The Northeast Ohio Joint Office of Economic Development (JOED) was formed in 1996 when a formal agreement was signed by six Northeast Ohio counties creating a public-private partnership that would address economic issues on a regional level. These counties—Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull—then established NEOTEC to carry out the economic development initiatives of their newly formed collaboration. Volunteers from public and private economic development organizations from the six counties staffed NEOTEC for its first four-and-a-half years. In October 2000, NEOTEC was restructured as a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, and NEOTEC’s first staff members were hired in 2001.
Two more counties have since become members of the JOED and NEOTEC: Medina County in 2005, and Richland County in 2006.
Stressing cooperation over competition, the JOED agreed upon the following guiding principles:
- One county - one vote
- Enhance existing development efforts, rather than duplicate them
- Develop private sector input
- Define county interests within regional goals
- Share benefits