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Preliminary state plan funds Opportunity Corridor

An advisory council for the Ohio Department of Transportation has recommended funding for the remaining $266 million of the $334 million Opportunity Corridor project, which previously was uncommitted.

GCP President and CEO Joe Roman says the state funds, proposed by the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), “couldn’t come at a better time.

"These funds build on a substantial public and private local investment and ensure the project will be completed. Opportunity Corridor is more than a road project. It will connect our interstate system to one of the fastest growing employment hubs in the state and feed the growth already under way in and around University Circle.”

In an interview with The Plain Dealer, Deb Janik, GCP’s senior vice president, real estate and business development, noted that, “We still have processes to get through. (But) all in all, this is terrific news for Greater Cleveland.’’

Last week, Governor Kasich announced details of his recommendations for several transportation projects at the Orlando Baking Company in Cleveland, a longtime family business that will benefit from improved highway access created by the Opportunity Corridor.

Earlier this year, Kasich signed the state transportation budget bill whose key provisions permit the state to bond against future Ohio Turnpike toll revenue to accelerate funding for major new infrastructure projects. GCP worked with leaders in the Ohio General Assembly to strengthen the legislative language around how funds could be spent. In addition, GCP was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Governor Kasich’s plan.

Click here to read more about TRAC’s preliminary approval of Governor Kasich’s “Jobs and Transportation Plan.”

Click here to read the complete list of projects included in the Plan.

Click here to watch the GCP video to find out how Opportunity Corridor will benefit the surrounding neighborhoods and improve connections to University Circle.

Kraft executive to speak at diversity professionals conference

The Commission on Economic Inclusion has added another top corporate diversity executive to the speaker line-up of its fifth annual Diversity Professionals conference, “Inclusion as a Competitive Edge,” on Tuesday, August 20 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Corporate College East, 4400 Richmond Road.

Jim Norman, vice president, diversity for Kraft Foods, will be a presenter along with keynote speaker Dr. Rohini Anand, senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at Sodexho. Both companies are on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list; Sodexho is No. 1 and Kraft is No. 18.

Norman has been with Kraft Foods for 30 years. He served in numerous human resources roles across North America: Madison, Wisconsin, Modesto and Tulare, California, as well as, Sherman, Texas. His field human resources experience included both union and non-union assignments and two plant closures. He was named to his current position in March 2008.

Dr. Rohini is responsible for the strategic direction, implementation and alignment of Sodexo’s integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as Sodexo USA’s sustainable development and corporate citizenship strategies. Under her leadership, Sodexo received the prestigious 2012 Catalyst Award, which honors exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace. 

Click here for more information about the conference. 

Middle-market revenue, hiring on the rise

Optimism among middle market companies is increasing, with revenue, hiring, confidence, and investment all on the rise, according to the Q2 2013 Middle Market Indicator (MMI) released last week by the National Center for the Middle Market at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

For the first half of 2013, middle-market revenue increased 5.8 percent with expectations of increases greater than 5 percent for the next 12 months. This segment of the economy far outpaces the expected performance of 1.2 percent revenue growth estimate for the S&P 500 Stock Index.

“Middle-market companies continue to demonstrate that they are economic turbo engines,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman. “And we’ve found that mid-market companies in our region are even more optimistic about their performance this year than their counterparts in the national cohort. That bodes extremely well for the continued resurgence of the Northeast Ohio economy.”

According to the national survey, larger middle-market companies also expect to boost hiring. They forecast that they will add more workers with a mean growth increase of 3.3 percent, up from 2.2 percent from their expectations in the first quarter of 2013.

In addition, mid-market companies are becoming more confident in the global and U.S. economies. Almost half of surveyed companies say they are at least somewhat confident in the global economy, more than double the 22 percent that reported similar sentiments a year ago. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they are at least partly confident in prospects for the U.S. economy, up from 50 percent a year earlier. 

Click here to view or download the report.

GCP honored by its peers

The Greater Cleveland Partnership was recognized by its peers as one of the nation’s top chambers of commerce for membership retention, the number of new members, and new member dues.

GCP was the only chamber in the top revenue group to be recognized for achievement in all three categories. The Membership Achievement Awards were announced at the 2013 American Chamber of Commerce Executives national convention held last week in Oklahoma City.


Ohio, Cleveland No. 1 Midwest state and region
for healthcare start-up investment

Ohio was the No. 1 state in the Midwest for healthcare start-up investment in the first half of 2013 with Cleveland leading all Midwest cities for attracting financing, according to the BioEnterprise Midwest Healthcare Venture Investment Report. Ohio led the way among Midwestern states in total financings with 38 companies attracting $155 million. This statewide total includes $79.1 million attracted by 27 Cleveland companies. The Cleveland total alone topped the second largest investment of $63.9 million attracted by healthcare start-ups in Minnesota.

Click here to read more from the report, which is compiled by the BioEnterprise team from Venture Wire, Private Equity Week, Wall Street Journal, Venture Source, SEC Filings, company press releases,, and Midwest bioscience organizations and institutions. 

BioEnterprise is part of the regional economic development system that GCP helped create and continues to support.

Start-ups contributing millions to regional, state economies

A recently released study by JumpStart has found that Greater Cleveland-based startups contribute significantly to the state and regional economies with an impact that increases as these tech companies mature.

In 2012, 127 young companies collectively generated $211 million in economic benefits for Northeast Ohio and $270 million in economic benefits for Ohio, according to an annual report from The Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. The 127 companies in the report helped create and retain 1,100 in-state direct jobs, with a total Ohio employment impact of 2,140. These same firms and their suppliers increased total Ohio household earnings by $125 million and contributed nearly $12 million in state and local tax impact.

The report examines the economic contributions of growing tech-based businesses that successfully leveraged business assistance and/or seed capital from nonprofit JumpStart Inc. or its close partner organization North Coast Angel Fund.

The 2012 Economic Impact of JumpStart Inc. Portfolio and Client Companies report can be found at

JumpStart is part of the regional economic development system that GCP helped create and continues to support.


Apply now for NASA Glenn’s engineering expertise

The August 7 application deadline is fast-approaching for this year’s Manufacturing Innovation Project, which is offering access to NASA’s engineering expertise to small or mid-sized manufacturers in Cuyahoga County.


Introduced last year, the program, a collaborative effort by MAGNET, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and NASA Glenn, helps manufacturers use the services of NASA subject matter experts—at no cost—to support the development of new products or technologies. Participants also may apply for special low-interest loans from the City or County.


Experts are available on a pro bono basis to assist each manufacturer selected to participate in the program. Their expertise covers basic engineering disciplines, as well as specialty fields that support the center’s core competencies.


Click here to access the application.

Click here to learn more about the Manufacturing Innovation Project.


MAGNET is part of the regional economic development system that GCP helped create and continues to support.