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Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted Join the Cincinnati Innovation District, JobsOhio and REDI to Unveil District Expansion as Lightship Foundation Announces New Headquarters, Accelerating Minority-Led Business Attraction to Ohio

Mon Oct 25 2021

CINCINNATI, OHIO October 25, 2021 – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted along with leaders of the Cincinnati Innovation District (CID) and JobsOhio announced today the expansion of the CID. To highlight this growth, Lightship Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to empowering minority-led entrepreneurs across the nation, will establish its headquarters in the CID and convert two properties into world-class collaborative spaces for students, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and minority-led startups:

  • “The Beacon” – Located at 121 E. McMillan, this will be a premier facility to attract minority business executives and startups to Cincinnati and the CID’s innovation ecosystem. The site, made possible in partnership with the University of Cincinnati, will be anchored by the new headquarters for Lightship Foundation, a minority-led non-profit and a current partner embedded in CID’s “1819” Innovation Hub. The Beacon is expected to open by the end of 2022. Three companies have already relocated to Cincinnati as a result of Lightship’s investment strategy.
  • “The Boulter House” – Located at 1 Rawson Woods Circle, A historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home will serve as Lightship’s “Innovators in Residence” house within the CID. Boulter House will provide an iconic space for underrepresented students, artists, architectural designers, and entrepreneurs to inspire creativity, master their craft, and build community through 90-day residential fellowships & programming.

“We’re already seeing the power of placemaking to fuel inclusive economic progress and talent development firsthand in the Cincinnati Innovation District and look forward to tracking the benefits this incubator model provides for Ohio’s students, creators, and entrepreneurs and communities well into the future,” said Governor DeWine. “The innovation district expansion announced today opens both a gateway to entrepreneurship and an incubator for the minority-led companies that will take root here as a result.”

In March of 2020, the DeWine/Husted Administration, JobsOhio, the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center announced a novel partnership to accelerate the development of STEM talent, research and jobs inside the district. The CID is a purpose-built initiative where creative collisions occur and people, companies and organizations solve problems that matter.

“When we launched the Cincinnati Innovation District 19 months ago, our vision was to develop a unique, regional partnership that would invest in groundbreaking research, promote commercialization, create jobs and spur economic opportunity in the Cincinnati area,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Today’s expansion is proof that the district has made huge strides towards that goal, further advancing our administration’s mission to make Ohio the most innovative, entrepreneurial state in the Midwest.”

“The achievements of the Cincinnati Innovation District have been remarkable, and our partners like Candice Brackeen are essential for continuing success,” said University of Cincinnati President Neville G. Pinto. “A UC alumna, Candice has an extraordinary story. What she and her husband Brian are doing to attract more minority owned companies to the city of Cincinnati will be game-changing.”

The CID, powered by the University of Cincinnati, is in immediate proximity to other national research centers. The district’s mission is to become a globally recognized talent hub and lead a transformational movement.

“We know it’s all about talent ---and that talent is drawn to place,” said David J. Adams, Chief Innovation Officer of the University of Cincinnati, and architect of the Cincinnati Innovation District. “The expansion of the district by Lightship is illustrative of what we have been espousing about place and we are proud to say the CID continues to be on the rise as we unveil this exciting new place for collisions to occur. Together, we are creating transformation for all – for individuals, for organizations, and for communities.”

Lightship Foundation, a non-profit foundation led by the founders of Lightship Capital, an entrepreneur education program that focuses on tech startups led by entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities, will leverage its incubator model and the CID ecosystem to bring minority business leaders and creatives from all over the world to make Ohio the place where ideas are born and can thrive in the long term.

“It’s so important that there be dedicated spaces where the local community can engage with the innovation economy,” said Candice Matthews Brackeen, Founder and Executive Director of Lightship Foundation. “We’re excited to be part of the movement here in Cincinnati toward including all entrepreneurs in access to the district and its resources. We know success can be found here, and it will be reflected in the amazing ideas and innovations that will be realized as a result of these initiatives.”

JobsOhio will invest $1M to help fund the build out of The Beacon facility. The University of Cincinnati has committed to a $11M investment in 121 E. McMillan to help prepare the more than 21,000 SF building to be ready for companies that want to partner with UC and access talent and innovation connections in the Cincinnati Innovation District.

“The Cincinnati Innovation District operates at the intersection of education and industry, where the traffic light is talent,” said J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio. “Far too often, the light of opportunity has flashed red or yellow for STEM talent and entrepreneurs from minority and disadvantaged communities. JobsOhio is proud to invest alongside Lightship Capital to establish The Beacon and Boulter House as Ohio’s newest on-ramps to the knowledge economy for students, entrepreneurs and minority-led innovation enterprises.”

The Cincinnati Innovation District is a unique and thriving ecosystem that attracts, produces, retains and develops talent by co-locating and collaborating with organizations. Unveiled in 2020 by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted along with JobsOhio and innovation district leadership, the district envelops myriad innovation assets and access to some of the world’s leading academic and research centers, organizations and talent pools. Powered by the University of Cincinnati, the CID includes the world-renowned Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and other national research centers. The district’s mission is to become a globally recognized talent hub and lead a transformational movement. The combination of industry engagement, unique experiential platforms and accessible research expertise — working at the pace of change — will become a model nationwide. For more information on the Cincinnati Innovation District, visit

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio through  Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development CoalitionOhio Southeast Economic DevelopmentOne ColumbusREDI CincinnatiRegional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

Lightship Foundation is an impact-driven organization serving remarkable entrepreneurs & ecosystems. We leverage corporate partnerships, specialized programming, meaningful mentorship, and capital investments to drive growth within the minority innovation economy. Lightship provides remarkable founders the resources and direction their businesses need to scale.

For more information contact:

Alison Hendrie

Matt Englehart


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