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JumpStart's mentoring program aims to create "serial entrepreneurs"

JumpStart’s Burton D. Morgan Foundation Mentoring Program offers young companies a little additional insight into running a successful business. Each participating startup is assigned between one and four mentors.

“It really depends on the stage the company is at and what their needs are,” says Anthony Hughes, director of the program. “No one mentor is going to have all the skill sets needed as these companies take their ideas to fruition.”
Companies do have to be involved with JumpStart to enroll. Currently, 38 mentors are involved in the program and they have assisted 33 companies since it was launched in March of 2012. The program currently has 21 active companies.
“The companies have generated or raised $2.9 million in capital," says Hughes. "Startups with access to mentors and advisers are seven times more likely to raise capita and three and a half times as likely to gain customers. We are responsible for creating serial entrepreneurs and polishing the diamonds in this ecosystem. They’re really flying blind without access to people who have been there, done that.”
The mentors come from virtually every industry and background -- from Fortune 500 companies to venture capitalists, to leaders of nationally-know startups. “We’ll entertain anyone, but through a stringent evaluation process. We use mentors who are experienced and knowledgeable,” says Hughes. “Mentors are invitation-only. We’re not trying to be elitists or exclusive.”

Source: Anthony Hughes
Writer: Karin Connelly

Cleveland Clinic Innovations launches spinoff to create breast cancer vaccine

Cleveland Clinic Innovations has launched a spinoff company, Shield Biotech, out of the Lerner Research Institute. Led by Vincent Tuohy, the company is developing a vaccine for breast cancer.

The vaccine uses the body’s own immune system to fight off and kill cancerous tumors. Tuohy, who serves as Shield’s chief science officer, has been working on this theory for the past 11 years. 
The next step is to secure FDA approval for human clinical trials, probably within the next two years. Researchers found that a single vaccination could prevent breast tumors from occurring in mice genetically bred to develop breast cancer, while also inhibiting the growth of already existing breast tumors. The research was originally published in Nature Medicine in 2010.
“It works in animals,” says Tuohy. “It’s safe and very effective. We’d like to see women live longer without tumors, not women live longer with tumors.”
Tuohy sees the vaccine as particularly effective in breast cancers that are aggressive and tend to recur. “Triple-negative breast cancer has a higher recurrence rate than other forms of breast cancer and is insensitive to current forms of adjuvant therapy,” he says. “It’s the predominant form of breast cancer that occurs, for example, in women with BRCA1 mutations. “
Tuohy sees potential in eventually immunizing against prostrate and ovarian cancers as well. 

Source: Vincent Tuohy
Writer: Karin Connelly

Innovation Summit will draw more than 1,000 to Cleveland

The Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit will be the first event held at Cleveland’s brand new Global Center for Health Innovation. The event will be held October 14 through 16, and organizers expect it to draw more than 1,200 people.
"We’ll have CEOs from major companies, investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” says Gary Fingerhut, acting executive director and general manager of information technology commercialization at the Clinic. “Deals come out of this summit. Past innovation deals have been made on the buy-side and in research.”
More than 1,000 jobs and $700 million in investments have been created from the regional spinoff companies.
On the first day, 12 startup healthcare companies will have a chance to pitch their companies to a panel of executives. “The winner gets a year engagement with StartUp Health Academy."

The theme this year is "Finding Balance through Innovation: Obesity, Diabetes and the Metabolic Crisis." Fingerhut says the topic was chosen because of the growing international concern about diabetes. "Clearly, it's an economic problem in the world," he says. Demonstration and panel discussions will focus on the impacts of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Mike Roizen and a panel of experts will discuss the Clinic's top 10 medical innovations for 2014. hiVelocity readers can receive a discount to the summit. Go to the registration page and use promo code FRE2013 for a special $500 rate on registration.

Source: Gary Fingerhut
Writer: Karin Connelly

Speed dating event pairs entrepreneurs with designers

On October 3, an innovative twist on speed dating called Meet Your Match will pair Cincinnati-based entrepreneurs with local designers. Hosted at The Brandery—one of the top startup accelerators in the U.S.—the goal of the event is to introduce budding startups to design firms and help them obtain essential services for getting their businesses off the ground.

As part of Cincinnati Design Week, which runs September 30 through October 5, a secondary objective of the matchmaking event is to educate entrepreneurs about what types of services designers can provide; how those services can elevate their business image; and how those services are priced.

The event is sponsored by Artworks' SpringBoard, a business planning and development program that helps artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs achieve their artistic and economic goals by creating a unique and collaborative learning environment.

During the 90-minute event, entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to interview three designers who are interested in meeting that entrepreneur’s design needs. Rather than paying cash, participating businesses can offer $500 of goods or services in exchange for well-designed collateral that will take their ventures to the next level. Business owners will identify their design needs by selecting from a set menu of services that includes everything from T-shirts and web ads to brochures and business cards. Entrepreneurs will also disclose the goods and services they are prepared to exchange if a match is made at the event.

"Meet Your Match is designed to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet multiple designers in 90 minutes," says Sarah Corlett, Director of Creative Enterprise at Artworks. "Finding the right person or firm who can visually represent your company is a bit like finding the right mate. Rather than spending weeks scheduling interviews, this event facilitates those first interactions, saving both the entrepreneur and the designer time and resources."

The event is scheduled from 12 to 2 p.m. on October 3. Spaces are still available for both entrepreneurs and designers who want to participate. You can find a simple application form for entrepreneurs and application form for designers at the Springboard website. Applications are due September 25 by 5 p.m.

By Sarah Whitman

Scott Belsky kicks off Cincinnati Mercantile Library's new lecture series in October

Cincinnati's Mercantile Library is reaching into the past with its new 2035 Lecture Series.

The annual series, which kicks off in October, taps forward-looking business leaders to talk about the "future of business, management, design, philosophy, science, and technologies and the ways those will shape the economy of Cincinnati and its region."

"It's a nod to those guys who started up the library," says Mercantile Marketing Manager Chris Messick. "The library was founded in 1835 by young clerks and merchants who were the startup pioneers of their time."

This year's inaugural lecture features creative entrepreneur and best-selling author Scott Belsky who will speak October 21 at 6:30 p.m. downtown at the library. Tickets are $20. You can purchase them here.

Belsky co-founded Behance, a platform that allows creatives to show and share their work online. Adobe acquired the company in 2012, and Belsky is Adobe's vice president of products-community, according to his bio.

His lecture will be based on his book, Making Ideas Happen, which walks readers through the process of making a creative idea a reality, Messick says.

"We have a lot of events where authors speak, but this is something new. A lot of people in the design world use his site to display portfolios online, and we have a lot of activity around marketing and design downtown. I think this will get a lot of interest," Messick says.

The Mercantile is city's oldest library, with a mission "to make a difference through literature and ideas, advancing interest in the written word, and celebrating the best in literary achievement." A diverse group of authors including Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Saul Bellow and Salman Rushdie have spoken at Mercantile events.

The year 2035 marks the Mercantile's 200-year-anniversary, and this lecture series reflects the historic library's mission to remain a relevant part of the city's creative and business community. The library is supported by membership fees, with memberships starting at $55. The library's blog, Stacked, is popular in local literary circles.

Kroger, dunnhumby, and Murray Sinclaire, Jr./Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC are the inaugural sponsors of the 2035 lecture.

By Feoshia H. Davis

Independent video game developer Loreful creating role-playing game "Ambrov X"

Creating today's complicated video games definitely isn't child's play.

Aharon Cagle, a marketer turned video game entrepreneur, is leading a 15-person team in creating a new role-playing game, "Ambrov X." He's CEO and founder of Loreful, an independent video game development company launched last fall.

Cagle, who's worked for Brand Populace and EmpowerMedia Marketing, is a passionate gamer who decided to turn that passion into his life's work.

"I hit 40, and I was like, 'I love games so much more than I love marketing.' I'd been a creative marketing director, so I knew I could lead a team of this size. So I wrote the business plan and started Loreful."

Cagle is working with a team of writers, designers, developers, visual arts, voice actor, animators and more to bring life to "Ambrov X."

Much of the team is already in Cincinnati, while others are moving here for the project, Cagle says.

"We're in the process of pulling people here to Cincinnati," he says.

The game garnered exposure during the recent Cincy ComicCon and Cincinnati Comic Expo.

"We have a playable pre-alpha version of the game we've been showing around. It's not necessarily how the game will ultimately look, but it shows the larger vision of what we want to do," Cagle says.

Set for release in early 2015, "Ambrov X" is being developed in partnership with the Science Fiction franchise Sime~Gen. The game is based on the Sime~Gen Universe novels that envision a future where humans have divided into two subspecies: Gens and Simes.

Gens produce a life energy that Simes need to survive. The novels center on the subspecies' struggle for co-existence.

"We're basically taking that story 1,000 years in the future. The humans have learned to live with this genetic catastrophe and are beginning to explore space," Cagle explains.

"Ambrov X" is planned for release on Windows, OS X and Linux through STEAM, a game-distribution platform. The game will be released in five episodes, ranging from three to five hours each.

Loreful is in the midst of a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to help push development, set to end Oct. 5

By Feoshia H. Davis

Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies set to expand telemedicine for Parkinson's treatment

For the last several years, Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies (GLNT) has been using telemedicine technology to study Parkinson's disease. The Cleveland-based provider of patient-centered diagnostic and therapy systems is planning to expand its approach by adding real-time video conferencing to its existing Kinesia HomeView™ innovation.
The technology is currently under development at GLNT with clinical validation studies planned for this fall. Adding video conferencing to currently available remote monitoring of Parkinson's patients will keep patients engaged in treatment, says Dr. Dustin Heldman, biomed research manager at GLNT.
"Patients will be more likely to take medications when they're supposed to, and (through the system) will be assessed more regularly," says Heldman.  Through the video feed, patients living far from treatment centers won't have to make potentially pricey trips for medication adjustments and other routine maintenance, notes the technology group research manager.
The current Kinesia system includes motion sensors patients wear and a broadband integrated tablet which users employ to follow video instructions and complete motor assessments. Telemedicine is a growing healthcare market trend designed to improve patient care and accessibility. Applications include live video conferencing, remote monitoring and store and forward technologies.   
This type of technology is especially useful for monitoring Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative movement disorder that can afflict its sufferers with a variety tremors, slowed movements and gait abnormities. These symptoms can change daily in type and severity, making a patient's condition difficult to determine during a short office visit. Creating a visualization tool for such a complex disease will only help in its treatment, Heldman says.

Source: Dr. Dustin Heldman
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

YBI portfolio company snags international client

OAREX Capital Markets has closed on their first transaction by providing capital to Toronto-based Nintendo Enthusiast, a video game review website that has an informal relationship with Nintendo.
A Youngstown Business Incubator portfolio company, OAREX provides capital to digital entrepreneurs with future value. It’s billed as a risk-free alternative to incurring debt or selling equity.
“In exchange for the cash we gave him, he will pay us the money he receives from advertisers for the next three months,” OAREX Founder Hanna Kassis explains. “After that, he remains 100 percent owner of his company and debt free.”
Kassis says the deal came after pouring over market research that included reaching out to various blogs and websites.
“I emailed about 450 blogs and was getting mixed feedback,” Kassis recalls before Nintendo Enthusiast asked for a quote. “We Skyped three times, and I got to understand his needs, got access to his website data and quoted him. We negotiated a bit and struck a deal.”
In addition to providing capital, OAREX will be offering search engine optimization (SEO) consultation to the Canadian company. Kassis anticipates their SEO work will bring in even more advertising revenue to Nintendo Enthusiast.
Though OAREX is excited for their first client, Kassis is busy developing additional relationships.
“We are in talks with a few other potential clients,” he says, noting an increased demand for futures capital. “I’ve been emailing 50 to 80 websites a day.”
Source: Hanna Kassis
Writer: Joe Baur

As CLE-based Acendex looks to fill senior tech positions, it trains entry-level staffers

Since 1988, Beachwood-based Acendex has been the go-to IT consulting company for businesses looking for information and communications systems. “We’re like the IT department for companies too small to afford the talent and too large to not have high-end support for their systems,” says Jonathan Husni, founder and president of Acendex.
The Acendex philosophy is to let their clients focus on what they do, while Husni and his team build the right voice and data networks to help them do those jobs.
With the local economy improving, business has picked up. To cover the increased business, Acendex is looking to add three or four senior network engineers to its 14-person team. But Husni is having trouble finding talented people to keep up with client demands.
“Just finding folks who have the skill set I’m looking for is very, very difficult,” he says. “The guys who have been with me who are successful have been with me 10 to 15 years.” Like many IT companies, Husni finds that applicants have the training, but they don’t have the hands-on experience. “A lot of people have the credentials, but they don’t have the experience to back it up,” he says.
So in the meantime, Husni came up with a solution. He hires entry-level people and puts them in the field with clients who want someone on-site 40 hours a week. They have the knowledge for basic support and at the same time have the backup of senior level staff if there’s a more advanced problem.
“They get the opportunity to get real world experience, but when they get stuck they can call our senior engineers.” Husni says. “It’s a sort of proving ground. It works for the client because they get 40 hours of help at a low cost. It works for me because they get the training they need.”
Source: Jonathan Husni
Writer: Karin Connelly

Downtown Cleveland Alliance hosts first all-Ohio BID conference

As millenials, empty nesters and other demographic groups flock to downtowns across Ohio, business improvement districts -- or BIDs -- are playing an important role in ensuring that these areas are clean and safe and that residents, office workers and property owners have the amenities they need to thrive.

A business improvement district is a defined area within which property owners pay an additional tax to fund projects and services that enhance the area. Downtown Cleveland has a BID, and the organization provides basic "clean and safe" services, organizes events and markets downtown to prospective residents, visitors and businesses.

This week, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, which manages the downtown BID, organized the first all-Ohio BID conference, bringing together BID leaders from across the state to network and learn about issues they share in common.

"It came from the idea that there's not a unifying organization or conference for BIDs," says Anna Beyerle with DCA. "We can learn a lot from other BIDs across Ohio. The idea was to get in the same room and throw out ideas and best practices."

Topics included food truck legislation, downtown transportation, farmers markets, placemaking, and office and retail recruitment strategies.

Participants also enjoyed several tours of downtown Cleveland and the surrounding area and had a chance to learn from Cleveland's redevelopment.

Beyerle says the conference will help BIDs, such as the one in downtown Cleveland, to become more effective. "We're up for renewal in a couple years, and we're looking at how we can improve."

Source: Anna Beyerle
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Sunrise Advertising evokes established Cincy brands, reenergizes

Sunrise Advertising, in line with their tenth year anniversary, has unveiled a new look and positioning designed to better reflect their expertise with established brands. The full-service marketing and advertising agency, located in downtown Cincinnati, has rolled out the rebranding throughout the agency’s collateral and unveiled a new website in August. This marks the first time in the company’s history that they have gone through such a process.
“As we prepared for our tenth year in business, we spent a considerable amount of time evaluating our corporate direction and our greatest opportunity for continued growth and success,” explains CEO Brian McHale. “Strategic planning is about making choices—it’s probably more important to agree on what you’re NOT going to do as it is to decide what you will do as a company.”
The new positioning, dubbed "Energizing Established Brands," calls out the agency’s specific area of expertise.
“At Sunrise, we pride ourselves in our ability to help give everyone’s favorite brands succinct messaging and a relatable personality with their key audiences,” McHale says. “It’s only appropriate that we also re-energize our look and feel to reinforce our expertise in helping companies who want to maximize their reach in a timely, relevant way.”
Sunrise’s clients include Skyline Chili, Cintas, US Bank, the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network and more.
“We have a strategic process called a New Day Process that we used to guide us,” McHale says. “Throughout our history, we have had a tremendous amount of success energizing established brands, so it is a natural place for us to live. It is also a position we can own, as we are the only ad agency in the country with this focus. It is a true differentiator for us.”
CEO McHale has owned the company since 2008, but has been in the marketing industry for 25 years. Previously, he worked on the production side in California for the NBC Network, working on TV shows like "The Tonight Show" and "Wheel of Fortune" before returning to the Midwest and getting into the ad agency business. He hasn’t looked back since.
“2014 is already shaping up to be a very interesting year for Sunrise,” McHale says. “It will be a year to continue to fine tune and focus the Sunrise brand. We also have several new clients that have recently committed to work with us, like Ashley Furniture Homestores and Morris Furniture, so next year will be a year where we will get to roll out our initial thinking for those brands. I’m looking forward to our brand’s continued evolution.”

Michael Sarason

PowerGenie aims to take a bite out of passive energy waste

Unless they're unplugged, your television or DVD player are never truly off.

Through what's known as "passive" or "phantom" energy, household appliances drive up your energy bill even after you flip the off switch. And unless you unplug those appliances, there's no easy way to stop it.

That could change if a team of young Cincinnati entrepreneurs gets their energy-saving power outlet on the market. The PowerGenie, envisioned as a smart version of a traditional power strip, is the first product under development by Sustain-A-Watt Energy Solutions.

Passive energy is a big money and energy waster. It can add up to $40 a month to an average home's energy bill, or $5 billion a year across the U.S., says company co-founder and recent University of Cincinnati grad Rod Ghavami.

Appliances plugged into the PowerGenie can be turned off through a smart phone application that users can control from any location. The patent pending PowerGenie is still in the early development stage, but has won several business and innovation competitions. Most recently, it was a winner in the Cincinnati Innovates competition, winning the LPK Design and Branding Award.

"We have a proof-of-concept prototype, basically a Frankenstein prototype," Ghavami says. "Since graduation, some of the people on our team earlier have disappeared, and we've brought on some new people who are excited about the project and want to work on it."

The PowerGenie started as a class project for the electrical engineering student.

"As part of our senior design project, we came up with the idea of monitoring real-time electricity consumption from an outlet. That's how the PowerGenie came to be," Ghavami says.

After winning a Green Energy Business competition, the idea was further refined.

"We realized we could turn this into a real product and help the average person save energy," he says.

The PowerGenie is designed for residential use, but the technology could be expanded eventually for business use, Ghavami adds.

LPK will be soon working with the company on marketing and consumer design. The company is also seeking angel investment and is working on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. The goal is to create a product ready for production by early next year.

By Feoshia H. Davis

Landor Cincinnati, Dress for Success show off fashion

Landor Cincinnati is more than a branding firm that produces client-driven work. It’s a creative community of individuals with a propensity to improve the Queen City. 

“It’s really just part of our culture to engage in our community in a really significant way,” says Steve McGowan, executive creative director at Landor. “Anyone in our building, any of our associates—if they have a concept, they’re free to bring it to us, and we almost 99.9 percent participate and help them make a difference in the community.” 

The company’s partnership with Dress for Success Cincinnati, a non-profit aimed at increasing women’s confidence by providing professional attire and job-readiness coaching, will celebrate four years together today at the organization’s annual fashion show at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom downtown.

“There’s something great about the Dress For Success partnership in that the power in branding is to make that human connection—that really authentic connection,” says McGowan, adding that everything DFS believes in was reflected in the design decisions and ultimate feel of the event—from centerpieces to invitations to the show. “There’s a synergistic relationship that happens when something like this comes together, so when we do find those relationships, we hold on to them yearly because we know we’re helping to empower women, and in the process, empowering our designers to make a change and make a difference. 

For Jessie Zettler, Landor’s associate design director, the fashion show is a particularly gratifying event, because DFS clients are able to walk the catwalk and share their personal success stories. 

“We really believe in the power of design and creativity—change the world for the better,” Zettler says. “And a lot of the efforts Landor is investing in are great examples of that. When you see all that hard work, the blood sweat and tears come to life, it’s so fulfilling for all of us.” 

By Brittany York

Insivia broadens its services, expands its staff

When Andy Halko founded Insivia right out of college in 2002, he was more of a freelancer, picking up projects piece by piece. Today, the company is a full-service marketing firm working out of the Agora in Midtown.
“We’ve really evolved into a strategic marketing firm for our clients,” says Rick Scheeser, Insivia's director of operations. “Nowadays we’re their entire marketing department. We have a more strategic partnership with our clients, and we have a lot more control over what we do.”
Over the past year Insivia has developed its client base, grown into a 16-person company, and is looking to add a back-end developer and an account executive.
“Before we had lots of one-off projects,” says Scheeser. “Now our clients are more our partners; we’re working with them on a long-term basis.”
Scheeser says Insivia has developed a niche market in the manufacturing industry. “It really helps us understand how we can use technology in their businesses and communicate with their clients,” he says regarding developing an expertise in the market. “I don’t think you could be in Cleveland without helping manufacturing companies.”
Another niche evolves around small tech startups. But Scheeser says no matter what the industry, Insivia gets to know the inner workings of the client. "It’s all about learning about our clients,” he says. “We focus on long-term objectives from a marketing perspective. It allows us to really own the results, instead of just one small piece.”

Source: Rick Scheeser
Writer: Karin Connelly

Biz competition launches in southern Ohio

If you live in southern Ohio and have a bright business idea, The Ohio State University South Centers can serve as the launch pad to send your brainchild hurtling into the economic stratosphere.
The 2013 Biz Launch Business Plan Competition is designed to provide a space for hopeful entrepreneurs to grow and expand their ventures, says Meagan Barnes, program leader with the Ohio State extension in Piketon, Ohio.
The competition is open to existing businesses and individuals looking to start a company within a ten-county region of southern Ohio, including Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton Counties. Fresh ideas are welcome, but those building a new product line or seeking to expand an early stage company are also eligible to apply.
The contest is a celebration of regional entrepreneurship, says Barnes.
"It's an opportunity to spur some folks who, without the competition, may not have thought about putting their ideas out there," she says. "This is an area of Ohio that doesn't have an urban setting in terms of developing entrepreneurs. Individuals can put their ideas in front of a panel and then access funds to get those ideas going."
Applicants must submit business plans and financial projections by Oct. 15, with judging and an awards luncheon taking place later in the month. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three plans.
Barnes expects upwards of 25 participants for the 2013 competition. A five-person panel comprised of economic development experts and established entrepreneurs will choose ideas based on projected customer base, economic feasibility and other factors. Development counselors will be available to meet with individuals or businesses for one-on-one planning assistance.
Since its inception in 2009, the business plan contest has launched a variety of ventures, including a coffee company and doctor's office. New technologies have also emerged, such as a motion sensor from the YEI Corporation (formerly Yost Engineering), which has applications in defense, medicine and entertainment, says Barnes.
"We accept ideas from a wide variety of different sectors," she says.
A winning plan taking root in a struggling southern Ohio county is the competition's most immediate benefit, Barnes notes. There's a wider impact from a production and commercialization standpoint as well.
"If it's an existing business launching a new product, they will get that product manufactured within the region," Barnes says. "We want to spur economic activity in our counties."

Source: Meagan Barnes
Writer: Douglas J. Guth
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