OCU Wins Federal EDA Grant to Develop Small Business Incubator

Ohio Christian University (OCU) has been awarded a $2.5 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), to establish the Southern Gateway Economic Innovation Development Center.

The success of this effort would not have been possible without the unprecedented collaboration of partners and supporters led by OCU, including Ryan Scribner of the Pickaway Progress Partnership (P3), Kenny McDonald of Columbus 2020, Jay Wippel of the Pickaway County Board of Commissioners, TechColumbus, the economic development offices of Pickaway, Ross, and Fayette counties, the EDA Regional office, and our federal representatives including Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Representative Steve Stivers and Representative Brad Wenstrup.

The "Southern Gateway" is being developed as a public/private partnership to help attract to the tri-county region new businesses and workforce opportunities, provide training and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs, and to develop small businesses which will lead to increased employment in Pickaway, Ross and Fayette counties.

The Southern Gateway will also link education in Pickaway, Ross, and Fayette counties, providing a seamless system of expertise and learning that will prepare the community for success in the local economy.

"OCU deeply appreciates the hard work of its partners and supporters in making the development of the Southern Gateway a reality," OCU president Mark Smith said after receiving the grant award letter.  "In particular, I want to thank our congressional delegation, including Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Representative Steve Stivers, and Representative Brad Wenstrup; the regional office of the Economic Development Administration; and all of our local leaders who came together to make this possible.  One of our most important objectives is to contribute positively to our community - whether that's through providing young leaders with an excellent education or preparing the current and next generation of entrepreneurs with the tools to generate good jobs for our region - we're committed to doing our part."

“These federal resources will lay the groundwork for small businesses throughout south central Ohio to have a better shot at creating new opportunities and jobs,” Senator Brown said. “Small businesses are essential to our economy, and through this award, Ohio Christian University can lead the way in economic development.”

“I am pleased that Ohio Christian University will have the opportunity to have a greater impact on job growth in Central Ohio by using this economic development grant as they move forward with the Southern Gateway initiative,” said Senator Portman.

“It was an honor to support the Southern Gateway Economic Innovation Development Center,” said Representative Stivers.  “The incubator will attract new businesses, establish innovative workforce opportunities, and provide access to training for developing businesses.  This is a win for the entire region.”

“This competitive grant is a reflection of the commitment our community and business leaders have to the success of the Southern Gateway, Representative Wenstrup said. “It is a significant boon to all of our small businesses, students, and entrepreneurs in the tri-county area. I appreciate Ohio Christian University’s leadership in spearheading efforts to expand economic opportunities in Ross County and the region.”

Construction of the Southern Gateway is scheduled to begin on OCU's campus during the summer of 2014, with completion slated for the end of 2015.

To support this important new endeavor go to https://secure.qgiv.com/for/ocu/restriction/CapitalCampaign/ and give today!