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Hudson -- The man who brought the idea of a local business incubator to City Council in 2010 is resigning as its executive director.
James Phipps founded The Technology Entrepreneurial Center of Hudson and established its board of directors and group of clients. He says the incubator, known as TECHudson, can move on without him.
Phipps' resignation as executive director is effective Jan. 31, and the board will decide who replaces him.
Phipps said he will work on his own business venture.
"I'm at stage in my life where I'd like to do other things and explore those opportunities," he said. "I couldn't leave this organization without it being in a place where someone could take over."
The city of Hudson has provided $374,000 in funding the past three years and has budgeted $50,000 with a $25,000 match with additional new funding for the incubator in 2013.
The city does not work with TECHudson on a day-to-day basis but will be updated at a quarterly summary and offered insight on its future direction, according to Jody Roberts, city communications manager.
"In the last four years we've accomplished a great deal," Phipps said.
TECHudson is a Hudson-based entrepreneurial center of technology-based businesses at 105 Executive Parkway, Suite 400, and a member of the Youngstown Business Incubator Tech Collaborative. TECHudson provides support, business expertise and a work space to attract promising new companies to grow and stay in Hudson and Northeast Ohio, Phipps said.
"I am honored to have taken the organization through its formative years, and I look forward to the continued success of TECHudson into the future," Phipps said.
TECHudson has grown and has supported many businesses, including SGM Games, Region XI Enterprise, G&G Games and Boxcast, he said. The incubator has also developed and sustained fundraising outreach support and has established a relationship with the state of Ohio Third Frontier and Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
"We had to prove we could attract someone," Phipps said. "I feel I've accomplished what I set out to accomplish. This has been a great experience."
The board is in place, and the entrepreneur residents and fundraising position are filled, according to Phipps. It is in a position to obtain more grants and sponsorships, he said.
"This was certainly not an easy decision to make," said Phipps. "I am grateful for the rewarding experience I've had with TECHudson."
And the total amount of Hudson city taxpayers' money spent by this organization so far ... without anything of concrete value to show for it? Answer: By the end of this fiscal year, at least $500,000! Maybe someone should have given Phipps a nudge earlier? How long will we continue to "invest" in this incubator dream before even more city taxpayer dollars are "invested" without any real "return" to show for it? Stay tuned!