Columbus, Ohio: A Startup City on the Rise

November 1, 2017

11:30 am

A few weeks ago, I visited Columbus, Ohio with Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest tour. The region is cultivating an environment filled with communities, companies, education, and entertainment. As you walk through the downtown streets, businesses are buzzing with activity and the food scene is one to note with ice cream startup Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and others laying roots.

During the most recent Columbus Startup Week, we had a chance to listen to Columbus native J.D. Vance, who talked about his book Hillbilly Elegy, Being a Zealot for Your Ecosystem and complexities of building a startup city.

J.D. Vance has also joined the Rise of the Rest Tour and being from a Rust Belt state, he is quite knowledgeable about the struggles these towns and smaller cities face when trying to build something with little to no resources.

As you dive into the 11 surrounding counties of Columbus and wonder why people would move, work and stay here to build a business, it’s certainly appealing. Central Ohio is is home to 2.1 million people and is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the Midwest. Since 2010, the Region has led the Midwest’s largest metros in job, population and GDP growth.

It is also home to the world’s most recognizable brands: Scotts, Express, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide, Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as innovative small businesses and powerhouse research and academic institutions. Facebook announced they are building a $750M data center.

The people here are known for building strong companies in a multitude of verticals including automotive, fashion, data centers, logistics, healthcare and more. Like most metropolitan cities, they too are fighting to keep and attract younger talent, and the quality of life and affordability factor seems to work. Having a strong university like Ohio State University seems to help matters. Here, having a $60,000 salary means you can live pretty well.

Tune in to a panel discussion captured to round out the day in Columbus. The discussion is led by Ohio Ventures of Falon Donohue and includes Steve Case, J.D. Vance, and former CTO of the U.S. Megan Smith. You can tune into the discussion in the video (below).

Read our coverage from Columbus Startup Week and Fireside with J.D. Vance at TechCo

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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