The Wall Street Journal's month-long blog (talk about embedded) on undecided Youngstown voters concludes here. (ps. Much thanks to the featured Joe Sullivan, a kind soul who taught me how to juggle 14 years ago) and finally, Mayor Williams lays out his argument on who to vote for in the Presidential election in his blog, here.

The top priority of an Obama-Biden administration will be to get our economy moving again, not only on Wall Street but on Market Street, Federal Street, Belmont, Oak Street, and Salt Springs Road, here in Youngstown. Barack Obama knows that the single greatest strength of our nation is our creativity and our determination in the face of adversity.

Sen. Obama promises to invest in the skills and ingenuity of Americans by promoting "innovation clusters" – regional centers of innovation and next-generation industries. This is a concept on which I am working closely with Congressman Tim Ryan. To his great credit, Sen. Obama is building off a policy that has already shown tremendous success in cities across the country.

I have seen that success up-close. The Youngstown Business Incubator has helped turn our city into a national hub for business-to-business software. Companies within the Youngstown Business Incubator have been awarded 16 intellectual property patents, developed 19 new commercial software applications, created over 170 new jobs, recruited customers in 44 foreign countries, translated their products and support materials into 8 languages, and won the prestigious Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award. We are already training entrepreneurs and other young people to get them good jobs in this emerging industry.

I can cite examples of other companies in Youngstown such as FireLine, City Machine Technologies, M-7 Technologies, Brilex, Exal and, Northern States Metals, just to name a few, that have figured out how to excel in a global market place. These are models of “next generation” companies that will help to define the economy of the City of Youngstown, the Mahoning Valley, and even the State of Ohio. These are the type of companies, amongst others, that we will continue to work with to help ensure they benefit from an Obama/Biden economic policy.

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