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From steel town to technology town: Edison Technology Incubator does its part to build a high-tech community in Cleveland

by Jennifer Agoston

October 1999

Twenty years ago, maybe even 10, the city of Cleveland was best known for its grimy steel mills, vacant factories and a river that once caught fire. Such ignominy could have put off anyone who might have considered starting a business there. But in the '80s a new generation of entrepreneurs wasn't fretting about burning waters. They were igniting some ideas of their own through the Edison Technology Incubator (ETI). Judging from the incubator's track record, the companies might want to raise a glass of beer with Drew Carey to toast their good Cleveland fortunes: ETI clients have started 53 companies that have employed 449 high-skill employees and attracted more than $130 million in investment capital.

ETI has successfully leveraged resources from local and regional organizations to give its clients the best chance to succeed, and in turn ETI has planted the seeds for what some have reason to hope is becoming one of the country's technology hotspots. This year, ETI's efforts were recognized nationally when it received the 1999 NBIA Incubator of the Year Award in the high-technology category.

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Keywords: best practices, facility management, funding sources/fundraising -- incubator, partnerships --organizational/corporate, technology incubator, university partnerships

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