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    Hilliard City Lab creates collaborative testbed for tech companies

    HILLIARD, Ohio – A unique partnership between the City of Hilliard and commercial engineering and business advisory services firm Converge Technologies is inspiring innovative minds behind start-up tech companies to turn ideas into reality, test them with real-world applications, and commercialize them.

    Hilliard City Lab, a one-of-a-kind public-private collaboration, creates a unique technology testbed that leverages City resources to help high-tech businesses create, test, and launch innovative solutions. In return, the goal is that Hilliard will benefit from the attraction, retention, and expansion of technology businesses, along with the creation of associated high-paying jobs.

    What is Hilliard City Lab?

    In 2022, the City of Hilliard began partnering with Converge, a local commercial engineering and business advisory services firm located on Lyman Drive, to create Hilliard City Lab.

    Through City Lab, the City of Hilliard provides existing and prospective tech businesses with a package of tools, benefits, creative solutions, educational opportunities, and workforce development that make our community an ideal development environment and proving ground for new technology. The benefits to the community include attracting high-quality employers in the tech industry to locate here, bringing high-paying jobs, and building Hilliard as a national brand.

    “This creates an environment where we have access to the resources these cutting-edge companies need to develop and commercialize their products,” said John Bair, Converge’s CEO. “We also get to work with the City of Hilliard in applying our research and products to real-world problems, ranging from the assessment of the condition of sidewalks to how First Responders respond to emergencies, to the efficiencies of alternative fuels. City Lab is a win-win for everyone.”

    The City Lab partnership will be an important tool for the City’s economic development efforts to attract, retain, expand and develop high-tech companies to the community.
    “Over the past few years, the City of Hilliard has invested in the kinds of information and infrastructure that are making our community attractive for high-tech companies that bring high-paying jobs,” said David Meadows, Director of Economic Development. “We’ve created the HiFio fiber optic network, installed street-level sensor technology, and are producing real-time analytics data that are useful to companies like those that are developing tomorrow’s technology solutions.”

    A unique public-private partnership
    City Manager Michelle Crandall said City Lab creates a tech-friendly environment that is not available in other places.

    “We’re collaborating to give businesses access to resources that cannot be found elsewhere, including the City’s smart infrastructure; Converge Technologies space, equipment and engineering expertise; innovation grants; and help in identifying other funding sources,” Crandall said. “City Lab has already helped several companies move from inspiration to prototype to commercial product.”

    Meadows said the timing of the City Lab partnership could not be better.

    “Developments such as Central Ohio’s future Intel manufacturing facility are magnets that attract other technology businesses to a region. The City of Hilliard is working to capitalize on these opportunities. One of our priorities has been working closely with Hilliard’s own Converge Technologies on Hilliard City Lab,” he said. “We expect to see more tech companies locating, expanding, and collaborating in Hilliard, bringing high-paying jobs — and many of those businesses will get their start at Converge Technology’s
    headquarters, thanks to City Lab.”

    Learn more (and connect your company) at https://hilliardohio.gov/city-lab/

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