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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

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

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

Ohio University’s Innovation Engine Accelerator graduates six startups

Six startups founded by students and recent graduates of Ohio University and West Virginia University have emerged from Ohio University’s Innovation Engine digital media accelerator, which is a summer entrepreneurship program aimed at keeping business and technology talent within the state.
 
The fledgling companies received up to $20,000 in seed funding and underwent a 12-week boot camp featuring mentorship opportunities with established executives and venture capitalists. Lynn Gellermann, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, taught in the program, offering his expertise in digital media IT.
 
“These six teams were selected out of 17 applications,” says Gellermann. “They were screened, interviewed and selected based on their team, their idea and application.”
 
Viable ideas with viable markets won out.
 
“We look at the prospect of [the company] being able to put together an idea or beta product in a short time that they can demo.”
 
The program is made possible through public-private partnerships that offer expert insight and financial backing. These include the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the Scripps College of Communication, the Voinovich School and TechGROWTH Ohio. “We also have private support from WesBanco,” notes Gellermann.
 
Participants, says Gellermann, felt as if they received a “mini-MBA” in the 2013 program, noting a majority came from engineering or communications backgrounds. And whether they continue with their startup or not, Gellermann says the accelerator “impacted the way they think.”
 
“We hope that some of them will start up, make it to the marketplace, raise capital, employ some people, and become viable startup companies in the region,” says Gellermann, adding the program is also about building a culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Ohio.
 
The 2013 companies include MyCampus, which created a mobile app that allows college students to quickly sell and purchase items. Razor Dynamics offers a product that improves mobile phone location services. AccessAble developed a website to provide travel information and booking services for people with limited mobility. Atlas Language Innovations created an educational online video game that can teach users Arabic and other languages. Foleeo developed an online portfolio tool for job seekers in the business, engineering and technical fields. Lastly, Anyvent offers software for inexperienced event planners.
 
“Students will go back home and talk to their friends,” says Gellermann. “It’s really helping to promote a culture of innovation at OU.”
 

Source: Lynn Gellermann
Writer: Joe Baur

Startup offers consumers chance to Kapture every moment, garners Mashable attention

If you’ve ever had a brilliant idea, serendipitous conversation or inspirational moment, only to be thwarted by the inability to write down what was said, your worries may be coming to an end.
 
Kapture, a new wearable audio recording wristband, allows you to save and share what was just said. Buffering 24/7, the wristband saves only the last 60 seconds of audio with a tap of your hand.
 
“With Kapture, those you-just-had-to-be-there moments are actually available to share with others,” says Mike Sarrow, co-founder of Kapture. “Rich conversation can now take a higher spot within our overall communication mix.”
 
Since the wristband’s recorder is constantly running, users don’t have to worry about disrupting a moment by getting out a smart phone. The device records over itself after each 60-second interval, allowing the user to save only the moments they wish to remember.
 
“If you never tap the product (there are no buttons or screens - only a tap interface), nothing is ever saved,” Sarrow explains. “We want nothing to do with big data or continuous recording. We are about the good stuff.”
 
Founded here in Cincinnati in 2011 by Mike Sarrow and Matthew Dooley, Kapture launched a Kickstarter campaign last week in an effort to gain support from consumers and create a groundswell around the new technology. The campaign runs through October 2, 2013, and seeks to raise $150,000 to help launch the product worldwide. Following the Kickstarter campaign, the device will go into production with a planned launch to the public in March 2014.
 
“Most startups will tell you fund-raising never ends. And because we bit off a tremendously complex project, we're in the same boat," Sarrow says.
 
Sarrow and Dooley attribute much of their ability to secure funding and grow their business thus far to being a part of the emerging entrepreneurial scene in Cincinnati and tapping into all of its resources.
 
“It might be the best part of starting a company in Cincinnati,” Sarrow says. “It is a very closeknit group willing to help at every turn. Cincytech was our first investor and is leading our seed stage funding round. The Brandery has continued to give us ad hoc guidance along the way, and we are now a project working out of Cintrifuse. We love the support Cincinnati has offered, and we love the partnerships we have in place.”
 
As Kapture has continued to grow, more and more people are taking notice. In less than a week, the Kickstarter campaign has reached more than one third of the target goal and the company has found itself on the front page of the highly touted tech website Mashable. To find out more about Kapture, visit the Kapture Facebook page.

Michael Sarason
 

Ohio companies garner coveted listings on the 2013 Inc. 5,000

Among other Ohio companies, two Buckeye State startups have garnered coveted national recognition.

CoverMyMeds, a Twinsburg firm that makes it easier for patients to get their prescribed medications, and Plug Smart, a Columbus energy solution company, both placed in the top 300 of Inc. Magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
 
Inc. Magazine's rankings take into consideration factors such as annual growth, revenue increases and staff expansions over a three-year period. Coming in at 96, CoverMyMeds grew 3,567 percent over the designated time frame using the magazine's criteria, garnering $5.3 million in revenue as of 2012.
 
The company, which previously received funding from Cleveland entrepreneur accelerator JumpStart, is an online service for physicians and pharmacists that provides prior authorization services and other insurance coverage for a variety of drug plans.
 
Web- and phone-based tools developed by CoverMyMeds automate the submission of authorization requests, a process that when done manually can be both expensive and frustrating, says principal/CEO Alan Scantland. The company does not charge pharmacies or doctors for using the service, instead putting the onus on  drug manufacturers that need to expedite the sluggish authorization process if they want to increase sales.
 
Being ranked by Inc. in the top 100 - and eighth overall in the healthcare sector - "brings us immediate attention, and gives us a third-party voice of credibility while adding to our brand and positioning," says Scantland. "The distinction is also great for employees, who are getting some well-deserved recognition for their efforts."
 
Lightning-fast growth has also opened the door for additional business ventures, notes the company head. "It's wonderful," he says. "We’re very excited about making such an impact in healthcare."
 
Plug Smart made the list during its first year of eligibility thanks to over 1,500 percent in growth and $6.4 million in revenue from 2009 to 2012. The energy services company helps commercial, industrial, nonprofit and utility companies implement a broad range of energy solutions, from HVAC to lighting systems. Among its goals, the TechColumbus-incubated firm seeks to aid clients in building energy efficiency projects and leveraging renewable power resources.
 
Getting your company's name out there when competing with industry stalwarts like Siemens, Honeywell and Trane is no mean feat, says Plug Smart president David Zehala. In addition to its overall ranking, the company finished number 17 on the list of Top 100 energy companies, and number eight in the list's top 100 Ohio companies.
 
"This establishes Plug Smart as a major force within the energy services sector," Zehala says. "Our teams represent the best and brightest energy engineering minds in the industry, and our success is a testament to their ability to help our clients find creative ways to implement energy projects."

CincyTech portfolio company BioRx, which enjoyed 181 percent growth over the past three years, was also listed as one of Ohio's top 100.

More than 180 Ohio companies were included on the 2013 Inc. 5000 list, including Vertex Body Science and US Logistics, which clocked in at numbers 19 and 34, respectively.

By Douglas J. Guth

Cincinnati church engages entrepreneurs with Unpolished

Crossroads Church, one of Cincinnati’s biggest and most robust churches in terms of its services and programming, has rolled out a new, grassroots initiative for its members called Unpolished. Unpolished is a group that came together within the Crossroads community to “encourage, educate and engage aspiring entrepreneurs.”
 
“At Crossroads, we are very excited about this,” says head pastor Brian Tome. “A small handful of our community members suspected that there were others thinking like them, so they held an initial event on one day’s notice and 400 people showed up.”
 
“We held our initial event back in June,” adds Tim Brunk, co-founder of Cladwell.com, one of Cincinnati’s newest startups. “We were looking for a way to simultaneously encourage the entrepreneurs within Crossroads and begin building a community around them," says Brunk, who is one Unpolished's founding members.
 
The initial event, in addition to attracting 400 people, produced some noteworthy results. “We had five short presentations from community members, telling their entrepreneurial stories,” Brunk explains. “The distinction from a ‘pitch’ was that we wanted the real story--what was hard, who did they lean on, what did they learn, what role did faith and community play, etc.”
 
“We saw some excellent fruit,” Brunk continues, “including a handful of businesses and partnerships that formed from people networking at the event.”
 
As the group is still developing, so are its future plans. Survey data taken from the first event led the members of Unpolished to begin holding office hours at Crossroads, which allow for one-on-one sessions between a subject expert and an entrepreneur seeking guidance. Additionally, development has begun on an app that will allow all community members to post needs and find help or resources within the Unpolished community.
 
“We are also looking into doing some specific workshops around startup related topics,” Brunk notes. “We have several other ideas as well, but there's plenty of planning yet to do.”

The church also began a four-week series last weeked called "Go Forth," which focuses on how to be an entreprenuer in all aspects of life, including business, family, personal and spiritual endeavors.

“While Crossroads respects the old,” Tome says, “we also see that the new is how things go forward.


By Michael Sarason

Bad Girl Ventures is named Outstanding Non-Profit, is Ohio's first Kiva Zip trustee

The SCORE Foundation recently honored Bad Girl Ventures as an Outstanding Non-Profit Organization for its work with entrepreneurs in starting their businesses. BGV works with SCORE mentors in its business education classes.
 
“BGV has been using SCORE mentors and services since 2010,” says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland. “We tap into their expertise and we match up our finalists with SCORE mentors.”
 
Additionally, BGV is now a Kiva Zip trustee, meaning it can recommend businesses for zero-interest loans for up to $10,000 through that organization. “Bad Girl Ventures is the first Kiva Zip trustee in Ohio,” says Barabas. “We have a two-pronged approach to helping female-owned businesses. We provide education, and if they have a strong business plan and are ready to go, they have access to capital. Having these partnerships really helps our mission.”
 
Two BGV Cleveland graduates already have been identified as candidates for the Kiva Zip loan. Anne Hartnett received a $5,000 BGV loan in 2012 for Harness Cycle, which is opening this fall in Ohio City. Paula Hershman, owner of Storehouse Tea Company, is one of the first Cleveland graduates of the BGV program and will use the Kiva Zip loan to expand her business. One more graduate will be endorsed this year.
 
BGV business education courses also offer the opportunity to receive a $25,000 low-interest loan. The application deadline for the fall session is September 1.
 

Source: Reka Barabas
Writer: Karin Connelly

Lakewood's Ideation Challenge will award access to key resources

Lakewood is looking for a few entrepreneurs to join its business community through its third annual Ideation Challenge. Interested parties submitted business plans for consideration through last week.

"If people qualify we invite them to give a quick elevator pitch,” says Mike Belsito, director of Ideation for Startup Lakewood and co-founder of e-Funeral.

Four finalists will give a two-minute elevator pitch in front of an audience and a panel of judges at a Startup U event on August 27. Two winners will be announced at the September Startup U event.
 
The theme of this year’s challenge is “access,” as in access to resources often out of reach to new entrepreneurs. The winners of the challenge will receive a lunch meeting with Lakewood mayor and entrepreneur Michael Summers; a half hour meeting with investor Christopher Celeste; an elevator pitch session with Belsito, SociaGram co-founder Ryan O’Donnell and DecisionDesk co-founder John Knific; a scholarship to a nine-week Bad Girl Ventures course; and other useful tools to get their businesses started.
 
While only one of the winners must be a Lakewood resident, the hope is that both winning businesses will set up shop in the city. “We hope that some of these businesses get started in Lakewood, but it’s all about helping people,” says Belsito. “The goal of the competition is to help people take the next step with their ideas for new products or businesses.”

 
Source: Mike Belsito
Writer: Karin Connelly

Merx 2013 encourages regional businesses to think globally

Members of the regional business community on both sides of the Ohio River convened at the METS Center in Erlanger, KY, last week to discuss the intricacies of conducting business overseas at the summit known as Merx 2013.

Derived from the Latin word for trade or commerce, “Merx” is hosted by the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association (NKITA). Its purpose is to encourage growth in local businesses’ ability to maintain their affairs outside of the United States. Ohio- and Kentucky-based businesses and entities supported the event.

With Cincinnati’s startup community gaining momentum in the business world, events such as Merx 2013 help to ensure that businesses old and new have the chance to not only conduct business around the globe, but also promote Cincinnati in the process. 

The event catered to two lines of thought for entrepreneurs: marketing and operations. With dual panel discussions split between two conference rooms, this approach helped professionals across the board to maximize their chances of successfully implementing their businesses in countries other than the United States.

Topics of conversation included marketing to locals, how to set up an entity abroad, getting the most from trade shows, partnerships and acquisitions, online marketing, and general security precautions to take when working in another country. Business leaders from the area’s most successful companies moderated the panels, which were open to attendees for discussion.

YBI portfolio company is first futures-driven capital market for digital entrepreneurs

Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) portfolio company, OAREX (Online Advertising Revenue Exchange), has become the world’s first futures-driven capital market for digital entrepreneurs.
 
OAREX provides capital to digital business owners – smart phone app developers, website and YouTube channel owners – that have sold advertising space on their digital property. “The market is futures-driven because the amount of capital provided to them is based on their expected future advertising revenues over the course of the next three, six, nine or 12-month period,” explains owner Hanna Kassis.
 
This makes funds more readily available to people and businesses who are scared away from banks because of the risk and cost associated with raising capital. “OAREX is neither a lender nor an investor,” says Kassis, who has personally financed his company. “[We] merely pay and guarantee digital business owners their future ad revenues today by providing them with lump sum cash up front.” Interested entrepreneurs can learn more from a video presentation at the company’s website.
 
Though OAREX is now in Delaware, the company remains a portfolio company of YBI and Kassis hopes to one day return to the Steel Valley where he taught economics at his alma matter, Youngstown State University.
 
In the meantime, Kassis is happy to heap praise onto YBI, saying the incubator has played a “pivotal role” in the company’s success so far.
 
“They’ve been available as a resource for connecting OAREX with potential investors and clients, and providing tech support,” he explains. “Members of the YBI team have also helped in the development of the business model and tackling the complex issues of bringing the company to market.” Kassis continues, noting a YBI board member also serves as an advisory board member with OAREX. “The connection between the two entities is very strong and successful.”
 
 
Source: Hanna Kassis
Writer: Joe Baur

Ohio Game Developer Association to host Columbus expo in September

Aug. 31, 2013 update: The Ohio Game Developer Expo has been moved to Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ohio Union.


The Ohio Game Developer Association is hosting an expo at The Ohio Union in Columbus on Saturday, September 14. It’s the first statewide event of its kind for the growing industry.
 
Steve Castro, a 2004 DeVry Columbus graduate and co-founder of the association, is excited to discuss the upcoming expo and growing community. He started the organization after seeing California’s “close-knit” development community. “They share ideas and code,” says Castro. “I wanted to build that up in Ohio.” The association launched at the end of 2012.
 
Since then Castro has been surprised to find a number of independent developers across the state. Unfortunately they were unaware of each other. “That’s what the Ohio Game Developer Association is all about,” says Castro. “We want to connect these developers and build awareness of who’s doing this.”
 
“Who’s doing this” includes Matt Maroon of Akron-based Blue Frog Gaming and Stephan Smith of FreshGames in Columbus – two of the few brick and mortar gaming development companies in the state. The two developers will also be speaking at next month’s expo.
 
Castro, who is also the co-founder of ClickShake Games with Jay “Zeebarf” Ziebarth, describes the expo as a festival where people can gather to share ideas and he welcomes all developers of gaming technology. He is anticipating a presentation from a motion capture and 3D software company and hopes attendees will be able to test out the motion capture suit. Castro added that, with more than 40 booths on the showcase floor where gamers can "try and buy," he's confident there will be plenty of games on hand for mobile devices and laptops to test out.
 
For Castro, the ultimate goal of the event is to “excite and empower” game developers and to put Ohio on the map. “We want people to be excited about development,” he says. “And we want people to realize you can do it in Ohio.”
 
 
Source: Steve Castro
Writer: Joe Baur

Groundbreaking high school accelerator program graduates nine entrepreneurs

When Zach Schwartz, Samir Amrania and Vibhu Krishna graduated from high school last year, they wanted to create a better program to help high school entrepreneurs. So in May 2012, they approached LaunchHouse and started LightHouse Ohio and the LEAP (LightHouse Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program). The program is the first high school accelerator program in the country.
 
“Northeast Ohio has a problem with brain drain,” explains LightHouse CEO Schwartz. “If we can get these kids involved in high school, to get connected in organizations like LaunchHouse, maybe more would stay.”
 
LaunchHouse CEO Todd Goldstein couldn't agree more. “We believe the next generation of entrepreneurs is coming at the high school level,” he says. “These kids are tech savvy and have a higher level of entrepreneurial spirit.”
 
This summer nine teams from area high schools enrolled in the six-week LEAP program, run out of LaunchHouse, to flesh out their business ideas and learn what it takes to develop and run a business. The nine were chosen from 70 applicants.
 
On Friday, August 2, the nine teams pitched their companies to the community and investors. It’s too early to tell if the teams secured any investors, but Schwartz says there was quite a bit of interest. Senator Sherrod Brown addressed the group via video.
 
Four of the nine businesses already are generating revenue, including Shaker Mowers, a landscaping company started by Shaker High students James Caffrey and Kyle Whitlach, which has more than 50 clients. The company has hired three people and has a 10-person waiting list of potential employees.
 
Another successful company is Vexum Supply, a skate and arts-based clothing company created by Solon High student Jacob Roscoe. He uses recycled fabrics and does all printing, sewing and stitching in Cleveland. The clothes already are on the racks in many area stores. Roscoe has hired one employee.

Chicken Coup Studios is a video game development studio that is creating a remake of Donkey Kong. Shaker students and founders Patrick Pastore and Charlie Hummel have hired two employees. Hawken student Phillip Hedayatnia and Gilmour student Megan Porter also hired two people to help with YouCue TV, a digital media-streaming box.
 
“These companies are generating revenue and are profitable,” says Goldstein, “They’re not only growing their businesses, but they are hiring employees. It’s a true testament to the LightHouse team and the hard work of these students.”
 
The LEAP program is funded through a grant from Craig Stout and the Arminius Foundation.
 

Sources: Zach Schwartz and Todd Goldstein
Writer: Karin Connelly


Boomerang brings stress relief to Cincinnati office workers

Meredith Amann, owner of Work Flow Yoga, moved back to her hometown of Cincinnati last December after spending six years in San Francisco, two years in Philadelphia and three months in New York. She completed SpringBoard Cincinnati, a small business planning and development program, earlier this year and launched Work Flow in June.

What sets Work Flow apart? It's the yoga studio that comes to you, offering up stress relief for you and your employees.
 
Work Flow classes are based in the tradition of Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, and they focus on safe alignment and maintaining the connection to your breathing. The sessions are non-competitive and are designed for beginners and those with more experience. They are 30-60 minutes and can be held once or twice a week in your workplace.
 
“It’s nice to have flexibility in terms of me coming to them,” says Amann. “It’s one person traveling as opposed to a group of people—and it’s one car on the road instead of 20.”
 
When Amann decided to pursue her yoga training and move to Cincinnati, she thought about a brick-and-mortar studio. But she decided she wanted to offer yoga to those who sat at their desks all day long, and a traveling studio made more sense for that.
 
To date, Amann has taught yoga classes at a handful of small nonprofit companies. If you’re interested in having a class taught at your office, call 513-370-9088 or email Amann at [email protected] to schedule a meeting.
 

By Caitlin Koenig

Study: northeast Ohio's tech startups generated $270m in economic impact in 2012

An annual study conducted by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development at the Levin College of Urban Affairs shows that startup companies in Northeast Ohio contribute significantly to the economy. The study surveyed tech-based companies that received assistance, either financially or in services, through JumpStart or the North Coast Angel Fund.
 
The 127 companies who participated in the study generated $211 million in economic benefits in Northeast Ohio in 2012, $270 million statewide. These companies helped create and retain 1,100 in-state direct jobs, with a total Ohio employment impact of 2,140. The companies and their suppliers also increased total Ohio household earnings by $125 million and contributed nearly $12 million in state and local tax impact.
 
As the early-stage companies grow, their impact increases, according to the study. Among those surveyed, 44 companies participated over three years -- from 2010 to 2012, showing 53 percent job growth and a 36 percent increase in economic impact over those three years.
 
“These numbers quantify the impact small companies made,” says Cathy Belk, JumpStart COO. “Small companies make a big difference.  It’s exciting to see the impact the companies we see every day are having. We see how hard these companies are working.”
 
With all of the organizations in Cleveland that support startups, in addition to support from Ohio Third Frontier, which provides funding to organizations like JumpStart, the region is ideal for new businesses.

“We continue to believe that Northeast Ohio is the best place in the country to have a small business or a new business,” says Belk. “We have such a robust ecosystem for startups and small business.”

 
Source: Cathy Belk
Writer: Karin Connelly

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