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Best Economic Development Organizations in Emerging Tech Hubs in 2024

Best Economic Development Organizations in Emerging Tech Hubs in 2024

Behind every thriving tech scene is a powerhouse quietly pulling strings and making magic happen. Enter economic development organizations (EDOs), the unsung heroes of these burgeoning tech hubs.

These organizations are the backbone of emerging tech hubs, providing invaluable support, resources, and connections to turn entrepreneurial dreams into reality. From securing funding to navigating regulatory hurdles to attracting top talent, EDOs are the guiding light for startups embarking on their journey to success.

We’re celebrating 31 of the best economic development organizations that are helping put emerging tech hubs on the map. From Detroit to Madison, Columbus to Indianapolis, Tulsa to St. Louis, we’re highlighting the amazing organizations helping people find success in the communities we call home.

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Economic Development Organizations in Michigan

michigan tech ecosystem

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. They oversee major initiatives like business incentives for job creation as well as campaigns like Pure Michigan and You Can In Michigan, the new state initiative to grow Michigan’s STEM workforce. The MEDC works with state and local organizations to attract businesses, fund development programs, and establish Michigan as a top place to live and work.


Ann Arbor SPARK

In 2001, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) created 11 SmartZones throughout the state. A few years later, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone partnered with Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit economic development organization, to carry out entrepreneurial programs. Since then, Ann Arbor SPARK and the SmartZone have taken the very small portion allotted from the state budget (about 0.0009%) and used it to help serve 657 startup companies and spur $248 million in new private capital investment — and counting! Now, Ann Arbor is one of the top tech hubs in Michigan — and in the region. 


Detroit Regional Partnership

best places to work - detroit regional partnership
Photo courtesy of DRP

The Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) is a non-profit organization that offers confidential, no-cost assistance to domestic and international companies interested in investing in the 11-county Detroit Region. They specialize in helping companies understand and access the competitive advantages of the region – from workforce data to state and local incentives. The DRP is an efficient, convenient single point of contact to all of our regional resources, working with companies and site selectors to help manage projects, navigate the real estate market, and support transitions into the Detroit community. Since its founding in 2019, the DRP has facilitated over 80 projects, supported over $7 billion in investments and construction output, helped create over 28,000 jobs, and increased payroll by over $2 billion. Additionally, the DRP has also been named one of the best places to work in Michigan.


Innovate Marquette SmartZone

Innovate Marquette was established in 2015 when the MEDC expanded its “SmartZones” to create 22 zones across the state. Innovate Marquette works as a service provider to the MEDC to transform the community into a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, complete with the necessary resources, technology, capital, and array of opportunities to attract top-tier innovators who are looking for a place to put down roots with their scalable technology business or startup. The organization provides excellent programming to support entrepreneurs (funding, incubations, accelerators, entrepreneur in residence, and more), partner with Northern Michigan University, and attract remote workers through its “Make It Marquette” campaign.


The Right Place

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Image source: The Right Place

Serving West Michigan since 1985, The Right Place, Inc. is a regional economic development organization funded through investments from the private and public sectors. The Right Place drives regional economic development initiatives to stimulate economic growth, wealth creation, and operational excellence by focusing on productivity, innovation, and the retention, expansion, and creation of quality employment and companies in the Greater Grand Rapids region. Since its founding, The Right Place has assisted thousands of West Michigan companies to invest more than $5.1 billion and 47,000 new jobs throughout the region.


TechTown Detroit

For the past two decades, TechTown Detroit – Wayne State University's entrepreneurship hub – has been a catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurship and community impact in and around Detroit. They support, empower and connect entrepreneurs, tech startups and small businesses through programs, services and space. The organization focuses on ensuring that everyone can participate in the new economy, especially people of color, women and Detroiters. TechTown leads the region's Mobility Accelerator Innovation Network (MAIN) and supports tech startups with everything from idea validation to accessing capital. In 20 years, TechTown has served more than 6,000 businesses, which have created thousands of jobs and raised more than $400 million in startup and growth capital. With programs for both tech startups and neighborhood small businesses, TechTown is central to the entrepreneur community in southeast Michigan.


Economic Development Organizations in Ohio

top tech companies in cincinnati


JobsOhio, the state’s unique private, state-authorized non-profit economic development corporation, is a catalyst for high-growth business investments and job creation that are helping propel the state’s ingenuity and ambitions forward. Founded in 2011, JobsOhio helps attract, retain, and expand businesses, payrolls, and career opportunities across the state. JobsOhio has worked on over 2,800 economic development projects, helped create over 210,000 new jobs, and attracted over 500 companies to establish operations in Ohio. 


One Columbus

One Columbus, a part of JobsOhio, is the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region. The organization works with local and state partners to serve as the business location resource for companies across the Region and around the world as they grow, innovate, and compete within the global economy. The One Columbus team has worked with hundreds of companies and helped to secure over $10 billion in capital investment, over 50,000 direct jobs, and more than $2 billion of new payroll across the Columbus Region.


Greater Akron Chamber

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Image source: Greater Akron Chamber LinkedIn

Based outside of Cleveland, The Greater Akron Chamber drives economic growth and prosperity for Greater Akron by supporting the success of the business community and acting as a convener of stakeholders on key issues facing the region. Greater Akron Chamber was a lead organization in helping the region earn an official Tech Hubs designation from the CHIPS Act. This Tech Hub will build on Akron’s historic leadership in the rubber industry and position the region to lead in producing sustainable polymers – the next generation of rubber and plastics. 


JumpStart Inc.

Based in Cleveland, JumpStart Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit providing capital, services and connections to help entrepreneurs grow, researchers commercialize and corporations innovate.  Since its founding in 2010, JumpStart has engaged more than 6,500+ companies, many of which are owned or founded by underrepresented founders (women, Black, or Latino). Their work has helped contribute to the creation of 9,207 jobs and $622 million in wages to support 6,190 households.


Cincinnati Regional Chamber

The Cincinnati Regional Chamber is on a mission to grow the vibrancy and economic prosperity of the Cincinnati region. Working on behalf of member businesses, the Chamber team ignites business resiliency and inclusive growth, invests in the people who call this region home, leads regional connectivity through collaboration, and champions the region’s unique advantages. 


City of Dublin

The City of Dublin, just outside of Columbus, Ohio, has helped the region expand as a top emerging tech hub. Dublin is home to internationally known companies, as well as innovative entrepreneurs and startups. Over 37,000 tech and science workers are employed in Dublin, and that number is growing thanks to initiatives from the City of Dublin as well as company expansions like Veeva and InfoVerity. The City of Dublin is also a part of The Beta District, an innovative technology hub with live testing labs throughout the Columbus, OH region.


Economic Development Organizations in Indiana

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Indiana Economic Development Corporation

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the state’s economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. It’s a public private partnership led by the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb. 2023 was a big year for the IEDC: it was the seventh consecutive record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana. Last year alone, 208 companies committed to locate or expand in Indiana, investing more than $28.7 billion (+29% from 2022) in their operations and creating 21,866 new jobs with an average wage of $36.07/hour – or approximately $75,025 annually (+3.9% from 2022 and +10.2% the national average wage). The IEDC oversees many initiatives and helped contribute to the state winning three federal tech hub designations in microelectronics, hydrogen energy, and biotechnology. 


Central Indiana Corporate Partnership 

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), together with the supporting CICP Foundation, was formed in 1999 as a collaborative effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. CICP sponsors five key talent and industry sector initiatives, AgriNovus Indiana, Ascend Indiana, BioCrossroads, Conexus Indiana and TechPoint, each of which addresses challenges and opportunities unique to its respective area: agbiosciences, talent and workforce development, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics and technology. CICP has spearheaded a number of initiatives including the creation of 16Tech, the Innovation District northwest of downtown Indianapolis that connects innovators and entrepreneurs and the region’s top-ranking research universities and global corporations. 



As part of CICP, TechPoint has been especially influential in boosting Indiana’s digital startup and tech economy. The team is focused on working with public, private and industry partners to expand tech talent pipeline, enhance resource connectivity for enterprise organizations and startups alike, and elevate the industry by activating the community and amplifying stories of success. Annually the organization serves over 160 startups, facilitates 6 innovation programs and 6 talent programs, and annually makes over 440 capital connections. 


Bloomington Economic Development Corp

Bloomington economic development corp
Image source: BEDC LinkedIn

Since 1985, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has been dedicated to the retention, development, and attraction of quality jobs in Bloomington and Monroe County, Indiana. As the leading economic development organization in these communities, the BEDC is focused on increasing opportunities through advancement of economic development strategy, fostering entrepreneurial activity, and active business retention, expansion, and attraction efforts. TechPoint recognized the City of Bloomington with a prestigious Rising Tech City Award during the 22nd annual Mira Awards.


Applied Research Institute

Based in Bloomington, the Applied Research Institute (ARI) works with academia, industry and government to create a hub of national security innovation that helps solve critical defense priorities. ARI is building an ecosystem of economic growth that is speeding new investment and advancing partnerships, jobs and the talent pool in Indiana. ARI is the organization that helped Indiana secure one of its three tech hub designations, Heartland BioWorks, which aims to catalyze regional biotech innovation and accelerate production of innovative life-saving medicines.


Economic Development Organizations in Wisconsin


Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is Wisconsin’s leading economic development organization. The WEDC works with more than 600 statewide partners — including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions, and industry groups — to enhance communities, support business development, advance industry innovation, tap global markets, and develop a talented workforce to help Wisconsin realize its full economic potential. The WEDC oversees many initiatives in business development, talent attraction, small business success, and more, including 


Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition 

​​Established in 2019, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition is a non-profit organization working to inclusively double tech talent in the Milwaukee region. Harnessing the power of companies, entrepreneurs, educators, community organizations and other area stakeholders, MKE Tech Hub Coalition is helping to grow tech talent and innovation in the Milwaukee region. In 2023 alone, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition distributed over $300K in grants and grew to 135 member organization. The organization also helped contribute to Milwaukee’s overall growth which in 2023 included 600 new tech jobs and over $1 billion in investments from major tech companies like Microsoft.


BioForward Wisconsin

BioForward is the collective voice of Wisconsin’s robust and comprehensive biohealth cluster. They are on a mission to grow Wisconsin biohealth companies and unite the industry to define the future of healthcare. Supporting the state’s biohealth industry, BioForward BioForward develops initiatives to strengthen the talent pipeline, advocates for better biohealth legislation and supportive programs, and more. The organization was the lead for Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub through the CHIPS Act. The tech hub aims to position Wisconsin as a global leader in personalized medicine, an emerging healthcare approach that tailors tests, treatments, and therapies informed by a patient’s unique genetic code, medical record, and environment.

Economic Development Organizations in Minnesota 


Minneapolis Saint Paul Economic Development Partnership

The Minneapolis Saint Paul Economic Development Partnership (Greater MSP) is a partnership of more than 4,500 individuals from more than 300 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties and philanthropic organizations working together to accelerate the competitiveness and inclusive growth of the 15-county Minneapolis–Saint Paul regional economy. The Partnership oversees campaigns for talent attraction and retention, startup acceleration, business investment, and more. Greater MSP has helped grow the gross regional product growth by 2.6%, attract $878 million in venture capital investments, and attract over 5,600 young workers (25-34 year olds) to the region. Minneapolis Saint Paul Economic Development Partnership was also the lead organization in earning a Tech Hub designation for the Minnesota MedTech Hub 3.0, which aims to position Minnesota as a global center for “Smart MedTech” by integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science into medical technology.


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is the state's principal economic development agency. DEED programs promote business recruitment, expansion, and retention; international trade; workforce development; and community development. This year’s goals include increasing the business development pipeline (creating, fostering and retaining opportunities) in target sectors by 15%; achieve and sustain a workforce that at least matches the representation of Minnesota’s diverse communities, specifically regarding race and ethnicity, by July 2024; and more.



Economic Development Organizations in Oklahoma

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George Kaiser Family Foundation

In Oklahoma, Tulsa has been growing as a top place to live and work, thanks to many economic development organizations, many of which operate under the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). GKFF invests in opportunities for early childhood education, social services support, civic enhancement projects and community health initiatives. The organization works with many partners to support a variety of programs that raise the profile of Tulsa’s entrepreneurial culture and provide opportunities for individuals and startups to pursue transformative projects. 


InTulsa and Tulsa Remote

InTulsa and Tulsa Remote, with support from GKFF, have made huge progress in attracting remote workers to Tulsa. InTulsa is on a mission to help connect innovative businesses with diverse talent in Tulsa. Tulsa Remote has attracted over 2,500 talented remote workers to the city, and with the help of the program’s financial incentives and community support systems, these members have found a new home and life in Tulsa. As of December 2022, Remoters have generated more than $300 Million in direct employment income for the city of Tulsa. 


Tulsa Innovation labs 

Another GKFF organization, Tulsa Innovation Labs is an initiative founded in 2020 to develop a citywide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub, leveraging the strengths of the Heartland. Through a diverse coalition of public and private partners, TIL is creating programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community. Tulsa Innovation Labs is the lead organization that helped establish the Tulsa Hub for Equitable & Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA) through the CHIPS Act.


Tulsa Economic Development Corporation 

Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) helps grow communities by supporting startups and growing businesses with loan capital, entrepreneurial resources and affordable space critical for success. TEDC’s vision is to operate in an ecosystem where obstacles are removed and resources are plentiful to level the playing field for all who desire to build successful businesses, despite their zip code, race or personal financial situation.



Economic Development Organizations in Missouri

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St. Louis Partnership 

The St. Louis Partnership is the economic development team which serves St. Louis City and County. They provide economic development opportunities including site selection, financial incentives, and opportunity zones, as well as lending programs, entrepreneurial services, and targeted initiatives. One such initiative is 39 North, a vibrant innovation district in St. Louis County, MO that offers the infrastructure, talent, and access to capital to facilitate agri-food tech innovation. St. Louis is growing as a top tech hub, with many top startups to watch in St. Louis.


St. Louis Development Corporation 

St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) is the independent economic development agency serving the City of St. Louis. Missouri. SLDC works with a people-centric, inclusive approach to empower, develop and transform St. Louis through a vibrant, just and growing economy where all people can thrive. In the last few years alone, SLDC has helped create thousands of new jobs and support over $700 million in development projects.


Kansas City

Missouri Partnership 

Missouri Partnership is a public-private economic development organization helping attract companies to Missouri. Since 2008, Missouri Partnership has worked with partners statewide to attract companies that have created over 33,100 new jobs, over $1.7 billion in new annual payroll, and over $6.4 billion in new capital investment.


Kansas City Chamber

Kansas City Chamber is a membership organization that represents more than 2,250 companies and 300,000 employees across the Greater Kansas City region in both Kansas and Missouri. The KC Chamber focuses on three key areas: growing the region’s economy, advocating businesses’ interests in the public policy arena, and providing innovative programs and resources that help members grow their businesses. Part of the organization’s “Big 5 Initiatives” include “making Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city.” Kansas City has been growing as a top emerging tech hub, especially in the healthcare sector.


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