Youngstown named one of the top 10 cities to start a business

Opportunity for entrepreneurial growth enhances downtown region

Youngstown has recently been named as a top 10 city to start a business and holds the cover of the August issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. ??

The story behind Youngstown dates clear back to when it was a prominent city in the steel business.?Since that time, Youngstown has become home to the Youngstown Business Incubator, which accelerates the startup and growth rates of technology-based businesses in the Mahoning Valley, as well as Turning Technologies LLC, which develops educational technology for many schools and universities across the country, including Youngstown State University.?

According to an article on, Turning Technologies now employs 140 people, and for every $10,000 invested with the business incubator, 50 to 70 more jobs will be generated.?The growth of both businesses has opened up opportunities for other businesses in the downtown area. Three years ago, owner Jacob Harver began producing ideas about the newest local business, The Lemon Grove Café, which launched its grand opening in early August. Harver said starting the business wasn’t easy but well worth it.

“It was a lot of work and long days and a lot of bureaucracy to ship through,” Harver said.

Harver said he thinks Youngstown is in a “good position because for too long we have been stuck in the mindset of the post-industrial collapse. It is a hopeful time because we have a lot of creative people, a lot of great artists in this area that make Youngstown’s future look bright.”?

Hanna Kassis, graduate student at Youngstown State and an advocate of business in Youngstown, said the incentive packages Mayor Jay Williams has implicated have helped the city tremendously, which in turn makes Youngstown a deserving candidate as a top 10 city to start a business.?

“When you’re (Youngstown) at rock bottom, there’s nowhere else to go but up,” Kassis said. “Mayor Williams has done a lot like tax cuts in the city and decreased tax on businesses,” she added.?

Kassis said the reason for the incentive packages is to “bundle” utilities and rent into a cheaper price. She compared the incentive packages to AT&T, when they allow customers to package cell phone, cable and Internet bills together at a cheaper price. ?The incentive packages are in turn pulling more residents to Youngstown, which helps businesses grow, Kassis said.?

“We’ve come a long way since 2004.the city has grown economically in the past five years more than it has since Black Monday,” Kassis said.

She also attributes the success with business in Youngstown to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan because of the work he has done with Mayor Williams, former Ohio Governor Bob Taft (for bringing the Youngstown Business Incubator downtown), CEO of the YBI Jim Cossler and Turning Technologies LLC.?

“Turning Technologies is the model incubator company.every incubator in America would want one of those,” Kassis said. Mike Broderick, CEO of Turning Technologies LLC, is also its founder and has worked in the industry for more than 19 years. He also played a big role in Youngstown being selected as a top 10 city to start a business.?

“It’s brilliant for the community,” Broderick said in regards to the article in Entrepreneur Magazine. “I’ve gotten feedback from contacts all over the country that have seen that article. That is the kind of good exposure that Youngstown needs,” he added.?

With a younger generation contributing so much to the success of businesses in Youngstown today, Broderick said the role they have played has been “huge.” Of the 140 employees at Turning Technologies LLC, at least half are in their early to mid-20s, he said.?

Broderick said he thinks that all of the ingredients for growth are here in Youngstown. ??

“Ingredients meaning strong community, good quality of life.a community of people historically with a good work ethic, some good educational resources, and (a) fairly highly trained workforce compared to the jobs that have been available in the past,” he said.?

Broderick said he also has huge hopes for the future of Turning Technologies LLC in Youngstown.?

“We hold some continued growth – probably even more important in that for Youngstown,” he said. “I think we’re a model. We’re an example of what any number of companies could do with the resources available here.

“As a company, we’re seeing more and more of them. I think there could be 20 or 30 or 50 Turning Technologies around town in the next 10 years.”

Josh Stipanovich | The Jambar, Youngstown State U.