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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Dan Horrigan Announces Innovation-Based Economic Development Strategy and Founding of BOUNCE,

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 08-11-2017

Mayor Dan Horrigan Announces Innovation-Based Economic Development Strategy and Founding of BOUNCE,

Akron, Ohio, August 11, 2017 – Today, Mayor Horrigan announced his innovation-based economic development strategy to create the jobs of the future, catalyze innovation, and support local entrepreneurship in Akron. As a foundational pillar of this strategy, Mayor Horrigan announced the creation of BOUNCE, Akron’s Innovation Hub. BOUNCE will deploy an open innovation model, with programming that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives, students, and other Akronites who are engaged in innovation—or want to be.

“Today, I’ve made a commitment that Akron will be doubling down on 30 years of investment in entrepreneurship activities,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Akron has always been a hub of innovation and ingenuity, and my innovation-based economic development strategy is designed to harness the incredible talent we already have in Akron and attract new talent by creating a one-stop shop for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

BOUNCE represents a fresh, open model that enables interaction across sectors and functions. BOUNCE will be a central location for all innovation activities in the city, where creative minds and established companies alike can collaborate and engage with each other through ‘curated collisions.’ It will include a maker space, co-working space, café, business development tools, classrooms, and mentorship services. BOUNCE will be located at 526 South Main Street (the current site of the Akron Global Business Accelerator) and house the Bit Factory and the City’s business accelerator and incubator services.

Mayor Horrigan unveiled BOUNCE to a group of stakeholders yesterday afternoon—including the members of his recently-appointed Akron Growth Council and other key representatives from the corporate and non-profit sectors that are closely engaged in the local research and development, innovation, and start-up scenes.

The meeting included a presentation by David Zipper, a partner within the 1776 Venture Fund and a former economic development director for the cities of Washington DC and New York City. The City engaged Zipper to conduct an assessment of innovation activities in Akron and share recommendations to create opportunities for local economic growth.  “Akron has a strong corporate base and great local universities,” Zipper said. “Akronites want to support innovators and entrepreneurs—but there hasn’t been an easy way to do so.  BOUNCE can provide that.”

Donzell Taylor, chairman of the Greater Akron Chamber's Board of Directors, expressed his support for the open innovation model of BOUNCE. “I’m confident that our corporate community will see BOUNCE as the nucleus of activity Akron needs to transform inspiration into economic activity and job creation. BOUNCE will help us grow the next generation of businesses in Akron,” Taylor said.

Mayor Horrigan thanked The University of Akron for its early commitment to collaborate on BOUNCE and actively engage in programming at the hub. “BOUNCE is the kind of dynamic hub of activity that will help attract and retain students as they prepare for the jobs of the future.  We are proud to partner with the City in supporting this exciting new investment in our region’s success,” University of Akron President Matthew Wilson said.

Two significant commitments Mayor Horrigan announced as part of his strategy were a commitment to personally meet with Akron start-ups to celebrate significant funding milestones and offer the City’s support as those businesses seek to grow.  Additionally, the City announced the creation of an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate position within the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. The position will be funded through a reallocation of existing dollars within the City’s Economic Development budget.

“The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate will serve as the liaison between my economic development office and all of BOUNCE’s stakeholders, including the hundreds of talented, engaged local minds stepping through BOUNCE’s doors each day, to ensure the City’s investment is working effectively and entrepreneurs get what they need from the City,” Mayor Horrigan said of the new position.  

“Launch League is excited to be involved with Bounce - our mission is to build a strong community of founders in Akron, and we see this new initiative as a way to grow our community through stronger organizational partnerships and a more cohesive ecosystem,” said Courtney Gras, local entrepreneur and Executive Director of Launch League, a nonprofit who helps founders create exceptional companies in Akron.

“In short, BOUNCE is about refocusing our efforts to spur local business growth by investing in research and talent development right here at home,” Mayor Horrigan concluded. “BOUNCE will be a dynamic space where partners from the business, education, non-profit, and economic development sectors can work together to advance innovation in Akron. I am confident that this new, open model will unleash the untapped potential of Akron’s innovation economy, and I look forward to watching this community-wide collaboration reap meaningful rewards for Akron and the region.” 

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street
Suite 200
Akron, Ohio 44308
Phone: (330) 375-2325
E-mail: ELander@akronohio.gov

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