RGP promotes opportunityWritten by Steve Weathers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since their inception in 2008, Rocket Ventures and Launch, programs of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), have prioritized the need to communicate their services to entrepreneurs and technology-based startup companies across Northwest Ohio. Through proactive outreach efforts, both Rocket Ventures and Launch have reached more than 6,000 people. This year alone, these programs have reported more than 300 inquiries among potential clients.
Yet, we also understand that this ongoing awareness campaign for Rocket Ventures and Launch is still relatively new and there are many people still unaware of our $22.5 million venture capital fund and the services it provides.
As evidence, in the Nov. 1 issue of Toledo Free Press, a print advertisement criticizing economic development efforts in Toledo claimed that local agencies cannot directly help small businesses because such assistance is tied to bank financing, and there are currently no loans being offered. The advertisement also named the RGP as one of a handful of taxpayer-funded entities which have produced no results.
As part of the RGP’s continuing education and awareness campaign, I will clarify a couple points in order to provide a better understanding of our organization.
First, the RGP is a privately funded entity, which does not receive local taxpayer dollars. In 2005, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a funding campaign to privatize the RGP which cut us free from local tax money and strengthened our standing with national site consultants.
Secondly, Rocket Ventures does invest in early-stage companies that have strong potential in the northwest Ohio marketplace, primarily in bioscience, alternative energy and advanced manufacturing. So far, the program has awarded 26 development grants exceeding $1.24 million to early-stage companies. In addition, Rocket Ventures has made nine pre-seed investments of more than $3.6 million.
These grants and investments, along with the support of Launch, have helped in the commercialization of 60 new startup companies in northwest Ohio since the start of 2008. Our goal through Rocket Ventures is to commercialize 100 new startups by the end of 2010.
Moving forward, we will continue in our efforts to promote the many opportunities for technology entrepreneurs through our Rocket Ventures and Launch programs. We understand that a successful awareness campaign will ultimately generate greater deal flow, which means the commercialization of great technology into our marketplace. The end result will be a diverse and growing economy, greater investment in the region, and new high-paying jobs.
I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about the Regional Growth Partnership as well as our Rocket Ventures and Launch technology program to contact me at (419) 252-2700 Ext. 307, or at email@example.com.
Steve Weathers is president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership.