As the rubber companies moved away from the region in the 1990s, Akron’s economy needed to transition to a more service based economy. The entrepreneurial, lunch pail mentality fortunately still thrives within the city, paving the way for a successful transition that is bearing more fruit now than ever before.
As successful economic development and job growth thrive within Akron, many benefit. Improvements have been made in the job market with successful and fast growing businesses beginning to populate once dormant buildings along Main Street, and residential real estate has also seen a positive impact. In fact, NBC’s Today Show recently highlighted Akron, Ohio as the second best residential real estate market in the country, taking into account job opportunity, housing costs, and house size for the investment.
“Not the old rubber capital,” remarked the real estate expert who made an appearance on the show. “Akron has research, financial, and high-tech businesses moving in. Jobs are easy to get in Akron.”
Good jobs plus cost-efficient real estate is the right mixture to keep talent in Akron and attract more.
Economist Joe Cortright, president of Impresa Economics, recently spoke in Akron about the many opportunities the city has within its grasp. Cortright is an expert in attracting quality talent to ambitious cities with opportunities. Cortright underscored the importance of connecting researchers and talented people with good ideas.
One forward-thinking and aggressive way to attract and maintain a strong talent pool in Akron is to provide a business environment talented people can thrive in both short and long-term. The city is taking many steps in the right direction on this front, with one of the larger steps coming in the form of the Connect Akron downtown Municipal WiFi project. The goal of the project is to blanket the Main Street corridor and surrounding areas in downtown Akron with free WiFi enabling professionals to work on the go and congregate to encourage new business growth and development. The network seamlessly links the university downtown, too, enabling students to access the school’s network throughout the city – not just on campus.
Community transitions can be slow at times, especially when transforming the economic foundation of a region. Akron was once a thriving hotspot in the Midwest, and is well on its way to becoming that again – and Knotice, recently named Akron’s fastest growing company, is happy to be playing a small part!