Pace's Preview: U.S. Search for it's Next Big Tech Hub: Here's Why Cincinnati is a Worthy Consideration August 2023



Last week, as I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, I was pleasantly surprised by the peace I received from having no access to social media, texts, emails, or the like. These sort of breaks are necessary to refocus and recharge ones mind. Now that I'm back, I am reminded that we live in a world that is driven by technology. Although I was happy to have a break from it, technology and innovation will continue to grow and play a role in our lives. Instead of fighting it, I welcome it with an understanding that its role is to make our lives better. With that being said, I am excited about the opportunity I cover in today's Investor Insider. 

Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris administration released this news release: 

"As part of the President’s Investing in America Agenda, the U.S. Department of Commerce seeks applications to develop regional centers of innovation and job creation

The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), today launched the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) competition. This program will create tech hubs in regions across the country by bringing together industry, higher education institutions, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners to supercharge ecosystems of innovation for technologies that are essential to our economic and national security. The program was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act and is a key part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, stimulating private sector investment, creating good-paying jobs, revitalizing American manufacturing, and ensuring no community is left behind by America’s economic progress."

Cincinnati, alongside Dayton and Springfield, has been a key player of America's industrial heartland for years and is ready to jump on this new opportunity.

The collaboration of the Cincinnati-Dayton Consortium, covering three critical Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), has built an innovation ecosystem primed for the next generation of tech advancement. Their joint focus on technological evolution, research, and collaboration underscores why the region is perfectly positioned to become a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub.

One of the major highlights of the region is its prowess in aerospace. With Cincinnati being the second U.S. metro for aerospace product and parts exports, boasting a staggering $9.7 billion in 2021, the evidence of its potential is irrefutable. While Cincinnati thrives in the commercial aerospace sector, Dayton complements with its robust government and military-driven aerospace industry. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) alone employs over 35,000 individuals and sees a flow of $30 billion in Air Force materials annually. Together, the region already attracts a noteworthy $168.8 million in federal R&D funding, the highest in Ohio. Moreover, with 80 aerospace laboratories at their disposal, the combined prowess of Dayton and Cincinnati in research, development, and practical application is unparalleled.

The private sector plays a significant role in this alliance. With the Consortium and Advisory Committee boasting substantial private sector representation, companies like GE lead the charge in innovative aerospace solutions. As a major supplier to WPAFB, GE's cutting-edge enhancements to the F-35 fighter jet engine, including its goals for a 25% boost in fuel efficiency, underscores the region's commitment to progressive aerospace technology.

Collaboration isn’t just limited to the industry; there's a spirit of partnership weaving through all sectors in the region. An impending MOU will further solidify the longstanding Cincinnati-Dayton partnership, with current collaborations spanning the public and private sectors. Whether it's economic development, education, healthcare systems, or beyond, the joint efforts and shared vision are evident.

The overarching aim? To harness the region's existing assets and create a harmonious ecosystem that positions the U.S. at the forefront of tech capabilities. From advanced propulsion engines, autonomous vehicles to smart technologies, the Cincinnati/Dayton region is not just aiming to be part of the future; it's striving to define it. Through the "Next Generation Aerospace Technology" Tech Hub initiative, we're witnessing a metamorphosis that promises not only to drive economic growth but also to play a crucial role in America's national security.

In conclusion, here at the One Dearborn office we are hopeful and excited about the consortium's application. If successful, Cincinnati-Dayton could be the next major U.S. tech hub, driving innovation, growth, and economic development for the region and the nation. 

Gage Pace
Economic Development Manager