provide incentives for our angels to make investments in Ohio companies. We want to make sure that all of our money stays in Ohio, so we’ve provided grant funding to the angel capital organizations. These organizations professionally manage funds to help the angels by providing money that matches their own investments. So, in a sense, our angels are playing with 50-cent dollars when they make their investments. And about 50 percent of the angel funds in the state have received capital from the Ohio Third Frontier.”
The Innovation Fund at Lorain County Community College is a good example of that, Ms. Delp said. The fund started in the ESP program and then moved on to start its own fund, receiving grant money from the state. Ohio also provides a 25 percent investment tax credit from the Ohio Technology Investment Tax Credit program when angels invest farther down the road. The tax credit carries forward for 15 years, and does not have to be used against a specific investment, so if the investors have a good exit at a later date, they can use their credit to offset the profits from other investments. This further reduces the risks and barriers for those early-stage angel investors.
Dr. Church said that one reason for Lorain County Community College’s deep involvement in economic development was that “Lorain County for the last 30 years has had the highest percentage of its work force directly involved in manufacturing of any county in northern Ohio.” In 1980, 43 percent of the work force was in manufacturing, but today that figure has shrunk to about 14 percent. “Our county has epitomized the transformation that has taken place from traditional assembly line manufacturing to whatever is evolving in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. As a community college, we have to be responsive to the needs of the local community, and that means rejuvenating the entrepreneurial spirit of the manufacturing economy.”
The effort began, he said, with a focus on work force development, but it quickly became apparent that this effort was directly connected to the larger economic development milieu. “We knew that if people were going to be able to live in our county and enjoy the quality of life, they had to have jobs.” The county has always had limited resources, he said, “So we knew we’d have to learn how to partner with others and create synergies.” The college started by forming the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, GLIDE, as a business incubator, in partnership with the Lorain County commissioners and chamber of commerce. “The goal was to try to wrap good business processes around entrepreneurs who had good product or business ideas.” The project began in 2001, at the beginning of the recession. The first step was to go to the Third Frontier program at the Ohio Department of Development and ask for