Monday, November 07, 2005

The Y-Town Advantage

We’re still attempting to digest the Red Room Revolution and the resulting clamor that is still rippling through the blogosphere. We haven’t made sense of it yet and suspect it might be too early to do so.

In our quest to understand, we stumbled upon one posting on Brewed Fresh Daily in a discussion thread covering RRR that made us wonder less about Cathy Panzica and more about the multitude of organizations chasing the claim of NEO’s agent of change. It was from James Cossler, director of the Youngstown Business Incubator, who wrote:

"The mistake that Cleveland seems to make over and over again is that you need to have these all encompassing, grand and expensive programs to launch a “tech revolution”. And how many of these grand and expensive organizations have come and gone without any meaningful results?

"Youngstown is as far along as Cleveland in launching successful software companies. And in Youngstown, they have all come from a single organization with a $450,000 annual budget. Heck, in Cleveland, ED Execs have salaries that large.

"It really isn’t rocket science. As I have said before, if we can do it in Youngstown without a research university, without a research hospital, without an indigenous population of tech based companies (the three most common sources of startups), and without Cleveland’s corporate and foundation dollars…shame on Cleveland for not being further along."

JC left us wondering. Are Cleveland institutions a source of strength or barrier to economic reinvention? Peter Lewis has been convinced the latter is true and has limited his philanthropy to Cleveland institutions in hope of triggering change.

Ironically, local Investment Banker Michael Gibbons told Crain's Cleveland Business that he fears Cleveland could turn into another Youngstown. Maybe that ain’t such a bad thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect Jim might be right on both counts... Increasingly, results from civic led ED initiatives fail to produce the desired results and many of the success stories that are around us are not a result of those same efforts.

Might we peak a little harder at what the Y-Town incubator model has to offer? Might it lead to a lot less payroll in civic led ED efforts here in C-Town?

12:15 AM  

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