In 2020, companies committed to create more than 1,994 new jobs in the Dayton Region, retain more than 8,203 jobs and invest more than $604.9 million in capital improvements, the Dayton Development Coalition announced Wednesday at its 2020 Annual Meeting. The numbers represent companies that worked with the DDC and JobsOhio to expand or establish new operations in the region.
“I know 2020 brought our community so many challenges,” said DDC President and CEO Jeff Hoagland. “Many of you have experienced profound losses, and people in our community continue to suffer. When I look back on the last year, the DDC’s work served as a bright spot in a dark year, and I hope we can grow that light in 2021 as our recovery continues.”
The DDC held the annual gathering of community and business leaders virtually via webinar to comply with state precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. More than 700 people registered for the event.
Hoagland highlighted the DDC’s 2020 accomplishments, acknowledging that no one knew in March what the rest of the year would bring. The DDC and the region’s economic development organizations have worked for decades to prepare for economic downturns and were able to quickly mobilize when the pandemic shut down the global economy.
Working together, the DDC and local partners contacted more than 700 businesses to assess their needs. The DDC contacted all open projects in its pipeline and connected with closed projects on job creation timelines. DDC staff worked with the Air Force, state and federal officials, and JobsOhio to provide roundtables and information sessions for local businesses.
JobsOhio launched several new programs during the pandemic, including Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) and the JobsOhio Innovation Fund. The DDC worked with local companies to leverage the programs.
Two properties received assistance through the (OSIP), U.S. 40 at the Dayton Airport and Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. OSIP will help our commercial properties remain competitive.
Xerion Advanced Battery, Corp. and SpinTech Holding, Inc., received assistance through the JobsOhio Innovation Fund, which was created in direct response to COVID-19. The fund demonstrates confidence in promising Ohio start-ups and protects private investments pledged to start-ups by sharing in the risk. The pilot program provided the companies convertible loans.
2020 marked a major shift in the DDC’s work to support our federal and military installations. The DDC’s Executive Vice President for Aerospace and Defense Elaine Bryant is leading JobsOhio’s efforts to support this sector statewide, allowing the entire state to benefit from the strategy and tactics we’ve used in Dayton for decades. The move builds on one of the biggest lessons we learned in the Great Recession: Wright-Patt can bring stability to our local economy during difficult times.
As Wright-Patt approaches 33,000 employees, our team continues to work closely with base leadership to support their missions. Working with our legislature to support legislation to make Ohio more military friendly and working with local partners from higher ed and local governments, our region continues to lead the nation when it comes to supporting our military.
The region’s start-ups continued to innovate during the pandemic. The DDC’s Accelerant Venture Capital Fund invested in one new company and made 4 follow-on investments for a total of $851,000 in 2020. Accelerant investments generated more than $250,000 in sidecar investments in 2020.
The Air Force stood up two new efforts in 2020 that will have a profound impact on our community and create new opportunities for businesses large and small.
Agility Prime is focused on the development and production of eVTOLs, or “flying cars.” Industry leaders Joby and BETA brought simulators and charging capabilities to the Springfield-Beckley Airport in the fall.
Dayton DigitalWERX will put Dayton in the center of the Air Force’s digital transformation and puts us on the short list of AFWERX Hub cities including Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Los Angeles, Calif. These hubs make it easy for businesses to work with the Air Force and provide a physical location for businesses to make connections. The hub will give the DDC the opportunity to introduce new companies to the Dayton Region, and add a Fast Company Best Workplaces to the region’s fast-growing digital roster.
Hoagland stressed the Dayton Region understands how to rebound. Supporting growing industries, building the workforce pipeline, and getting companies the help they need until they can resume regular operations remains critical to the region’s economic growth.
“Our community is resilient,” said DDC Board Chair John Landess. “While it’s tempting to think the new year has swept away our difficulties, we still have a long recovery ahead of us. I know we can count on you to move us forward. We are stronger together.”
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