Deep Tech Economic Development in Ohio

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Deep Tech Economic Development in Ohio

Examples of organizations/partnerships that have active initiatives working to develop the ecosystem in the State of Ohio include Lightship Capital, Color-Coded Labs, Ohio Third Frontier, JumpStart, and Power A Clean Future Ohio.


  • The Urban League of Columbus Ohio initiated the distribution of $1.6 million worth of grants to the BIPOC community and women-owned businesses in 2020. The organization has offered free technical assistance to support the growth of their businesses, sales, and other support.
  • In March 2021, the First Financial Bancorp started offering various grants of about $2500 to Black, Indigenous, Latino, and people of color (BIPOC) small businesses.
  • Flagstar Bank is also contributing $1 million in grants to assist small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color affected by COVID-19. The company is committed "to diversity, equity, and inclusion."
  • Equitable Path Forward is a $3.5 billion initiative to help eliminate the deeply-rooted legacy of racism in Housing. The initiative builds an equitable path forward for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It covers the type of homes constructed, location, the builders, and the income. The initiative fills the gaping capital gap from decades of systemic racism and strengthens providers through advisory services and other non-financial support.

Examples of organizations/ partnerships

Lightship Capital and SecondMuse partnership

  • Lightship Capital, a Cincinnati-based venture capital fund, recently raised a $50 million fund to back underrepresented groups, including startups led by BIPOC in Ohio. The fund will focus on sectors including artificial intelligence, among others.
  • Lightship has partnered with SecondMuse in this initiative. The firm has stated that the partnership is the largest fund in "history dedicated to funding ventures founded by underrepresented minorities operating the Midwest."
  • The organization has already secured $20 million from its partner SecondMuse Capital.
  • This initiative is built to enable the BIPOC community in sectors including artificial intelligence, consumer package goods, sustainability, e-commerce, and health care.

Color-Coded Labs

  • Color-Coded Labs is a coding company founded by a group of blacks in Ohio. The company is focused on training and setting "people of color up at companies ready to innovate at a greater scale."
  • The school enables BIPOC to learn coding without tuition until they are at the job.
  • A student requires a $100 downpayment for a start.
  • The tech & coding boot camp lifts the restrictions for student enrollment and presents opportunities for placements in exceptional firms dedicated to diversity.

Ohio Third Frontier

  • Ohio Third Frontier is an economic development company located in Columbus, Ohio. The Agency was established in 2002.
  • On the 6th of June 2021, the Ohio Third Frontier allocated about half of the worth $10 million funds to women and minority founders of technology companies.
  • The firm administers funding to Ohio technology-based businesses, universities, non-profit research institutions, and others. The funds are intended to devise new technology-based products, companies, industries, and jobs.


  • According to research, JumpStart has invested a sum of $51.5M of capital into about 114 companies.
  • Approximately 35 percent of these companies are led by women, and 15% are led by African American or Latinx entrepreneurs.
  • The firm has a $10M Focus fund focused "specifically on Ohio-based tech companies led by women and people of color. Investments typically start at $250k."
  • They’re impacting the BIPOC community in Ohio by creating jobs.

Power A Clean Future Ohio

  • A diverse group of advocates called Power A Clean Future Ohio (PCFO) united to launch the Ohio Climate Justice Fund (OCJF).
  • The initiative is centered on the investment in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations in Ohio, "working at the intersection of racial justice and climate action."
  • The OCJF was designed to render resources and build the power needed to shape policy development and support move Ohio "toward a just and inclusive clean energy economy."
  • The initiative started with seed funding and support from the Energy Foundation, George Gund Foundation, and the Cleveland Foundation. The OCJF will offer competitive, one-time grants between $15,000-$30,000 to BIPOC led organizations across Ohio to host listening sessions on the most efficient ways to approach climate and environmental equity in their communities.


The requested information on the state of Ohio’s economic development ecosystem as it relates to BIPOC and its efforts around deep technology is widely unavailable. The research team search through different government reports, market research, blogs, and news report. We defined deep tech to include AI, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, photonics & electronics, biotech, and quantum computing. Unfortunately, the information was not available. The team then expanded the scope to include technology in general and economic development in general.

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