PIKETON, Ohio — Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon has received a grant to aid in the continuation of the development of the Endeavor Center Business Incubator and Training Facility — a business tool designed to increase jobs and enhance the economic development of southern Ohio.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture -- Rural Development recently presented a $97,870 USDA Rural Business Enterprise grant to the center to provide funding for data communications, telephone systems and other technological needs.
Ohio 2nd District Congressman Rob Portman, who has been one of the driving forces behind boosting the economic development of Appalachian Ohio, expressed his appreciation for continued support.
"Projects like this enable small businesses to get a leg up and succeed. This business incubator has the potential to create new jobs, and small businesses are what drive our economy," said Portman, who has worked closely with Ohio State University Extension and other government and local organizations to get the Endeavor Center Business Incubator off the ground.
The 27,000 square-foot building, scheduled for completion in February, will provide assistance, education and training of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and young people fresh out of school. The site will be made available to new and expanding businesses within Ross, Pike, Jackson, Scioto and adjacent counties. The facility will be located on the grounds of Ohio State's South Centers at Piketon.
"This project provides a way to channel the entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Ohio. Having access to such a wonderful facility allows us to help ourselves," said Greg Simonton, executive director of Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, a partner in the project.
The Endeavor Center construction project is being funded by grants from the U. S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the Southern Ohio Agriculture and Community Development Foundation, the Ohio Governor's Office of Appalachia and U. S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development. Local matching funds for the grants are being provided by Ohio State University Extension (funds generated from the State Capital Budget, awarded by the Controlling Board), Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative and Scioto County's Office of Economic Development.
Steve Shepherd, South Center's coordinator for the Endeavor Center Business Incubator, said that Ohio State has received over $4 million in grants to assist in the construction and operations of the facility and provide equipment and furnishings.