Incentives Aren't Key Driver in Biz Moves

By Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business

"It's a sign of the times."

That's the reaction of Richard Rebadow, executive vice president for economic development at the Greater Akron Chamber, to the decision of 7signal Solutions Inc. to leave its downtown Akron space for offices in Independence in Cuyahoga County.

The Akron Beacon Journal characterized it differently. "Cuyahoga County won. Akron and Summit County lost," reporter Katie Byard wrote.

Those are two very different points of view on a relocation decision by a software development company whose 25 employees will still call Northeast Ohio home. The contrast demonstrates that while the world now sees a single Northeast Ohio economy, on the ground the parochial "us vs. them" mentality persists in places.

It's a mentality that many civic leaders believe needs to change for the region to grow.

"The whole point is that it is a regional economy," said Brad Whitehead, president of the Fund for Our Economic Future. "The most important thing is that we keep companies in the region. But in order to do that, we have to have a philosophy that recognizes we're all on the same team."

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