Wednesday, February 18, 2009

npr today: "there is good economic news, and it comes from youngstown"

About 13 million listeners nationwide (give or take a few hundred) tuning into NPR's Morning Edition show on Tuesday definitely heard this story:

Youngstown, Ohio: The Rust Belt's Silicon Valley?

You can listen to the clip here, as Steve Inskeep begins:
"There is good economic news, and it comes from Youngstown, Ohio.

Part of the city is seeing a renaissance due to high-tech startups housed at what's called the Youngstown Business Incubator
And by 11:30am, just hours after the story aired, inquiries about the YBI and its companies came via email from Nashville, Boston, New York City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Naples, St. Petersburg, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Houston, San Diego, San Jose, Detroit, Lexington, Charlotte, Denver, Portland, and Baton Rouge.

And that was before lunch!

I wonder how busy the phones were at the YBI for the rest of the day.

- - -

For any individual
- born in the Mahoning Valley or any place else on this earth - you can follow the news of the YBI via MySpace here, or via Facebook both here and here.

For any entrepreneur - with only an idea, or looking to beta test a product - Youngstown is willing to listen to you.

For anyone who is curious - who has seen the building only from the outside, or only heard about Youngstown on the radio - come for a tour.

- - -

As an economic development professional operating outside of the YBI who comes into contact with business incubators across the country, here are some opinions on how the Youngstown Experience is different than others:

1 - YBI is a managed cluster, aka, a place where firms and individuals learn from each other due to proximity
at many other incubators, after a few years, you leave or graduate and are on your own - apart from your contemporaries
2 - YBI is primarily (not exclusively) focused on a particular technology: business to business software
at many other incubators, the businesses cover many areas, lacking focus and inefficiently using resources
3 - YBI is adjacent to learning institutions/beta testing sites/hospitals in a central business district
at many other incubators, the structure is a spec building in the middle of nowhere, no "knowledge spillovers" to use a term in the biz
4 - YBI is an urban laboratory for both technological and civic innovation, and will be implementing some very unique programs in the near future.
at many other incubators, low rent is the only main benefit offered to companies

- - -

You can follow a wide array of past stories about the YBI in the Shout Youngstown blog here. More from Burgh Diaspora here. More at Reason here. and more from Rust Wire here.

and kudos to Jim Cossler for his efforts to support his home city.


matthew said...

NIce. I am currently attending The Ohio State University and was born and raised in Youngstown. There is plenty of good coming out of the valley and I look forward to returning with my environmental degree to help improve the valley.

Janko said...


Care to meet up at some point when I am available in Columbus?

Would like to hear about some of your ideas to improve things...