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Ohio University’s Innovation Center supported 176 jobs that generated an estimated $7.2 million in employee compensation in Athens County in 2015, according to a new economic report.

A news release issued Wednesday by OU summarized the report, stating that the high-tech business incubator’s impact on local job opportunities has increased over the last two years, from 123 in 2013 and 140 in 2014.

The figures represent the number of jobs created directly, indirectly or induced by the Innovation Center businesses, which also generated an estimated $837,543 in state and local tax revenues in 2015, the release said.

In the release, Stacy Strauss, associate director of the Innovation Center, attributed the increase in numbers to the “unprecedented growth” experienced by several companies currently housed in the Innovation Center, as well as rising sales and new hiring by recent incubator graduates.

“These figures provide tangible evidence that southeast Ohio is an especially promising place for entrepreneurs and new ventures,” Strauss said. “The services that the Innovation Center and its partners provide truly do promote economic development.”

The Innovation Center, part of OU’s technology commercialization and entrepreneurial ecosystem, offers business coaching and space for startups at its facility at 340 W. State St., Athens. It also provides business support and networking services to additional university and regional entrepreneurs.

The incubator currently is home to 12 companies in the areas of life sciences and biotechnology, software and other technology products. The Innovation Center is seeking to recruit more new technology and app development companies to the space, Strauss said in the release.

The 2015 economic impact analysis was developed by the university’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The full report is available online on the Innovation Center website: www.ohio.edu/innovation.

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