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New Group Aims to Make Central Ohio a Tech Center

The Columbus Partnership, an organization made up of 35 top business executives from the Central Ohio region, is recommending the creation of new group—called Columbus2020—to spearhead efforts to retain businesses and establish the area as a technology center.

According to a report in Business First of Columbus, Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer laid out a plan for the newly proposed organization this week at a meeting of the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

Columbus2020’s goals will include helping the region become what Fischer called a “Top 10 economic development community,” creating 180,000 jobs and increasing per capita income by 40 percent within the next 10 years.

“This is a new economic development paradigm,” Fischer said, adding that the idea for the new organization developed after consultants McKinsey & Co. completed a study last year looking at best practices in economic development.

Fischer said McKinsey found the Columbus region didn’t invest as heavily in economic development initiatives as rivals Nashville, TN and Austin, TX. It also found the community needed to focus on retaining and expanding businesses, attracting new ones, creating companies and expanding the civic infrastructure.

Fischer projected that a Columbus2020 team will be put in place over the next three months, money will be raised and vice president-level executives will be recruited and hired.

Fischer told Columbus Business First that the new organization would act as coordinator and clearinghouse for regional economic development efforts, although he said a structure for the group has yet to be finalized. Many in the region see the Columbus Partnership as a group of business executives with too much power and influence, Fischer said, so Columbus2020 would not operate under its direction.

Fischer said the partnership plans to present more details about the plan during the Columbus Chamber’s annual meeting Feb. 24. A Web site for the organization has been established at columbus2020.org.

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