The Hamilton Mill received a $500,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovative Strategies program, the first award to an applicant from southwest Ohio.
“We are ecstatic about the grant,” says Antony Seppi, director of operations for Hamilton Mill. “The EDA saw our collaborative approach, partnerships and our co-applicant, the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Research, as a good investment.”
During the three-year grant period, Hamilton Mill will apply the funds to four projects. The first two are water-focus: the Pipeline H2O water tech accelerator program and a new web portal for water-space issues. The other two programs of focus are Industrialist in Residence, which pairs Hamilton Mill members with mentors in manufacturing; and the ongoing City as Lab partnership with the City of Hamilton.
“One of our first milestones will be the Industrialist xChange Portal to identify and catalog the challenges regional businesses are facing in the water space,” says Seppi. “This platform will allow water startups to search the problems and see if their technology could offer a solution.”
UC will be working closely with Hamilton Mill on the programs supported by the Regional Innovation Strategies grant, bringing their water center and technology commercialization arm to the table.Phil Taylor, assistant vice president for Research Strategic Implementation at UC
“Our water center is an informal group of over 30 faculty members working in the water space,” says Phil Taylor, assistant vice president for Research Strategic Implementation. “They are researching water treatment, reuse, distribution, conservation and aquifer structure, and represent many disciplines, including engineering, biology, geography, planning, physics and design.”
The subject-matter experts at UC will work primarily with the Pipeline H2O participants, offering mentorship, research and applied research.
“This collaboration provides faculty with first-hand experience of what is involved in being an entrepreneur and lets them learn what it’s like to work with industry,” Taylor says.
In addition to faculty assistance, UC’s technology commercialization experts will provide entrepreneurial support to Hamilton Mill members and Pipeline startups.
“It’s important to work together on these issues,” says Taylor. “The collaboration between UC, Pipeline and the EPA is just starting and will evolve as we partner more effectively. This regional initiative could have global impact.”
The Hamilton Mill is coordinating with the EDA regional office in Chicago on the grant implementation and will be tracking startups coming into their programs and graduating, and the number of jobs created from those outcomes.
“We have come a long way in three years,” says Seppi. “This grant will transform us moving forward. It is a huge opportunity to take Hamilton Mill to the next level.”