Ecosystem Innovation: The Future of Entrepreneurship in Ohio and Michigan

April 16, 2024
Gillian Vendittelli

Entrepreneurship and innovation is at the heart of the current digital and technological revolution. With advances in technology, such as AI and Machine Learning, startups are looking to have the potential upper hand in advancements due to their agility and adaptability. In comparison to larger corporations, startups have the capability to adapt to the evolving landscape and new discoveries at a quicker pace. 

The future’s looking brighter than ever, with increasingly more attention and government support directed towards building up ecosystems. Small businesses and innovators have historically been the backbone of numerous thriving communities and economies.

In Michigan

Governor Whitmer announced over 70 million dollars in support of entrepreneurial hubs. Twenty-seven entrepreneurial hubs were awarded a portion of the grant funding to further support the small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem. In 2022, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) reported that, “According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise more than 98 percent of Michigan businesses and employ half of Michigan workers.” This grant funding not only supports the ecosystem in Michigan, but the state's overall economy and employment growth. For 2024, Crain’s Detroit Business recently wrote how Governor Whitmer “is seeking $60 million to launch a state innovation fund to invest in startup companies, with profits being reinvested into the program.”

In Ohio

Governor Mike Dewine announced $85 million dollars from federal funding to support innovation in Appalachian counties. For those 32 counties, this funding will help support public education opportunities, expanded access to physical and mental healthcare, and job-related programming. 

Lt. Governor Jon Husted has been the champion of innovation for Ohio. In the 2023 annual report for InnovateOhio, he announced the first super computer for medical research in collaboration with IBM and the Cleveland Clinic. InnovateOhio hosted AI-forums in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus to bring together educators and leading researchers. In partnership with the Ohio government, InnovateOhio was able to create a straightforward portal for adoption and foster care that doubled the inquiries  received in 2023. Husted also helped bring a change of Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BVM) modernizations and even expanded these to include CDL’s. Ohio is driven by innovation which is supported by partnerships.

There are also partnerships within the academic institutions of Ohio. Ohio Supercomputer Center helps accelerate academic institutions, both private and public, with computational services. It supports both education resources for universities and students as well as business acceleration. Students are able to make an impact to their employer from day one with the knowledge and resources leveraged within the OSC. 1819 Innovation Hub powered by the University of Cincinnati, partners students, innovators, and entrepreneurs. They have a live-space for testing prototypes and offer shared resources for members. The Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals are working together through the Cleveland Innovation District. Primarily focused on STEM and health-tech, the program has reported a growth of jobs and of STEM talent in the region. 

The US

Expanding our perspective to the United States as a whole, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to identify and support tech hubs across the country. They are rolling out a Tech Hubs Program with the focus to increase investment in innovation and support US technological growth. In a recent Tech Hub Program Update, they announced thirty one inaugural designated tech hubs and twenty nine strategy development grant awardees.


Innovation is at the forefront of the minds of Americans. As technology changes, so do the resources needed to thrive in an ecosystem. With the help of academic institutions, government-backed resources, and corporations looking to expand, there is hope for the future of innovation not only in the midwest but in America. 

Ready to Talk About Innovation in Your Organization?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.