November Economic Development System Update

From the Desk of Bill Koehler

I hope you are enjoying Fall in Northeast Ohio. While we didn’t win the Fall Classic, the Indians certainly added to a memorable year for our region, which continues to thrive. Here is a quick update on the performance of our economic development system as it relates to our project work.

With respect to regional performance, our results continue to be in line with our 2016 year-end goals across virtually all categories. For A and B metrics through the end of October, we have closed 65 projects, generating 4,062 new jobs (90% of our annual goal), $223M in new payroll (111% of our annual goal) and $1.2B in capital investment (159% of our annual goal). Attraction wins represented 16 projects (80% of our annual goal) through October generating a total of 1,012 new jobs (75% of our annual goal), $54M in new payroll (108% of our annual goal) and $954M in capex (477% of our annual goal).

These wins represent the deals worked on by the region’s business development organizations that partner with JobsOhio and Team NEO. Team NEO is dedicated to helping you and your peers close even more deals, and to help you be recognized for those successes. To help in that endeavor, Team NEO has started collecting data from our partners about closed deals that are the result of your good work. With that data, we can more accurately understand, promote and support the business development system in our region. Please consider submitting your wins data for non-retail, job-creating business growth here. This information will also be valuable for Ohio’s Governors Cup entry, which is currently being compiled by JobsOhio.

Looking toward year-end based on our present pipeline, we expect to fall short of our metric relating to the number of overall projects, but we expect to achieve all other goals. We are focused upon “finishing the job”, and we look forward to our meeting in January when we can celebrate our collective success in 2016.

Regional Innovation Cluster Building

We have done considerable work on unlocking opportunities for clusters to grow in our region. I wanted to brief you on our efforts in this regard so that you are aware of them and may be thinking about how you can leverage this work. Team NEO is building regional innovation clusters (geographic concentrations of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers and associated institutions in an industry) in the areas of Energy Storage, Smart Devices & Systems, and Additive Manufacturing. Through Open Innovation Networks (OIN), Team NEO matches larger driver industry companies (Seekers) to key supply chain partners made up of smaller, early stage and growth-oriented companies as well as research and academic institutions (Solvers) for business development. The benefits of building the networks include improved time to market, research and development cost savings, development of expanded value chain partnerships, and access to specialized technologies and products.

Activities in October to develop these networks included:

  • Almost 50 experts representing academia, entrepreneurship, larger companies and smaller/early stage/growth oriented businesses, gathered for the launch meeting to discuss the opportunities of establishing a Smart Devices & Systems cluster. Participation included representatives from Cleveland Clinic, Eaton, The Lubrizol Corporation, and Rockwell Automation.
  • In coordination with Case Western Reserve University’s AUTM (Association of University Technology Managers®) event, more than 50 experts in the Energy Storage space met as part of an ongoing dialogue focused on creating a regional ecosystem that would support Energy Storage and Integration for terrestrial and transportation (ground, air and space) application. The meeting was kicked off with opening remarks from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur who has been a major supporter of this development activity. In addition, participation included representatives from the Department of Energy, NASA Glenn Research Center, First Energy, Eaton, Rockwell, Johnson Controls, Energizer, and Case Western Reserve University.

Please let me know if you would like additional information about this work and how you can leverage our team and their insights with your R&E efforts.

Digital Marketing Uncovers Prospects, Leads

We are winding down our third digital marketing campaign of the year, which focused on metals. As digital marketing is new to economic development, we are learning as we go, but pleased with the progress made so far. Here is a quick review.

  • Team NEO’s digital marketing campaigns have been underway since Spring. Experts at Content Marketing World, the organization that hosts the country’s largest digital marketing conference in Cleveland each year, state it typically takes 18 months for digital marketing to yield results. We seem to be ahead of that curse as, since March, our Marketing, Communication and Development department has identified more than 100 “sales qualified prospects” of which nearly 70 percent have been attraction-related. All retention and expansion prospects have been dispersed to the appropriate county partners. So far, 12 of our 18 counties have received such prospects.
  • On the attraction side, five of the prospects have been moved into the “leads” category, meaning they show promise for becoming a project. As our target list was built from existing Salesforce contacts, some of these leads were either formed or in the formation stage at the time of our content marketing outreach, but it is valuable to know that the prospect remains interested and to see what content they are downloading. Four of these 5 leads are international.

With each campaign that we conduct, we are happy to include relevant prospects in our footprint if you provide the contact information. Should these prospects engage with our content, we will let you know so that you can follow up. Prior to each campaign, we reach out to our county Partners requesting contacts. Our next campaign will be focused on bio-related companies. Also, it is important that the sales qualified prospects that we pass on to our partners are followed up. If we can assist you in any way in this regard, please let us know.

Thank you for your good work. We have a chance to have our best year as a region in some time, so let us know if we can assist you in closing projects and securing as many wins as possible.