April 2021 Newsletter
Dear Reader,

This month, we are excited to welcome a new team member, boast about the major successes of a client and partner, share recent media coverage on the IC, and, as always, amplify resources, training, and events.

We are also launching a new Client Feature section of the newsletter to give our audience a sneak peek into the mind of a founder. This month, we introduce you to Dr. Lech Kiedrowski - who certainly possesses a brilliant mind worth looking into.

Thank you for reading and be sure to reach out if there is a great idea for a new venture rattling around in your own mind or in that of a colleague or loved one. We'd be happy to help!

Keep innovating,
Stacy Strauss, Director
Top Story
Innovation Center Hires New Executive Coach
Jennifer Logan will be taking on the role of Executive Coach at the IC later this month. Logan brings many years of experience in marketing, business strategic planning, and new product development. She is also an entrepreneur herself, having launched and led Campbell St Productions, LLC - a business consulting company. She graduated from the University of Michigan and then completed an MBA at Case Western Reserve University with a concentration in finance and international management.

She has a passion for early-stage projects and plans to use analytics-backed strategy and her expertise in commercialization strategies to help IC clients grow. "Jennifer will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the role," said Stacy Strauss, IC Director. "She also brings the ability to quickly assess the viability and scalability of early-stage tech innovations and the communication skills required to guide founders on their path to success," Strauss added. Logan wrote, "I am thrilled to be joining the Ohio University Innovation Center as the Executive Coach and look forward to being a part of this world-class team."

We are excited to welcome her and eager to see the results of the great work she will accomplish!
News From The IC
OsteoDx Earns New Investment from TechGROWTH Ohio
The IC is excited to announce its client, OsteoDx, Inc., has received an investment from TechGROWTH Ohio. OsteoDx, Inc. focuses on developing and commercializing its pioneering Cortical Bone Mechanics Technology (CBMT), which non-invasively assesses bone strength. TechGROWTH Ohio is a premier program of Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. TechGROWTH provides technology start-up companies in the 19-county Southeast Ohio area access to business assistance and sources of capital. OsteoDx, Inc. will use the funding "[to] position the company to advance through the next stage of development, including much broader levels of both technical and clinical validation," said OsteoDx Chief Executive Officer, Gary Wakeford.

About the IC, Gary added, "the Innovation Center has been an integral part of the success that OsteoDx has enjoyed to date. Stacy and her team have assisted us at every turn in the development of our business. The support we have received has included everything from making key introductions to potential investors, to procuring support for other state agencies, to helping us to secure additional office space as we grow. We view the Innovation Center as a trusted business partner."

To learn more about the new investment, click below.
Innovation Center Represented in Two Features
Stacy Strauss, IC Director, had two recent opportunities to promote the IC, her pride in Ohio, and her thoughts on why rural areas are becoming more attractive in the current business climate. She was first featured by OhioX as a part of their Leader Profile series. In this profile, she notes the resiliency of Ohioans, shares what makes Ohio a great place for business ownership, cites ideas about making Ohio even stronger, and lists some of her favorite places to visit in the state.

Strauss also had the opportunity to present on a panel at the Fast Company Most Innovative Companies Summit presented by JobsOhio. The panel highlighted Ohio entities, like the IC, that foster creative cultures to stay ahead of the competition. During the panel, she discussed why Ohio, and Southeast Ohio, in particular, is a leading place to live and work - now more than ever.

To watch a clip of the Most Innovative Companies panel, click the image above.

To read the OhioX Leader Profile, click below.
BioLife Solutions To Acquire Stirling Ultracold in
an All-Stock Merger
A long-time business partner of the IC, Stirling Ultracold will be acquired by a public, Seattle-area biotech company with a $258 million valuation. The deal is expected to close by May 1. Stirling, a manufacturer of ultra-low temperature freezers, has played a key role in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The IC has been fortunate to be a beta user of the company's units during product development over the years and has benefited tremendously from this ongoing relationship.

Stirling Ultracold currently employs more than 150 highly skilled employees in Athens. BioLife Solutions intends to keep the brand and staff members intact throughout the process and "continue [to] grow and provide more opportunities in southeast Ohio," according to a company representative. Our partners at TechGROWTH Ohio were the original investors in Stirling Ultracold and we are thrilled to see the immense growth Stirling has experienced over the years culminate in this milestone.

To learn more about the merger, click below.
PPP Application Extension Signed into Law
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline has been extended to May 31 by the PPP Extension Act of 2021. This extension also gives the SBA a 30-day window to finish processing applications received by May 31. The SBA now has more time to address some of the challenges faced by applicants such as confusing validation and error codes and changes affecting self-employed borrowers. Although this extension does not grant more money for PPP funding, the SBA predicts that they currently have enough to provide PPP loans through mid-April. So, don't wait until May to apply!

To learn more about the extension, click below.
Ohio TechCred Applications Open April 1
The new round of Ohio TechCred applications will open on April 1 and close on April 30. The Ohio TechCred program offers businesses reimbursement for approved technology training programs and credentials. Upon employee completion of the credential, businesses can be reimbursed for up to $2,000 per credential.

The following changes were announced for this round of applications: the length of the grant will be reduced from 18 months to 12 months from the award date; training programs must start on or after the date of the award and must be completed in less than a year; in-house training will no longer be eligible for reimbursement.
Employee Retention and Paid Leave Tax Credit
Programs Are Available
The recently passed American Rescue Plan extends the availability of the Employee Retention Credit for small businesses through December 2021. This tax credit allows small businesses to offset their payroll tax liability by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter.

The Paid Leave Credit is also available to small and midsize businesses that offer paid leave to employees who take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving responsibilities. This dollar-for-dollar tax credit will cover up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees and has been extended through September 2021.
Client Feature
Lech Kiedrowski, CEO of Spot Cells, LLC
What does your business, Spot Cells, do?
Spot Cells recently received a Phase I SBIR grant to improve the process of cell cryopreservation. Cryopreserved cells can be used for basic research and for medical purposes such as cell banking for individualized medicine or storage of reproductive cells to deal with human fertility issues. One of the greatest problems with the current methodology is that many cryopreserved cells die after being thawed. These cells do not survive well during the resuscitation process. Spot Cells identifies mechanisms that may be responsible for the death of the already thawed cells. The purpose of our SBIR grant is to research the method we designed to improve the viability of the cells after thawing. Currently, we're working on the cryopreservation of neurons. However, our method can also be used to improve the viability of cryopreserved stem cells, sperm, eggs, and other cells used for medical purposes.

Why did you start your business?
I have been using cryopreserved cells in my own research for years. I encountered many problems and I was solving them on my own. I noticed that my solutions may have commercial potential. I created Spot Cells to explore this potential.

Why did you choose to relocate to the Innovation Center?
I was initially planning to conduct the SBIR-funded work in Chicago. However, I learned about the Ohio University Innovation Center through a colleague who is a professor at Ohio University. After visiting the IC and comparing the space available in both facilities, I decided that the IC offers a better environment to conduct our SBIR-funded work.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I have been fortunate to accomplish many things over the course of my career, but one accomplishment that stands out is my highly cited work on changes in intracellular sodium concentration published in Neuron in 1994. I did this work as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory directed by Dr. Erminio Costa. I am also proud of a collaborative research project I did with Dr. Robert Colvin, an Ohio University professor. We studied the cellular distribution of zinc and other metals. Dr. Colvin is the professor who recommended me to the IC.

What is your best advice for new entrepreneurs?
Don't give up. Failures happen, but you need to learn from every failure and avoid making the same mistakes over again. If you enjoy what you do, you will do it better than others. Believe in yourself and your project and you will succeed (eventually).

What is one interesting fact about yourself?
I enjoy outdoor recreational activities like cycling and rock climbing. In 2018, I completed a Trans Am Bike race. This is a non-supported 4,200-mile bike race that starts in Astoria, Oregon, and ends in Jamestown, Virginia.
Upcoming Event
Events from Our Partners
How We Can Help
The IC is the recipient of the 2019 Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year Award (InBIA) and the 2019 Rural-Based Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award (InBIA). The center was ranked the third best University-Based Incubator in the U.S. (UBI Global Ranking 2015-2017), and was named the 2016 Rural Incubator of the Year (InBIA).

Our 36,000 square foot building has some space available.
For details, please give us a call at (740) 593-1818.
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The Ohio University Innovation Center provides valuable business incubation resources to fuel the economy in Athens, Ohio and the surrounding region. Your gift supports our mission to connect entrepreneurs with the people and resources needed to grow businesses and create jobs in Southeast Ohio.
Support for the Innovation Center is provided by Ohio University and TechGROWTH Ohio through funding provided by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. Support is also provided by the Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.