We Define Resilience.

Akron, a rough and tumble town in the early 19th century, was a vital stop on the Ohio & Erie Canal. (Today, the 87-mile Towpath Trail, which follows the original canal, is a favorite hiking and biking spot.)
But it was rubber that made us who we are. Akron was once called the rubber capital of the world because the major tire companies called it home. With the advent of the automobile in the early 20th century, Akron boomed. Its population tripled between 1910 and 1920.
Tire manufacturing left Akron in the early 1980s. That was, of course, a punch in the gut. But once we realized the power of a knowledge economy, we were on our way. We honor the past but look to the future.
  • We’ve leveraged our significant history in advanced materials science. From nanotechnology-based adhesives to liquid crystal biosensors, our new economy is a natural outgrowth of our heritage.
  • We have 17,000 polymer-related companies in Greater Akron.
  • A 2019 report by Go.Verizon named Greater Akron among the top 50 regions for innovation.
  • The College of Polymer Science and Engineering at The University of Akron is ranked among the top three in the world.
  • Kent State University is home to the newly christened Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute, AMLCI. The AMLCI builds on the University’s 50 years of liquid crystal research to embrace a broader array of materials and devices that interact and respond to the environment.
  • Bridgestone Americas has a $100 million R&D center on the south side of Akron. In the past dozen years, several smaller players, including Hankook Tire America, have opened technical centers in the region.
  • The new world headquarters of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company anchors the stunning East End, an award-winning mixed-use community with loft apartments, Class A office space, a gym and banquet halls.

But we’re more than polymers.

  • Akron is also home to Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest jewelry retailer. It has 3,500 stores under several banners, including Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry.
  • More than 100 foreign-owned companies are located in Greater Akron, one of the largest international hubs in the Midwest.
  • We have an emerging concentration of music-related manufacturers, including EarthQuaker Devices (guitar pedals), S.I.T. Strings and Panyard steel drums, that builds on our place in music history.
  • Northeast Ohio has five of the eight major interstates highways in the state, four of the seven airports, three Class 1 railroads and six deep-water ports. More than half of the nation’s retail outlets are within a day’s drive from Greater Akron, which explains in part why we are home to more than 150 trucking companies.
  • More than 600 healthcare and biomedical companies call Greater Akron home, employing more than 230,000 and spending more than $1 billion in new investment.

Elevate Greater Akron is the result of about a year of work among leaders at the City of Akron, Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber who focused on answering some questions about our economy and the best ways to drive opportunity for the region. We are pursuing five strategies that address small- and middle-market business growth: economic inclusion and opportunity; talent and skill development; downtown and job hub development; innovation and high potential start-ups; and improvement of the ways in which we connect and leverage the resources that support business growth and success in our region on your behalf. To read about Elevate Greater Akron, click here.