“The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has honored the Ohio University Innovation Center with the 2014 Holzaepfel Award, the top economic development award in the region.
The chamber recognized the Innovation Center, the university’s technology business incubator, for its creation of high-paying jobs and new businesses that have taken root in Athens County. Director Jennifer Simon accepted the award during the chamber’s annual awards dinner Thursday evening at the Ohio University Inn and Conference Center.
The Innovation Center has helped entrepreneurs turn promising ideas into flourishing businesses since 1983. It offers business planning and coaching services, networking opportunities and access to venture capital. Client companies can use the center’s state-of-the-art spaces and equipment, such as a 3D printer and biotechnology instruments.
In 2014, the center’s 16 tenant clients reported total revenue of $8.4 million during the third quarter, a 230 percent year-over-year increase. The clients attracted an additional $1.25 million in angel or venture investment and loans. Innovation Center companies added an average of 5.5 new jobs, for a total of 84 jobs. The average annual salary is $43,459, which is well above the average regional income.
“The Innovation Center experienced a highly successful 2014 and made a strong impact on the region’s economy. We are thrilled to cap off the year with the receipt of the prestigious Holzaepfel Award,” Simon said. “Throughout the years, the center has worked closely with the chamber, as well as our other community and entrepreneurial ecosystem partners, on big projects such as the retention of major companies, including Diagnostic Hybrids and Third Sun Solar, creating hundreds of jobs.”
The chamber award is named after Mike Holzaepfel, a local business leader who worked tirelessly and passionately on economic development, making transformational positive economic impacts in the region.”