The Innovation District in Canton Ohio is a relatively new addition to the city. The district consists of 12 blocks downtown that have been promised access to affordable high speed internet with speeds in excess of 1000/1000 mbps. The district is already comprised of a few tech and tech adjacent organizations including our Canton Work Space as well as Phoenix Enterprise Solutions, Lightspeed Technologies, Agile Network Builders, StartupStark, as well as a branch of Jumpstart and it soon to be home to the development branch of Advanced Capital Solutions.
Bringing more tech companies to downtown Canton is the intent of the Innovation District but how is it accomplishing that? There has been a lot of outreach by StartupStark to bring tech companies in as well as the work being done by Jumpstart. The faster internet speeds are a factor in encouraging companies to relocate downtown and there is a small but thriving tech community that meet at different events throughout the month. But there is something missing and that is that when you are in the innovation district, it looks like anywhere else in the city.
There is another very successful district in Canton, the Arts District.
Am I in the Arts District?
Yes it's painfully obvious I'm in the Arts District.
The Arts District also has many many businesses with store fronts, most of the Innovation District businesses aren't located on street level and don't have exterior signs to alert you to their presence.
So there is a small issue with the Innovation District in that if you are trying to convince someone with a cool tech company or startup that Canton is the right place to be we don't have that little bit extra to show that this is a place where innovative things are happening. The only way to tell you're in the innovation district currently are these banners that are often racked with temporary media.
That's where the Hack-a-thon comes in. On March 25th we're holding a tech community meeting to discuss the possibility of a hack-a-thon to create something for the Innovation District to be located/visible outside that makes the district seem a little more "innovative". If you are interested in helping or participating, we'd love to hear from you and get your opinion. Sign up here for our Stark Tech Lunch to discuss this possibility.