PIKETON, Ohio – A facility on the campus of Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon, designed to serve new and existing businesses throughout Appalachian Ohio and boost the region's economy through job training and development, celebrated its five-year anniversary on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The Endeavor Center Business Incubator and Training Facility provides new and growing businesses with access to inexpensive, professional office space; expert business counseling; advanced technology; and networking opportunities with other area businesses.
"The mission of the Endeavor Center is to enable rapid growth for its business occupants, thereby creating new high-skill, high-wage jobs and strengthening the local economic community," said Jerry Driggs, Endeavor Center manager. "The Endeavor Center has become recognized as a hub of business development throughout southern Ohio by virtue of its education, training, and assistance to small business owners."
To date, business partners in the Endeavor Center have created in excess of 220 new high-skill, high-wage jobs that have added $25 million to the local economy. Nine graduates have returned to the community to build or lease larger facilities for their businesses.
Innovative Solutions is one company that has greatly benefited from the services provided by the Endeavor Center. The company, which provides instrumentation, enrichment expertise and security services to the U.S. Department of Energy specifically related to the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, was one of the first companies to rent space at the facility in 2005.
"The Endeavor Center has been key to our success. They say in real estate that it's all about location, location, location. Well, the same can be applied in business," said Butch Stall, Innovative Solutions contracts manager. "Being located in the Endeavor Center has been invaluable for our growth and the staff here has been so accommodating. It's been a joy to be a part of the facility and this team."
In 2005, Innovative Solutions started out with 10 employees and now it employs over 130 workers. In its first year of business, the company generated less than $1 million in gross revenue and this year it is on track to reach $10 million in gross revenue.
The 27,000-square-foot Endeavor Center with its incubator, classroom and conference space has been the place for businesses to establish themselves in the community.
George Barlow of Family Woodworks in Piketon used the Endeavor Center for three years for its showroom of decorative wood, kitchen woodwork and other wood products.
"At the time we couldn't afford a showroom or didn't have the manpower to operate one. The Endeavor Center gave us the opportunity to get established in the community, and now we have our own showroom for our products," said Barlow.
The Endeavor Center was recognized in 2007 as the Rural Incubator of the Year by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.
Stated Tom Worley, director of OSU South Centers at Piketon, "Strong, established partnerships are vital to success, and we envision even more paths to finding new opportunities to work together as we see all the new and exciting projects developing at Piketon."
To learn more about the Endeavor Center log on to http://endeavor.osu.edu.