It began in mid-September with the announcement that the Youngstown Business Incubator had been named the #1 university-affiliated business incubator in the world. Yes, in the world.
|YBI installs a new banner at its downtown campus declaring its world domination.|
"That's high praise."
But as remarkable as the recognitions are themselves, perhaps what's as equally impressive is the time spans in which they were earned.
Around the year 2000, the leadership team at the Youngstown Business Incubator made a very controversial but important decision: they would focus support on business-to-business software companies exclusively.
While some thought this was too risky and narrow a focus in place like Youngstown, it proved to be a game changer. The YBI has grown from one building to a campus of nearly 6 and incubates 19 companies.
Within the campus resides YBI 'graduate' Turning Technologies which, only a few years ago, was rated as the fastest growing privately held software company in the nation and is now considered the industry leader in their field.
|Turning Technologies' corporate headquarters in downtown Youngstown.|
Photo: Bisiness Climate.com
|NAMII headquarters in downtown Youngstown.|
Photo: Defend Youngstown
YNDC was founded in 2010 and was borne in part from the inspiration of the internationally-recognized Youngstown 2010 Plan as well as the necessity to create capacity and resources to implement it. A local organizing campaign around vacant property at the time helped to highlight the need as well.
|YNDC is presented the Ohio 'Community Development Corporation of the Year' award in Dayton.|
In only 4 short years, the organization has accomplished much:
- Completed over 175 home repairs.
- Rehabbed over 35 homes for sale to new home buyers.
- Created a $1 million Community Loan Fund.
- Repurposed nearly 300 vacant lots.
- Created 70 construction jobs.
- Redeveloped a 1.7 acre blighted property into an urban farm & training center.
- Trained 45 at-risk young adults for new work skills.
- Cleaned and boarded over 150 abandoned homes.
- Completed 4 murals on Glenwood Avenue.
- Completed 14 neighborhood plans throughout the city.
- Engaged over 5,000 residents and volunteers in over 100 community projects.
- And catalyzed over $13 million in reinvestment in Youngstown's neighborhoods.
While there's plenty of challenges in the city to address, it's pretty remarkable what these two organizations have been able to accomplish despite those challenges and in such a relatively short period of time.
And it's nice to see that the rest of humanity has begun to recognize the remarkableness of it as well.
If this is just the beginning, imagine what the years to come may bring.