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Cincinnati region to join government's tech hub competition

Bill Rinehart

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has designated $500 million to the Technology and Innovation Hubs program as a result of the CHIPS Act.

Cincinnati plans to enter the federal government's competition designating 20 technology and innovation hubs. The Tech Hubs Program seeks to strengthen U.S. economic and national security by ensuring the industries of the future start, grow and remain in the United States.

Millions are at stake. Funding for the program comes from the CHIPS and Science Act. It's unclear how much of the $500 million each of the 20 winners would get. There are also five implementation awards to come later.

The hubs are clusters of businesses, communities and colleges and universities focused on accelerating innovation and technology.

REDI Cincinnati CEO Kimm Lauterbach and her staff are watching the government's Economic Development Administration website very closely to find out when the proper paperwork has to be submitted. She says the region's advantages include innovation at UC, Fortune 500 and other big companies, and the ability to attract tech talent.

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"You're going to look at some pretty major federal dollar investment into the regions to help things like commercializing technology; looking at things that might relate to the security of supply chain; helping grow the ability to transfer technology developed from your universities and into commercialized ideas and growing that workforce," says Lauterbach.

During Phase 1, the government will designate 20 tech hubs and in Phase 2, hand out five implementation awards.

On the government's website it says applications will begin to be accepted in late April/early May.

Lauterbach admits the competition is fierce but says even if Cincinnati isn't awarded a tech hub designation, the region can still thrive in the area of technology.

"It just puts you on the map in terms of a place where you've got the community's support, you've got the federal support, you've got state level support, private sector. I think regardless of whether we win, one of these designations — which again is going to be extremely competitive — we're still very well positioned for tremendous growth in our advanced manufacturing," says Lauterbach.

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A decade ago, Dayton applied to become an unmanned aerial systems hub for the FAA and lost out only to now lead the region and parts of the nation in UAS/drone and flying car research.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.