September 11, 2012
Catalyzing innovation: Q&A with Bob Coy
There are many transformative initiatives taking place right now that are intended to drive innovation and entrepreneurialism in the region. Among those is an effort by the Cincinnati Business Committee, which was motivated by work of Agenda 360 and Vision 2015, called Cintrifuse.
Cintrifuse will move into a building in Over-the-Rhine and work with partner organizations such as CincyTech, the Brandery and the Chamber to expand services to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses.
In the cover story in the current issue of ChamberConnect, the Chamber spoke with leaders about the importance of the innovation economy. While the responses were edited for space, the complete Q&A with each leader will appear in ChamberCurrents.
This week's Q&A is with Bob Coy, the president of CincyTech.
What do people mean by the innovation economy and why are we all suddenly talking about it?
An innovation economy is an ecosystem made up of a vibrant mix of technology, talent and capital that together make it possible for both startups and existing companies to bring new processes and products to market.
Our business community has realized that we must invest in this kind of ecosystem. A recent study from the Kauffman Foundation found that 100 percent of all net new job creation in the U.S. since the late 1970s has come from companies less than five years old. And a Pennsylvania study found that .03 percent of companies created 74 percent of the jobs there between 2004-09. That concentration of growth shows the importance of investing in new ideas.
How is your organization contributing to the innovation economy here?
CincyTech's mission is to find talented people and sources of funding to co-invest with us in high-potential technology and life sciences companies. These companies are creating high-skill, high-paying jobs as they address problems to be solved within businesses, in the medical and health-care fields and in other industries as well as in consumer web-based services.
CincyTech helps these startups find capital through its network of 150+ high-net worth investors. One of CincyTech's contributions to the ecosystem has been to help develop a local culture of investing in startups by mitigating the risk through services and due diligence into the companies and by providing significant coaching and business plan assistance to entrepreneurs. We also work closely with Cincinnati Children's and the University of Cincinnati to help them take their research into the marketplace and turn ideas into products. Taking ideas to market is at the heart of basing an economy on innovation.
What does that contribution mean for the Greater Cincinnati/Northern KY business community - and our quality of life?
A healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem is the foundation for a good quality of life in a city. New businesses and products create jobs, creating a higher tax base and helping to keep young professionals in our region. Businesses create personal wealth for their owners, who become our philanthropists, investing in the arts, nonprofits and community life. Startups create wealth not just for their founders but for their employees, many of whom will spin out into their own enterprises, perpetuating a cycle of company and jobs creation and propelling our region into a healthy economic future.