By: Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager
The OSU Endeavor Center manager and staff of the affiliated programs at the Ohio State University South Centers continually engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and develop solutions to combat negative impact to the economy while promoting the regions resources and talents of the region. 2014 was once again a successful year for the Ohio State University Endeavor Center, its programs and its partners. Open since 2005, the 27,000 square foot business incubator has come to be recognized as a community leader in economic development, business training, and technological excellence.
Endeavor Center business programs and partners had another successful year. The technical assistance programs affiliated with or housed within The Endeavor Center include a Small Business Development Center, an International Development Center, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. All of these programs provide technical expertise and guidance to the small businesses housed in the incubator. In partnership with the Endeavor Center, the region’s Small Business Development Center was chosen as the top performing SBDC within six states by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Partners proceeded to work on several projects at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility. The Endeavor Center facility housed eighteen individual businesses which filled twenty-seven office spaces throughout the year and operating at more than 100% of its original occupancy capability. In the last five years of operation, the Ohio State University Endeavor Center and its business partners have:
• Created more than 1,300 high-skill, high-wage jobs, adding more than 115 million dollars of direct economic activity to the local community.
• In cooperation with the Small Business Development Center of Ohio, sponsored or conducted 320 business workshops, training sessions and seminars with nearly 5,300 attendees – business owners, prospective entrepreneurs and ambitious employees seeking to improve the profitability of their businesses so they can grow and provide additional employment opportunities for those in the community.
In August, a partnership was formed with Community Action of Pike County to combat potential federal budget induced layoffs at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility. Community Action Committee of Pike County received funding to create a temporary transition center to provide technical assistance for employees facing layoffs. In short time, the transition center was up and running in the Endeavor Center.
Also in 2014, the OSU Endeavor Center was chosen as The Ohio State University’s nominee for the national C. Peter McGrath Community Outreach and Engagement Award. In October, the OSU South Centers director, Tom Worley, and Endeavor Center manager, Ryan Mapes, attended the national outreach and engagement award presentation in Edmonton, Alberta to learn more about the award process. The Endeavor Center staff is currently working with staff on main campus to prepare the presentation for the 2015 national award process.