LOCAL BUSINESS

KSU to receive state money

Kent State University was awarded three of nine Phase I awards given through Ohio’s Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund.

Kent State will receive $137,571 for three projects led by faculty research investigators in the Liquid Crystal Institute/Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program. The awards are contingent upon state controlling board approval.

The Third Frontier fund’s goal is to create greater economic growth in Ohio-based start-up companies that commercialize technologies developed by Ohio institutions of higher education and other Ohio not-for-profit research institutions.

Kent State was awarded $50,000 for its Lightweight and Biocompatible Soft Piezoelectric Fiber Mats project; $38,590 to create a better way to view three-dimensional images on a liquid crystal display without special glasses, and $48,981 to develop liquid crystal window technology that does not require a continuous electrical current.

Study cites Ohio technology

Cleveland, Canton and Dayton are listed among the nation’s top 25 cities for technology job growth, a San Francisco-based study shows.

Average high-tech job growth in Ohio was 4.6 percent, almost double the national average of 2.6 percent, according to the study by a nonprofit called Engine Advocacy. The full report is available online at www.engine.is/techworks.

From 2010-11, Dayton touted a 24.2 percent increase in high-tech employment growth, and led Ohio with the creation of 3,500 new tech jobs. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor area saw a 9.1 percent increase in the number of high-tech jobs created.

The Canton-Massillon area also made the list and experienced a 10.1 percent increase in tech growth, the report said.

Invacare cutting 143 jobs

Invacare Corp., the Elyria-based maker of wheelchairs and other health-care products, announced 143 layoffs in its plant on Taylor Street. The company blamed the decision on a decline in production resulting from an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Invacare said those losing their jobs would receive 60 days of pay and benefits.

The company said it would take a one-time charge that would not exceed $1.25 million pre-tax.

Invacare said after the job cuts, it would have about 1,050 employees in Northeast Ohio and about 6,050 worldwide.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Audi plans to expand

German-based Audi, the world’s second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, said it plans to spend $17 billion through 2016 to develop new cars and expand production capacity as it pursues Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales lead.

The Volkswagen AG unit is working on lightweight auto design and electric powertrains as part of the investment program. The spending includes funds for expanding production at its factory in Hungary, adding capacity in China and building a new plant in Mexico.

Audi aims to sell at least 2 million cars a year and overtake BMW by the end of the decade. The brand’s expansion is part of Volkswagen’s goal to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018.

BMW is expected to strengthen its dominance of the luxury car market next year. The Munich-based carmaker wants to increase sales 4.6 percent to 1.54 million vehicles in 2013, beating Audi’s 1.1 percent growth to 1.44 million autos, according to estimates from industry researcher IHS Automotive.

REAL ESTATE

Mortgage rates stay steady

Mortgage interest rates were little changed over the past week, keeping borrowing costs near record lows after home prices gained the most in more than two years.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.35 percent in the week ended Thursday, down from 3.37 percent, said mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate held at 2.65 percent.

Compiled from staff and wire reports