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Entrepreneurs Share Why Enterprise Appalachia Is Ideal Start-Up Environment

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Inc. white paper explores how small business owners succeed with Ohio’s entrepreneurial resources

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — It is extremely hard for a start-up company to succeed.  An entrepreneur can do everything right in finding funding, proving the viability of the concept and still fail in commercial scale-up. One of the decisions often overlooked is start-up location, and yet it can be one of the most important decisions for a young company. Often a metropolitan location is selected on the belief it is close to any resource that might be required. But, that choice typically comes with high overhead costs at a time when the company needs every dime to reinvest into company growth. The choice of an ideal start-up location is an important one because the wrong choice can smother a company’s chances for success. For the entrepreneur, it’s get it right or else.

According to small business experts, there are four criteria that make up an ideal location for business development: access to business capital and support services, access to knowledge and labor, access to supply chain and markets and access to a balanced life. An entrepreneur must find a location with the perfect balance of these resources and low costs for a higher chance of business success.

Inc. magazine has created a series of white papers that will help entrepreneurs evaluate potential Ohio locations for starting or growing a small business. The latest white paper, “Enterprise Appalachia in Action: Real Results for Real Entrepreneurs,” takes a look at how business owners put the diverse array of entrepreneurial resources the state offers to work for their companies.

Inc. magazine found that Appalachia Ohio delivers the ideal start-up environment, providing all the criteria to develop a successful small business in today’s 21st century economy. The state’s commitment to small businesses is evidenced by the breadth and depth of its entrepreneurial support services. From access to funding, finding a considerable knowledge base, leveraging supply chain resources and reaching key markets, Ohio offers the ideal location for small businesses to thrive.

Being an entrepreneur is hard work; not only challenging for the business owner, but often a strain on relationships with family and friends as well. In the Enterprise Appalachia Region, entrepreneurs can find all the criteria they need to start a successful small business and achieve a perfect balance between work and life. The region has seen a surge of successful start-up companies who have put the area’s abundant entrepreneurial resources into action.

Entrepreneur Dr. Sang Soo-Kim turned to Enterprise Appalachia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Ohio University’s Innovation Center to help him incubate his startup company EZ Asphalt Technologies, LLC. Kim found support from talented business development experts who helped him develop his idea for a new asphalt testing system to reduce the cost for highway improvements.

Yet, commercializing the patented product presented a challenge for Kim, an engineer by training. “I was never formally trained to run a business,” he explained. “All of the finance and accounting information was completely new to me.” The SBDC and Innovation Center worked with Kim to create business and marketing plans for EZ Asphalt and identify the types of markets with the greatest demand for ABCD. Today, EZ Asphalt’s ABCD has been nationally adopted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ASSHTO).

Ohio’s Enterprise Region makes it easy for entrepreneurs to leverage academic centers, skilled labor and other support services to make their strategic plan and operation a success.

In addition, the region offers entrepreneurs access to capital to efficiently and successfully transition new products or services from R&D to commercialization. Entrepreneurs locating in Appalachia Ohio benefit from regional venture capital and financial support that meets the needs of all businesses, from start-up businesses to gazelle high growth companies.

Geoff and Michelle Greenfield, co-owners and president and CEO of Third Sun Solar & Wind Power Ltd., in Athens County, Ohio, attribute their success to the region’s dedicated and knowledgeable workforce. “Ohio’s Enterprise Appalachia offers a highly educated, dedicated and motivated workforce for both our office-level and line-level jobs,” Geoff Greenfield said. “There are a lot of talented, hard-working people here, and we get the best pick of them.”

Entrepreneurs in Appalachia Ohio are ideally located to access supply chains and markets in Ohio and surrounding states. Ohio is within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. population and 50 percent of the Canadian population, 62 percent of U.S. manufacturing plants, 59 percent of wholesale establishments and 63 percent of retail establishments.

In addition, Enterprise Appalachia’s location and tax structure makes it cost effective for entrepreneurs to serve customers in North America and around the globe.

Ohio’s Enterprise Region offers a work-life balance for business owners, their employees and their families available nowhere else.

Rick Griffith, president of McGinnis Inc., in Lawrence County, Ohio, says Ohio’s short commutes allow him to spend more time with family, while its location on the Ohio River provides his company with everything it needs to thrive.

“Most of the benefits of working here and living locally goes back to the family,” Griffith said. “You get to spend more time with them because you have less time out on the road. I get home early enough in the evenings to spend time with family.”

“The ideal location for starting a business delivers a perfect balance between access to resources and low overhead costs,” said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. “In the Enterprise Appalachia Region, it is easy to travel to and from work without having to deal with the stress of a long commute. Locating your business in the Enterprise Appalachia Region affords you the gift of time. It provides you an opportunity to have a life in perfect balance.”

About the Ohio Business Development Coalition

The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio’s economic development efforts. For more information, visit


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