BRITE, incubator will partner with Air Force

BRITE Energy Innovators and the Youngstown Business Incubator will partner to support a program that identifies and connects the U.S. Air Force with universities and businesses to create and expand defense solutions.

The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment is a five-year partnership agreement with the air force that is based at the Wright State Applied Research Corporation in Dayton.

BRITE, the only energy incubator in Ohio, in Warren, and YBI in downtown Youngstown, will roll out the program and engage partners in the 424-county, 13-state Appalachian Region that stretches from New York to Alabama. The $2.1 million that will fund the three-year effort was secured by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, in 2019 and 2020 defense spending bills.

“If places like Warren and Youngstown are going to participate in the global economy, it’s going to take boots on the ground,” said Ryan, a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee.

He added the partnership puts the “Mahoning Valley at the center of this effort to spur innovation and development in the places that traditionally get left behind.”

Rick Stockburger, president and CEO of BRITE, said the opportunity is to make the air force “more innovative, more competitive and create more jobs in the Appalachian Region.” Barb Ewing, YBI CEO, added the partnership solidifies the relationship between her organization and BRITE.