Dennis Cocco has a good problem: he and other leaders of Lorain County Community College's Innovation Fund have a hard time choosing winners each year because applications are so strong.
“We’ve been doing this for four-plus years,” says the director of the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), a partner of the Innovation Fund. "The quality of the business idea, the entrepreneur and the presentation are better today than what we saw back in those early days. It’s because of the ecosystem we’ve created here in Northeast Ohio to mentor, lead and help young businesses understand the process to be an entrepreneur. We now have one of the better ecosystems in the country.”
Cocco says that those companies who don’t get funded (this year there were over 40 applications with 6 winners) can come back next quarter. In the meantime, “We offer a debriefing, explain what we saw as their strengths and weaknesses, how to make their businesses better.” Cocco says that because of this support system, there are more people starting businesses than four or five years ago.
Innovation Fund awards go to startups in the fields of alternative and advanced energy, advanced materials, instruments, electronics and controls, biomedical innovations, and advanced propulsion – categories determined by partner/funder Ohio Third Frontier.
This year’s awards went to startups in Elyria, Massilon, Hiram, Shaker Heights, Parma Heights, and Concord. They include alternative financing for retailers (IGW Finance Alternative); products to improve the energy efficiency of heating, cooling, and lighting systems (Paragon Robotics); a faster method of testing biological samples (QURA Scientific); a coating material to control corrosion (Tesla Nanocoastings); a sensor-based system to transmit patients’ clinical data to nurses’s stations (Future Path Medical); and a marketing platform for musical events (In2une).
Source: Dennis Cocco
Writer: Catherine Podojil