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Council OKs Incentives for Manufacturing Incubator

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On Monday night Hilliard’s City Council approved a $200,000 incentive package to help bring a high-tech manufacturing incubator to the City – a move officials say paves the way for future technology manufacturers to create and grow their businesses in the community.

Converge Technologies, a full scope technology commercialization company, has committed to building a technology innovation and development capability in Hilliard. The founders of Converge have recently purchased the former Rahal Racing research and development facility at 4621 Lyman Drive. The 25,000 square foot mixed-use facility will serve as the company’s headquarters and a technology incubator.

Though the company is relatively new, Converge’s founders have decades of experience successfully creating and growing new high-technology companies.

Converge has created a non-profit dubbed the Ohio Manufacturing and Innovation Center (OMIC) to support economic development and the growth of technology companies in central Ohio. OMIC will be a resident of the facility and provide business growth support programs such as student experiential learning, incumbent workforce training, low-cost product development capabilities, short run manufacturing and other value-added services.

The City of Hilliard has committed to providing an incentive package that would help fund up to $50,000 in tenant space improvements and equipment in 2019, and up to $25,000 per year from 2020 to 2025. The incentives are contingent upon the company and non-profit exceeding employment and payroll goals.

While the company has committed to create 54 new jobs with $2.4 million in new payroll by the end of 2025, the larger economic impact of Converge and OMIC will be realized by the Ohio companies supported through the facility. From start-ups through Fortune 100, access to technology and product development and commercialization services, equipment, software, and expertise will accelerate the economic growth of Ohio manufacturing companies.

David Meadows, Economic Development Director, said Converge Technologies is a commercial engineering and business advisory services firm that was created to support efficient commercialization of new and innovative technologies.

“It’s largely instrumentation, controls, and electronic devices,” Meadows said. “Envision things like advanced radar systems for autonomous vehicles or new cameras or optics that might be necessary in the ‘smart city’ arena. This is specialized high technology, not mass production.”

“One of the things that makes this so appealing is that if any one of those start-up companies land in Hilliard, it’s going to have tremendous potential upside in terms of employment and additional tax revenues,” Meadows said. “This kind of economic development produces symbiotic business opportunities, encouraging other high-tech companies to cluster in this area.”

Converge co-founder John Bair added, “We founded Converge Technologies with the goal of providing much-needed commercialization support capabilities to Ohio’s entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative manufacturing companies. Our experiences establishing and growing both private and public business support organizations over the last two decades have shown us that Converge and OMIC address a large capabilities gap that is hindering the growth of new technology companies and products. We are grateful to Hilliard for its support and look forward to providing a significant positive impact on the growth of Ohio businesses starting immediately.”

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