Years of planning and the high degree of cooperation achieved among local governments, hospitals, the region’s medical college, businesses and entrepreneurs continue to provide the Akron area with the right foundation for growth in a high-tech, global economy. The latest example came this week, with the announcement Monday of a new venture to develop polymer products for medical applications, among them orthopedics and wound treatment.
Combining forces for jobs and innovation will be the Austen BioInnovation Institute and a similar collaboration from Slovenia, the Center of Excellence for Polymer Materials and Technology, or PoliMaT. The two will work together, sharing expertise, creating bridges to new markets for each side in the deal. PoliMaT, based in the city’s Global Business Accelerator, hopes the groundwork for start-ups from Slovenia to enter the American market will be in place in about six months.
The city has reached similar agreements between the Global Business Accelerator and communities in Finland, Germany and Israel, the Akron location proving attractive because of the strong technological and business support it provides new companies.
In embracing the global economy, local leaders such as Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic realize the long-term potential for attracting foreign investment and gaining access to foreign markets for local companies. In the process, Akron has looked carefully at its strengths in areas such as polymers, then found ways to leverage the expertise into new products and jobs.
Much attention also has been focused on retaining and expanding local companies and improving neighborhoods and the downtown area. But the willingness to participate fully in the global economy — not run from it — remains an important part of the city’s development strategy.