Category: Business Growth

Posted in Business Growth Multimedia



Working in conjunction with WTAM radio, MAGNET has created the WTAM Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Report.

The Reports will be a series of radio spots that will begin airing on WTAM 1100 AM in June. Listen to the first report, which features Bill Barnes of MAGNET speaking about the importance of lean manufacturing.

Posted in Business Growth

Regionalism Strategies


Regional development of an agriculture agenda is truly an essential part of the business stimulus dialogue. But, like managing any regional initiative, the creation of such ventures requires much more delicate facilitation than one might expect.

The aim of any successful regional business initiative is two fold: meet the needs of each individual stakeholder WHILE AT THE SAME TIME create a common platform among multiple stakeholders. It’s sort of like blending multiple scores of music together to create an orchestral piece.

The problem is, regionalism is still understood / perceived as a fancy word for merger, and merger naturally implies LOSS. And ‘loss’ brings along with it conscious and unconscious fears.

It’s important that any regionalism effort first be articulated and developed as a partnership initiaitve where no one will lose. They might CHANGE, but they won’t lose. It is also important to honor people’s fears.

Launching the work is the hard part. The approach we use at CTP is Synergistic Improvement© and encompasses three (3) phases:

Phase 1: System Audit and Asset Mapping
Phase 2: Visioning, Leadership and Stakeholder Mobilization
Phase 3: Integration and Accountability

These phases ensure successful regional agenda development effort; or, as we call it: reciprocal partnership or consolidation.

A skilled facilitator should be able to facilitate the unfolding of these phases using process and culture building techniques to make sure what is created is rooted in the SOURCE (i.e. the stakeholders) and NOT in the priorities set by others who “supposedly” know better and have done all the right research.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION: This implies that the most important aspects of any regionalism effort is getting all the respective stakeholders AT THE TABLE, not just the ones with which we are comfortable.

In agriculture, that would include everyone in Tier One (1) of the production network, including grain provider, farmer, immediate support sources (pesticide companies, equipment providers, etc…), emerging agriculture students, and immediately impacted corporations. If cows or produce could speak – I’d make sure they were at the table, too.

Tier Two (2) stakeholders could also be engaged, if you really wanted to ensure systemic innovation. These stakeholders might include: academic representation, national association representatives, federal agriculture regulators, corporate industry leaders, and EVEN competitors.

This intentional multi-stakeholder / multi-sector representation construct is the framework within which change and benefit can occur for everyone. And the honoring of everyone within the intended industry paradigm also ensures the process unfolds with respect and dignity.

I don’t know many merger efforts where respect and dignity are a priority.

CREATING THE CULTURE: In addition to getting the right stakeholders at the table to support the foundation, it is imperative that HOW this group works together is skillfully guided.

The culture in which change and planning unfold will determine the end product.

Culture building dynamics must be woven throughout to affect: individual reflection, communication sharing and trust building. Some of the most proven techniques in culture building today include Appreciative Inquiry, Gestalt, Open Space and Transformative Change. Good technology applications can also really make a difference.

Here, the foundation of WHO (is involved) and the culture of HOW goals are developed (the flavor of the process) blend together to set the stage for implemented the WHAT (Phases 1, 2 and 3 of development). If all this is aligned, planning becomes a place where synergy is released and innovation is born.

All in all, a thorough approach to building a partnership agenda ensures the aims of regionalism can be met: cost savings, innovation, and sustainability.

When we realize that regional economic development is, at its core, a psychological process intended to build a new system, we can look at these processes much differently and, therefore, develop constructs where everyone shares in the passion for change and campaigns on behalf of its success.



The fear factor is so true.  As is the need to build trust.  And breaking down fear and building trust can only come, as you suggest, through dialogue and relationship building.  That is why it is so critical, in my opinion, that we build at system to support regional action that recognizes the barriers and breaks them down.  I don’t think that system exists today – we see examples here and there, but we don’t have a way to engage enough people in the right way so that we build momentum.

In your experience, is the “who” that does the convening matter?  I’ve seen in other parts of the country a single organization build expertise and credibility as the convener (citizen-led organizations).  Do you have other examples?

Thanks for this post!

Laura Steinbrink Director, Regional Partnerships [email protected]

Posted in Business Growth

Region’s Portfolio of Growing Companies Expands

Add iGuiders to our region’s ever-expanding portfolio of exciting companies that are creating the future.

iGuiders develops solutions to improve online search and lead generation for complex products and services. It recently secured an investment commitment of $275,000 from JumpStart, one of the Advance Northeast Ohio initiatives that is focused on helping high-growth, young companies succeed.

Learn more about iGuiders and JumpStart.

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Posted in Business Growth

Expanding Research Through Collaboration

Northeast Ohio could create 11,000 more jobs simply by being “average” when it comes to attracting federal research dollars to the region, so that’s why it is encouraging to see new collaborations being formed across the region to support expanded research efforts.

Recently, Akron General Medical Center and Cleveland State University announced they will establish a joint program to boost their involvement in bioengineering through testing, evaluation, development and enhancement of products and systems used in health care.

Under the five-year agreement, the institutions will participate in joint research projects in various areas, including orthopedics. They plan to exchange lectures and jointly create a Clinical Education Program that would involve medical residents and graduate students, and will share information on opportunities for state and federal grants.

Posted in Business Growth

Collaborating to Grow Companies

Partners in Advance Northeast Ohio are committed to collaborating with each other to make our region more competitive and to help our companies grow.

There’s probably no better example of regional collaboration than the activities of several organizations working to strengthen our region’s most promising early stage companies. For example, the Youngstown Business Incubator recently introduced one of its companies, Eris Medical Technologies, to the Innovation Alliance Fund based in Lorain that invests in early stage companies. The Fund was started by the Lorain County Community College Foundation and it has since attracted other investors, including the University of Akron.

The Fund liked what it saw in Eris and has invested $100,000 in the medical software company. Eris will use the money to develop its software, which helps hospitals maximize their revenue. The collaboration between YBI and the Fund shows that the 90 mile distance between Youngstown and Lorain isn’t that big a gap at all.

Posted in Business Growth

Connecting A Mega Region

A major premise of Advance Northeast Ohio is that when we (the 16 counties, 4.1 million people) work together as a region we are better equipped to grow our economy. So it stands to reason that if we could connect together an even larger economic region, our ability to compete on a global scale would be even stronger.

That is the thinking behind the Tech Belt Initiative that is gaining traction between Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Plain Dealer reporter Tom Breckenridge detailed the Tech Belt Initiative in a story last week. Here is how he summarized the effort:

Nearly 30 business-development groups, universities and hospital systems from Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Pittsburgh have formed a steering committee to pursue the initiative. They will craft a marketing plan to attract more venture capital and entrepreneurial talent to the mega-region, as well as lobby for more state and federal money to buttress emerging tech-based development.

Their focus will be business advances in alternative energy, biosciences, information technology, robotics, advanced manufacturing and advanced materials, such as polymers and specialty steels.

Hunter Morrison offers a rather detailed look at the rationale and benefits of this mega region organizing itself (and its 7.1 million people) to take action. Hunter says:

To thrive in this changing world, we must take a long view-looking 30 years ahead to new economic patterns rather than looking back to the industrial world of more than 30 years ago.