JumpStart Inc. (general)

Greater Cleveland would not have been thought of as the land of entrepreneurial opportunity or activity 10 or so years ago. The region survived on established industry for quite some time, but found itself coming up short on jobs in the 1980s and 1990s.

Over the past decade, the region banded together to get the entrepreneurial ball rolling with seed funds, incubators, accelerators and other key resources. Now Northeast Ohio is flush with an array of programs and startups successfully raising capital and getting national attention. But that’s not the complete picture of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. There needs to be vibrancy, a sense of connection, culture and community.

We sat down with Nick Barendt, Laura Bennett, Paul McAvinchey and Nichelle McCall to discuss the importance of culture and opportunities created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs ... many of which are focused on peer networking and education.

Direct download: grassroots-final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EST

Every business needs capital to grow—but getting that funding in place can be a challenge.

In this panel discussion moderated by JumpStart Chief Inclusion Officer Darrin Redus, Charter One Bank President Ken Marblestone, JumpStart President John Dearborn, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) Vice President Eric Diamond and RiverVest Venture Partners Vice President Karen Spilizewski discuss the variety of ways an entrepreneur can finance their business—from bootstrapping to securing investors.

Listen as the panelists explain the pros and cons of loans, equity capital and grants, and help entrepreneurs determine what type of funding could be most beneficial to their growing venture.

Direct download: FindingFinancing-Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EST

The City of Alliance recently became the sixth Northeast Ohio community to launch a hyper-local fund to support tech entrepreneurs, following Akron, Canton, Wooster, Barberton and Cuyahoga County. Listen in and learn more about the excitement around this forward-thinking economic development initiative and hear from the entrepreneurs interested in this new source of early-stage capital.

Direct download: AllianceFundFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm EST

Pitching an investor can be one of the most anxiety-inducing things an entrepreneur has to do.

On Wednesday, April 17, JumpStart hosted “Perfecting Your Pitch,” a panel discussion about what to do (and not to do) when approaching investors, as well as what makes a compelling pitch that resonates with investors.

Moderated by JumpStart Venture Partner Lee Poseidon, the panel included: Dennis Cocco, Director of GLIDE, serial entrepreneur and investor Doug Weintraub, JumpStart Venture Partner John Blair and George Buzzy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence for JumpStart, TECHudson and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

Direct download: pyp-final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm EST

On Thursday, April 25, nine Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial companies were recognized as new members of the Charter One Launch100 Leadership Circle. The Circle, which was established in 2012, recognizes diverse entrepreneurs committed to turning their business ideas into some of the region’s most impactful companies.

The 2013 class joins the members of last year’s inaugural Launch100 Leadership Circle in forming a regional peer network of high-growth minority-and women-led companies.

Direct download: Charter-One-Launch100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EST

On Wednesday, April 17, Northeast Ohio business leaders, investors, college students, faculty and families gathered at the University of Akron's Martin Center for the 7th annual LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Awards. An academic idea competition available to students of any major area of study from Northeast Ohio colleges and universities, LaunchTown seeks to find the best new idea for a business, product or service to create wealth. The winner receives $10,000, courtesy of a Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant, plus a package of mentor and advisory services from the LaunchTown Leadership Team.

Direct download: LaunchTown_Final_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am EST

As the US looks to create new jobs, new opportunities and new industries, we're supporting and investing in our regional entrepreneurial ecosystems--which represent the collective of tech-based economic development organizations, entrepreneurial incubators, colleges and universities, venture and angel funds, and other resources dedicated to spurring the creation of a region's high growth entrepreneurs. And yet, we’re not reaching everyone. For example, according to CBInsights, in 2011 only 1% of venture-backed companies had a black founder.

JumpStart had the opportunity to discuss the importance of and the barriers to creating inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems with Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, Claude Kennard and our own Darrin Redus.

Here’s some of our lunchtime conversation about how communities can foster the development of inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems that produce higher growth, diverse businesses and why that’s ultimately critical for our country’s economic competitiveness.

Direct download: Inclusion_Final_Mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29am EST

On Tuesday, March 12, the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, with help from BioEnterprise, hosted a presentation led by Liz Powell, Principal and Founder of G2G consulting, about the Rapid Innovation Fund and related funding opportunities from the Department of Defense for biosciences, IT, aerospace and other high-tech innovations that can assist the military.

The Rapid Innovation Fund program provides $500 million in awards of $3 million each in the form of a contract to companies conducting R&D. So far, 172 companies have received funding since the Rapid Innovation Fund was launched in 2011.

Direct download: Rapid-Innovation-Fund-Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:54pm EST

If you think mentoring only benefits companies and entrepreneurs who are just starting out, think again: Whether you’re an established business owner or a newly minted startup founder, getting (or giving) advice can help you grow.

On Tuesday, March 19th, JumpStart hosted a lively discussion about what mentoring is, how it can help businesses grow and why it’s more important than ever—to both mentors and mentees.

Moderated by Anthony Hughes, Director of JumpStart’s mentoring program, the discussion panel included: Albert Ratner, Co-Chairman Emeritus of Forest City Enterprises; Samuel Gerace, CEO of VERITIX ; Paul Allen, Leader of Bizdom; and Lissette Rivera, CEO of SafeCare.

Direct download: Final_Mentor_Panel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31am EST

The mentoring program at JumpStart was created to expand Northeast Ohio’s capacity to deliver resources and assistance to some of the region's most promising entrepreneurs.

The initiative, supported by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, is focused on channeling the expertise of teams of experienced and successful business leaders to support of the region’s newest technology entrepreneurs.

By doing so, the program gives a boost to promising young companies that could go on to become significant employers in our community.

In this roundtable conversation, JumpStart's Samantha Fryberger is joined by Lee Nielsen, Gordon Daily and Anthony Hughes to discuss the values and benefits of mentoring programs for entrepreneurs.

Direct download: mentoring-roundtable-final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EST