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Cleveland-based JumpStart to help Canton pull in tech-based startups in new downtown innovation district

October 2, 2018

Cleveland-based JumpStart to help Canton pull in tech-based startups in new downtown innovation district

CANTON, Ohio -- Cleveland-based JumpStart will help Canton pull in new tech-based startups to its new “innovation district,” the organization announced Tuesday.

JumpStart invests money in start-ups, provides them with advice and resources and works in the community to make cities more attractive to technology companies.

The nonprofit will open an office in downtown Canton, hire a full-time community manager there and partially fund the district’s creation. It will pay $52,000 from its own coffers and use an additional $99,000 in state Third Frontier funding, according to CantonRep.com.

Canton isn’t the only city in Northeast Ohio to try to become a start-up hub. JumpStart partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to bring Plug and Play, a business accelerator, to Cleveland. Early this year, Akron launched the Bounce Innovation Hub, a resource center for local start-ups.

Both cities have passed an “innovation district” policy. 

Canton has a slightly different approach. The city is setting up its innovation district within a historic redevelopment district, which officials say make it the first of its kind. 

Both designations were created after a state law passed in 2016. Historic development districts allow cities to reinvest a portion of the money from property value increases back into rehabbing historic buildings and improving public infrastructure. 

By establishing the innovation district within the historic redevelopment district, the city can also use the historic money to offer grants or short-term loans to tech-based businesses. 

″(The district) promises to be an important step forward in increasing the diversity of Canton’s economy via a greater focus on assisting and supporting ambitious entrepreneurs from the entire community,” Canton’s Mayor Tom Bernabei said in a press release. 

The district will receive $266,000 a year, including $75,000 from the city and $40,000 from the Stark Community Foundation, CantonRep.com reported.

To set up an “innovation district,” there also must be a high-speed broadband network of at least 100-gigabytes-per-second.

Council passed a partnership with Canton-based Agile Networks to create the network. 

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