WASHINGTON -- Sen. Sherrod Brown filed legislation Thursday that he hopes will focus federal economic development assistance on hard-hit counties such as Coshocton, Perry, Morgan and Pike.

The Ohio Democrat's bill would increase federal support to business-incubation programs that provide training and other support to local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, particularly in economically distressed areas.

"If we want to get our economy back on track, we need to support new companies that create new jobs," Brown said. "In Ohio, business incubators are fostering the growth of cutting-edge companies and bringing new economic development to our state."

The bill would steer more of the federal Economic Development Administration's funding to business incubation programs and would establish a higher funding level to communities with high unemployment and poverty rates. Brown said the change would benefit 25 Ohio counties with high unemployment.

The Economic Development Administration has concentrated most of its funding on public infrastructure projects although business incubators deliver a bigger bang for the buck. On average, it created between 2.2 and 5.0 jobs per $10,000 invested, while creating between 46.3 and 69.4 jobs per $10,000 invested in business incubators, according to a study the administration released in January.