Northeast Ohio: History in industry and innovation

Northeast Ohio, comprising of Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown, is located between New York City and Chicago. Thanks to its geographic location on the Cuyahoga River, the shores of Lake Erie (one of the Great Lakes), and major rail links, the region established itself as the leading center of commerce between these two cities.

Northeast Ohio

Northeast Ohio (NEO) has been ranked by Fortune magazine as the sixth best location in North America to conduct business. It’s no surprise then, that Dutch companies like Akzo, Philips, Randstad, Stork, and Wolters Kluwer have a major presence in Northeast Ohio.

Maybe your startup or scale up can also benefit from what the region has to offer.

Go Browns!

People in Northeast Ohio tend to be stubbornly proud of their corner of the world. Evidence of this is the unyielding faith and loyalty they give to the Browns, Cleveland’s football team, even when the team manages to lose season after season.

NEO also houses the five richest collections of arts and culture institutions in the US, and is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There is a booming food and restaurant scene in Cleveland, and the Lake Erie Shoreline, parks, and ample outdoor activities make NEO an interesting place.

The trends: To improve is to change

NEO has a history of innovation that is rooted in its manufacturing base. Back in the day, steel and many other manufactured goods emerged as leading industries, but history has taken Northeast Ohio on a journey from this old metalworking industry, to automotive, rubber, polymers, and eventually biomedical materials and devices.

Today, Ohio’s industrial base is more diverse than ever, and includes automotive, aerospace and defense industry, polymers and coatings, the biomedical sector, and also the services industry and metalworking sector.

Advanced manufacturing, materials and biomedical tech, ranging from flexible electronics to biomedical devices, form the backbone of NEO’s innovation ecosystem.

If your business would benefit from an ecosystem centered on these fields, Northeast Ohio may be worth a closer look.

Who needs water?

For Dutch innovators working with new water technologies, NEO could also be an interesting place to enter the market.

As opposed to the other areas of opportunity, the business opportunities in the water tech space are based more on pressing regional demand and a willingness to be a test bed for new technologies than on historically grown excellence.

More on this, the mentioned main sectors, in our next blogs on NEO.

Smartest places on Earth

Akron, one of the major centers of innovation in NEO, and Eindhoven are both featured in the book “The Smartest Places on Earth” by Dutch authors Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker. The authors explain why these rust belt cities are among the new hotspots for global innovation.

Dutch startups and scale ups located in or around Eindhoven, Delft and Twente, which are also leading hubs in the advanced manufacturing, smart systems and advanced materials, may find NEO to be a place where the growth of their business can be best supported.

Open for business

The cost of doing business and the cost of living are much lower in Northeast Ohio than in neighboring Chicago or New York City.

According to Moody’s Analytics, evaluating costs such as labor, taxes, energy, rental space and construction, the cost of doing business in Northeast Ohio is almost 10 percent lower than the US average.

Trade advantages and tax savings through foreign-trade zones and enterprise zones could also make it a more attractive choice for international companies that want to expand into the US market.

Location, location, location. And transport

Northeast Ohio is centrally positioned between New York City and Chicago, on the fiber-rich corridor between the two cities and at the crossroads between the grain belt, rust belt and Eastern US markets.

Half of the American population lives within a 500-mile radius of the region. From a logistics standpoint, it boasts five interstate highways, three Class I railroads, two international airports, one regional airport, and nine Deepwater Ports.

There is also an Amsterdam-based shipping company called Spliethoff that moves containerized and non-containerized cargo  between the port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp.

Stay tuned for the next blogs featuring the innovation ecosystems around the main sectors in Northeast Ohio. And as always, feel free to contact us with any inquiries. Happy to help!