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Testing Playground: HDC Funds ‘AI Sandbox’ for Tech Companies

Hilliard Development Corporation

Hilliard technology companies needing to test their artificial intelligence-powered products will have a new tool, thanks to a grant from the Hilliard Development Corporation (HDC).

The organization recently approved a $50,000 Innovation Grant to launch an “AI sandbox” that will be available to businesses participating in the Hilliard City Lab concept.

The “testing playground” allows companies to demonstrate products in a secure setting before making an investment into a traditional cloud provider. This sandbox will allow companies to experiment with proof of concept AI ideas and gain better understanding of the cost models when scaling to a traditional cloud provider.  It was created with contributions from Hilliard-based Ubihere.

“This is something differentiating Hilliard from many other cities. It helps us promote our City being a lab for testing new ideas,” said David Meadows, the City’s Economic Development Director. “It helps the businesses operating here as well as our entire community.”

HDC is the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) of the City of Hilliard. As the designated economic development agency of the City of Hilliard, it has the authority to apply for and administer grants, buy and sell real property, and create programs for small business. 

Since 2018, HDC has awarded 12 Innovation Grants, generating $74 million in private investment within the City of Hilliard. Other grants recently approved include:

  • Agile Ultrasonics, 4621 Lyman Drive: Two grants totaling $35,000 to fund the installation of robotic systems that will support product development applicable in the aerospace industry.
  • Lighthouse Avionics, 4621 Lyman Drive: A $25,000 grant to install three virtual control towers for autonomous drone flights within the City. The company is among those partnering with the City’s Division of Police to develop a first responder drone that would be deployed upon receipt of a 911 call and location information.
  • StreetLynx, 4555 Cemetery Road: A $25,000 grant to test a biometric wearable device that will monitor location. The City is partnering with the company to test the product with individuals vulnerable to medical emergencies, such as the aging-in-place community.

Additionally, the organization approved a $50,000 Old Hilliard Façade Improvement Grant to Chelsea Kimes, property owner of 4095 Main St., for improvements including roofing, painting, siding, and porch repair.

The program is designed to stimulate private investment in high-quality building improvements that create and enhance community image and character in Old Hilliard. Grants share the costs of improving commercial building exteriors and publicly used amenities.

Since 2018, HDC has awarded 16 façade grants, supporting $4.1 million in the heart of the City. For more information about grant opportunities visit here.

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