COLUMBUS IS COMING
From start-ups to large companies, the heart of Ohio is becoming the perfect location for businesses
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Huntington Bancshares, Cardinal Health, L Brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, Wendy’s, DSW, Inc. To those far removed from the Midwest, these may just seem like randomly assorted companies across a variety of industries. To the students of The Ohio State University, however, one clear commonality bonds all of these companies: Columbus. Columbus is home to five Fortune 500 companies and an additional 10 companies from the Fortune 1000 list. Along with these big businesses, midsize companies and start-ups alike share in the prosperity of the city. With over 40 colleges and universities in and around Columbus alone, companies have access to a large group of talented, innovative workers. From fashion to food to tech, the city is an emerging hub for a variety of companies.
Ashley Kramer, a third-year student in the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State, has had numerous experiences working with companies based out of Columbus and believes it is important for companies to reach younger students in the Columbus area. She worked at Big Lots this past summer, and she just started as an intern for Victoria’s Secret, a division of L Brands, this fall.
“There’s a huge advantage of being so close to Ohio State and having that connection with the college students,” Kramer said. “Since [Columbus] is such a young city, I’ve noticed that in these companies there’s a lot of young people working, and young people know what’s cool and what’s trendy.”
Aside from the student population,Columbus has a diverse market with a strong international presence. The city is considered as a test market for various products because of strong sampling representation of the U.S. population. This diversity within the Columbus area is ultimately drawing more companies to the city.
Columbus also provides logistical advantages since approximately 50% of the US population can be reached from Ohio.
“We are experts in distribution and logistics, so at the very heart of our operation is our national logistics center (NLC) in Groveport, Ohio,” said Bill Owad, the Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence at Cardinal Health. “The NLC enables us to see what is going out across the country and creates great efficiencies for us and our customers; ultimately, this helps ensure patients are receiving the quality care they need when they need it.”
Columbus not only provides a great environment for product development and testing, but also offers an oasis for entrepreneurs. For instance, Big Lots, Cardinal Health, L Brands and Wendy’s are all Fortune 500 companies who found their start in Columbus. Compared to other big cities, Columbus provides strong entrepreneurial resources which sets them up for success.
Venture Capital ingress – the entry of long-term growth investments – has increased for the past ten years and continues to do so, following the amount of promising young companies.
Rev1 Ventures, a Columbus-based venture capital company, alone has invested $1.4 billion in startups from 2013- 2017. Angel Investors are also a big resource available for startups, with Rev1 Ventures’ Tech Angels investing $37 million in over 60 Ohio companies.
The fiscal environment in Columbus is also very ideal for business. Attractive tax structures, specifically the nonexistence of corporate income tax, property tax, and inventory tax, in Ohio accentuates the low cost of operation.
“I think just emphasizing the fantastic energy of this city is important,” said Cedric Gegel, the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Just a Skosh Productions LLC, a local film company. “There are so many entrepreneurs, artists, and visionaries here... Businesses can work here. Everything can support each other.”
As an emerging business hub, Columbus provides the ideal environment for companies to succeed. It breeds talent, accommodates a diverse demographic, and stimulates business growth. Truly, Columbus has it all: the scenery, the talent, the capital, and the rising opportunities.
Moreover, the cost of living in Columbus is about 10% less than Chicago and 16% less than New York (calculated based on the different Consumer Price Indexes of the compared cities). This combination incentivizes business to expand their operations.