YBI featured in WIRED story

Staff report


The Youngstown Business Incubator once again has made the city’s revitalization known to the nation.

WIRED magazine Tuesday published “America’s Past and Future Do Battle in an Unlikely Tech Incubator.”

The story by Issie Lapowsky focuses on how YBI, a technology incubator in the heart of a former steel town, has helped the city’s revitalization.

“It’s good,” said Jim Cossler, YBI chief executive officer and Huntington Bank entrepreneur in residence. “Because I think there’s a long tale to these kinds of things. I might get an email tonight that might lead to who knows what.”

WIRED, a publication focused on technology and how it changes lives, reaches more than 30 million people every month through WIRED.com, the magazine, social media and live events, according to its website.

“The Youngstown Business Incubator ... is a rare spot of technocentric optimism in the middle of a city whose reputation as a drab and dire former steel town is so well-known, it’s a clich ,” the story reads.

The story also hits on the political environment in Mahoning County and how it has changed from a Democrat-supporting county to “Trump country.” Mahoning county was one of few in Ohio where Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, defeated Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary.

YBI “sits both geographically and symbolically at the intersection of this tension – the tension between those who fear how fast the American economy is changing and those who fear what will happen if American workers fail to change along with it,” the story reads.

Cossler isn’t sure of how YBI can help the 50-year-old blue-collar manufacturing workers of the Mahoning Valley. But he knows YBI’s efforts don’t hurt the community.

And he hears it from the community when people say, “I really don’t understand what you are doing, but just keep on doing it. I love you guys.”

The incubator has been tech-based since 2001 and has companies based in 3-D printing technology, software and virtual reality. In 2014, YBI ranked No.1 among university-affiliated incubator in the world by UBI Global. In 2015, it was named second in the world and first place in North America.

“Everyone thought it was positive article,” Cossler said. “Where it leads we don’t know.”