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.