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CAC report tells story of how county residents connect to arts and culture

Cuyahoga County's population utilizes arts and culture in a variety of ways, from museums and theaters to smaller community festivals and neighborhood events. Recently released findings from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) show just how connected residents are to the region's arts offerings.
CAC's 2015 Report from the Community shares stories of county residents impacted by the 210 organizations CAC funded in 2015. Self-reported data from these groups revealed more than $383 million arts-related expenditures county-wide, including upwards of $158 million in salaries to 10,000 employees.
Other key statistics from the report include:
* 50 percent of CAC-supported programs had free admission in 2015
* Nearly 6.9 million people were served by arts programming last year, including 1.5 million children
"The report provides good evidence of the story we're telling," says Karen Gahl-Mills, CEO and executive director of CAC. "Arts and culture is having a huge impact on Cuyahoga County."
Nor are culture lovers only visiting conventional venues like the ballet or a gallery, notes Gahl-Mills. Nature and science organizations, community gardens and other non-traditional entities are attracting crowds through their own arts-infused efforts.
"It's not just big institutions; we're shining a light on smaller organizations," Gahl-Mills says. "There's extraordinary variety."
This year's report also relates the experiences of community members impacted by arts and culture. One featured resident is Patty Edmonson, an employee at the Cleveland History Center, who returned to the region to curate the center's 13,000 dresses and 40,000 textile objects.
"Residents are the ones who benefit from the dollars we invest," says Gahl-Mills. "We use tax dollars to support the arts, so we need dialogue with the public to understand what work we can do."
This summer, CAC has been visiting festivals and events to get further feedback from the community. The undertaking includes "street teams" going out to barbershops and farmer's markets and asking folks what inspires them about the arts. Gahl-Mills says public funding for the arts is a key facet in making Cuyahoga County a vibrant, attractive place to live.
"People care about the arts and we need to hear from them," she says. "The more we know, the better grantmaker we can be." 

Who's Hiring in CLE: IBM UrbanCode, NewBridge and more

Welcome to the latest installment of Fresh Water’s “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply.
IBM UrbanCode
Companies around the world in the gaming, retail, banking and technology fields have turned to IBM UrbanCode for help in supporting their DevOps needs. A leader in its field with headquarters in Cleveland, IBM UrbanCode continues to save its customers money with automation tools that enable organizations to deliver software to production faster while reducing errors.

“Organizations are finding that they can save money and increase customer satisfaction by simplifying and speeding up their entire software development and delivery process by using IBM UrbanCode software,” says Tracy Gavlak, IBM UrbanCode’s business operations specialist.
UrbanCode was acquired by IBM in 2013 but they still have a start-up vibe. “The Cleveland office is great because we have retained a startup feel,” explains Gavlak. “It's a professional yet relaxed atmosphere in a bright and fresh office space just a block from Playhouse Square.”

To keep up with demand for its software, IBM UrbanCode is looking to fill 23 positions on its software development team. The developers will code new features, do bug fixes and perform integrations with software development lifecycle tools. Qualified candidates may even help develop new products as they design, test, research and review existing code.
Open positions include senior Java software developer; software development manager, software tester and a business development representative. Qualified candidates should have a computer science degree or equivalent, Java coding experience, be a self-motivated strategic thinker with an analytic and problem solving skills and a passion for writing code. Register and apply online on IBM UrbanCode’s careers page.
C.TRAC, marketing solutions provider specializing in interactive marketing, database management and related support services, is looking for a development lead to develop and deliver solutions that answer client needs using salesforce marketing cloud and related interactive capabilities. Experience managing projects from whiteboard to delivery is critical. This person will lead the development team and collaborate with account service and technical solutions teams. To apply, please send resumes to the hiring manager.
NewBridge, an arts and technology vocational training center for youth and adults, has four open positions, including a chief program officer/director of student experience, a student employment specialist, a student recruitment specialist and an administrative assistant. Email resume, cover letter and NewBridge application form to the hiring manager.
The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP), which is dedicated to enhancing the leadership abilities of engaged Clevelanders who are committed to creating a city and region which works for everyone, is looking for a graduate support manager to provide support and resources to NLDP graduates to enhance the development of their leadership skills and expand networking opportunities to create positive change in Cleveland. The manager will develop and maintain a broad based multi-faceted graduate support program using a variety of strategies. For questions or to apply, send resume and cover letter to Yuolanda Murray by Friday, September 25.
Terves, Inc., a materials science company producing engineered composites used in the oil and natural gas well completions and defense industries, has a variety of open positions, including an executive assistant to provide support to the COO and a project manager to manage all aspects of product development projects from feasibility to pilot scale production. To apply, email resume to the hiring manager.
OnShift, a provider of staffing solutions software for long-term care and senior living facilities, currently has 15 open positions, including front end and back end software developers and a marketing communications manager.   Click here to create a profile and submit an application.
Complion, an early stage software company whose cloud-based software stores critical clinical trial documentation for hospitals and medical centers, needs a director of marketing, a software product manager, an inside sales executive and a software developer. Email resumes to Rick Arlow  
SplashLink, an online resource for the water industry focused on connecting water challenges all over the world with expertise, solutions and the tools to manage projects from conception to deployment, needs collaborative and internet-savvy associates to provide research, data-entry and related support to assess water industry information and input applicable content; and identify and capture pertinent contact information to aid SplashLink’s sales team. Send cover letter and resume to Michele Kilroy by Thursday, October 8.  
Software Answers
Software Answers, which helps improve the learning of K-12 students through its software suite, ProgressBook, needs a technical support analyst to provide technical support to customers. Candidate must have knowledge of SQL and Microsoft Office applications and have one year of customer service experience. Email resume to the hiring manager.
Jakprints, a custom printer, needs a designer and two production operators. Email resumes to the hiring manager.

Tourism hits record numbers as word spreads about Cleveland

The word is out that Cleveland is a cool place to visit. According to Destination Cleveland's 2014 Convention and Leisure Tourism Metrics Report, Cleveland hit a five-year high in the number of visitors to the city, with 16.9 million visitors last year.

That number represents a 4.5 percent increase over 2013, which counted 16.2 million visitors coming to Cleveland. In 2010 there were 14 million visitors. The report is based on a combination of industry statistics and the convention and Destination Cleveland’s performance metrics.

“We’re really excited about it,” says Jennifer Kramer, Destination Cleveland’s communications manager. “The numbers continue to go up. As Cleveland is starting to revitalize, we’ve piqued people’s interest and they’re giving a second look at Cleveland.”

The record numbers show a change in attitude about Cleveland, especially among Millennials and arts and culture enthusiasts. “There’s an increasingly positive feeling about Cleveland but it wasn’t always that way,” says Kramer. ““Some folks think of Cleveland in the old days and they can't get past some things. But this has really helped drive visitors to the market and get everyone interested in visiting. The campaign has been successful in changing that attitude.”

Kramer says the increase in tourism is in part because of the investment in downtown. “There’s been $3 billion in visitor-related infrastructure,” she says. “We attribute the increase in numbers to the development going on in downtown Cleveland over the last five years.”

The report also shows that Destination Cleveland’s marketing and media efforts have paid off. The #ThisisCLE social media campaign that encouraged locals to share photos and stories about Cleveland, brought a 21 percent increase over 2013 in new page views of Destination Cleveland’s website.

“It has given us an opportunity to share what we see from a local perspective,” explains Kramer. Fifty four percent of residents who participated said they would recommend Cleveland as a destination, up from 34 percent.

Furthermore, travel and leisure writers have taken an interest in the city. Cleveland has made it on various top cities lists among travel writers, including the New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2015 and Travel and Leisure Best Places to Travel in 2015. “We’ve become one of the must-see places,” says Kramer. “When you start to see Cleveland on the same playing field as places like Las Vegas or Italy, we’re very fortunate.”

Kramer admits that the upcoming Republican National Convention and the Cavaliers in the NBA finals boosted interest in Cleveland. But the recent completion of the Cleveland Convention Center and the increase in downtown hotels has increased the city’s capacity to host both conventioneers and tourists.
And things seem to only be getting better. “Our plan is to build on this momentum,” says Kramer. “The Republican National Convention is a huge deal, but it’s a launchpad for more. We know we will continue to welcome this market as we get the word out.”

Encore Artists project helps seniors explore the arts

Seniors in Cleveland will soon have a new outlet for creative expression, thanks to a new program through the Benjamin Rose Institute of Aging. The Encore Artists program pairs older adults with professional artists, art therapists and music therapists age 50 and older at various sites around Cleveland.
“I’ve been trying to find a way to bridge the art world with the aging world,” explains Linda Noelker, senior vice president at Benjamin Rose and Encore Artists project director. “Research shows that older adults, when they actively engage with the arts, it improves their health and quality of life.” In particular, she cites the fact that seniors with ailments like Parkinson’s disease who participate in dance have improved gaits, better balance and fewer falls.
Noelker approached the Cleveland Foundation about funding such a program. “I talked to the Cleveland Foundation and said, '[Why don’t we try to recruit artists and give them training in the arts with older adults?'” recalls Noelker.

The Cleveland Foundation agreed and is funding Encore Artists program, along with the Ohio Arts Council, as part of its Encore Cleveland program.

Noelker is currently recruiting art teachers, art therapists and music therapists to volunteer for the project. Selected artists will go through a two-day training in May and then be listed on a registry that details their experience and program interests. Artists must commit to providing 48 hours of programming in the next six months. Artists and can sign up through Benjamin Rose.

Noelker is also looking for community sites within Cleveland to host the project’s events. Ideal host sites are nursing homes, libraries, or recreation centers. Potential hosts sites can register here. For more information, contact Noelker.

SEA Change inaugural organizations pitch their ideas for $50,000 in funding

The SEA Change Happen event at Idea Center On Monday was a success, with all eight enterprises receiving a portion of the $50,000-plus grant money. Rust Belt Riders received the most grant money, with $20,000, while the Vineyards and Biocellar of Chateau Hough received $15,000 and was voted crowd favorite. Upcycle Parts Shop received $10,000 and Modern Good received $5,000. KnotProfitTigressHonor Good Deeds and GiveNext each received $1,000.

Seventy-five social enterprises applied to be in the inaugural SEA Change accelerator program, a collaboration between Civic Commons Ideastream, ECDI, LaunchHouse, Hispanic Business Center and others. The goal of the program is to provide coaching and capital to people with business ideas that will improve their communities. Thirteen participants were selected for the program.
On Monday, April 6th, the remaining eight enterprises will participate in SEA Change Happen and present their concepts in a pitch competition to earn $50,000 in grant funding.
“They’ve all made remarkable progress,” says Mike Shafarenko, Civic Commons Ideastream director. “Each of them came in at a different stage. Some were already setting things up or active in the community, some of them came in with just an idea.
The participants went through a six-week accelerator and twelve-week pitch practice program. They received training on how to maximize social impact, develop a unique and compelling value proposition, assess potential customers and competitors in the social and commercial markets, build financial projections and create marketing and sales plans. Ultimately, they each wrote a social enterprise plan.

The eight organizations that made it through the entire accelerator program then practiced their pitches in a variety of settings. Shafarenko says the prize money may be split between a few of the eight participants, or could go to just one winner.

The eight finalists include GiveNext, an online program to make and track charitable donations; KnotProfit, which offers ways to create a charitable wedding registry; and Rust Belt Riders, which collects organic waste and turns it into compost.

“No matter what, they’re all remarkable programs,” he says. “It’s important to nurture and empower people who have ideas to improve the community period. We’re in an era of ideas that are self-sustaining."

The sold out event takes place at Idea Center at Playhouse Square from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, Monday, April 6th.

who's hiring in cle: park place technologies, cuyahoga arts and culture and more

Welcome to the latest installment of Fresh Water’s “who’s hiring” series. Twice a month we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply.
Park Place Technologies
Park Place Technologies has been keeping their clients’ data centers running smoothly since 1991. The IT services organization specializes in post-warranty hardware maintenance. Park Place has a fleet of technicians around the country that can be on-site to service a machine within four to 20 hours.

“We began as a computer hardware reseller, then the founders saw a hole in the market and we jumped to the service side of things," says Dan Gleeson, a senior recruiter with Park Place.

Park Place has seen explosive growth in the last six years, with 25 percent annual growth for five years straight. The company hired more than 90 people last year, for a total of 330 in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. About 140 Park Place employees are based in the Mayfield Heights headquarters.
The company is now planning to top its 2014 hiring record by adding more than 100 more people in 2015. At least 60 of the positions will be in Cleveland, including a training class of 20 new business development associates staring in February. 
For a full listing of the current open jobs and to find out more information, go to Park Place’s careers page.
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture is filling the newly-created position of associate for communications and grant programs. The organization needs a creative, energetic and detail-oriented person to work across functions to efficiently and proactively provide support to all members of the CAC team and serve CAC’s cultural partners. The associate reports to the deputy director and will work closely with the grant managers and communications manager to improve systems, streamline workflow and implement key projects in these areas.
For more information, click here. Or send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to the hiring manager by January 30th.
Great Lakes Neurotechnologies
Great Lakes Neurotechnologies, manufacturer of a line of bioinstrumentation products for research and clinical needs, is hiring a junior software engineer and a biomedical engineer. Send resume and cover letter to the recruiter.
Breakthrough Schools, Bike Cleveland and more
Breakthrough Schools, Cleveland’s highest-rated network of free, public charter schools, is currently recruiting teachers, leaders, and operations staff.  The organization has 28 openings in its network of seven campuses. To see the positions, click here, then start the application process.
Bike Cleveland is looking for a communications and membership manager to develop and lead a comprehensive communication plan for the growing organization and manage a membership program that will maximize member recruitment opportunities and engage current members in order to maximize their retention. Send resume, cover letter and writing sample to the hiring manager.

The Regional Information Technology Engagement (RITE) Board needs a part-time program coordinator for its Get I.T. Here! programs and the RITE central office. See the full job description for more information. To apply, send resume and cover letter to the hiring manager.
Esperanza, Inc., the region’s only organization dedicated to the educational needs of Cleveland’s Hispanic community, needs a development director and a part-time mentoring program specialist. Send resume and cover letter to executive director Victor A. Ruiz for the development director positon; and to programs director Jesus Sanchez for the mentoring position.
BlueBridge Networks, a regional leader in data storage, with data center services, cloud computing and infrastructure solutions across its networks, has several technical positions open: a network administrator ; a systems engineer; and a data center sales engineer. To apply, send resume and cover letter to the hiring manager.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has a variety of open positions, including a library collections coordinator to manage the acquisition of all library and some archival resources; handle the paperwork for all donations to the library and archives; and manage the inventory and physical space for all library collections. For more information about any of the open positions, contact human resources.
The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization is looking for a Gordon Square Farmers Market  manager for the 2015 season to oversee all aspects of market operations during the season as well as pre and post-season administrative duties. See the full details here. To apply, send cover letter and resume to John Hausman, director of community involvement.

jumpstart launches program to help scale-up companies take it to the next level

When JumpStart was created in 2003, it was formed to launch startups and give them the resources they need to get off the ground and generate new jobs. Twelve years later, as Northeast Ohio civic, business and philanthropic leaders look at the region’s economic development needs, JumpStart is seeking to help another type of small business: the "scale-up," or small businesses that have stalled yet have opportunities for growth.

“Scale-ups are companies that have been in business for at least three years but can be 100 years old,” explains JumpStart CEO Ray Leach. “It’s a company where they are in business, they have 10 to 100 employees and typically have more than $1 million in revenue, but it’s stuck. They see the potential for growth, but they are not able to solve the problems without assistance.”

After researching scale-up programs nationwide through its partnership with President Obama’s Start Up America initiative and as an outcome of the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy, JumpStart is now launching a Scaleup Pilot program to look into ways to help struggling small businesses – in any industry.
Why is this a key industry sector? These are the companies that have the most potential for job creation, Leach stresses, but fall in the gap of being too big for startup funding and too small to scale the company up on their own.
While JumpStart has traditionally assisted tech-based start-ups, scale-ups play a critical role in the region’s economic future. Most reports indicate that small businesses are responsible for most of the nation’s jobs created over the past 10 years.
JumpStart is the lead organization in the pilot and will partner with MAGNET’s PRISM program in working with manufacturers. The two are also working closely with TeamNEO, BioEnterprise and all of the regional chambers of commerce located across Northeast Ohio.
The six-month pilot program will involve a half-dozen companies representing a variety of industries. “There are three fundamental areas for any company to grow,” says Leach. “A disproportionate opportunity to grow; increased high quality jobs; and revenue. We want to look at how we add talent to help and give them a better understanding of how to sell -- either a current product to new markets or a new product, and give them capitalization strategies.”
Leach says JumpStart is attempting to do the same thing with scale-ups as it has with startups. The three main areas where JumpStart offers assistance are with recruiting, raising capital and improving sales. “The vision of what we’re trying to do is very ambitious. We’re going to come at this in a very unique way. At the end of the day you want the economy to grow and unlock the potential.”

grant to put cle on the tech map with 100 gigabit internet

OneCommunity and the City of Cleveland have announced their plans to install a 100 gigabit-per-second glass fiber internet pipe along the Health-Tech Corridor (HTC) in Midtown. Currently, the fastest internet in the area is 40 gigabits. 

While major research universities like CWRU and Ohio State are networked through 100 gigabit systems, the city's new high-speed internet will be the first and fastest of its kind in any major metropolitan area available for commercial use. Any office building along the network, such as the Global Center for Health Innovation and BioEnterprise, would have access to the high speed service.
The large, above-ground “nodes” will be located at Ideastream at Playhouse Square and CWRU at University Circle. The network would run between the two nodes and tributaries would run off of Euclid to serve other pockets in the HTC.
The growth of big data in today's economy means that there is demand for the movement of more information at a significantly faster pace. This is especially true for companies involved with healthcare, technology and research. The hope is that the 100 gigabit network will be a big boost to Cleveland’s economic development and will help to attract high-tech businesses to the city.
The $1.02 million project comes from a $714,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), $200,000 from the city and the remaining funds from OneCommunity. The HTC and CWRU are also partners in the project. Work is to begin on the project in early 2015, with completion scheduled for September.
“We can’t even begin to imagine the possibilities that 100 gigabit can initiate,” says Lev Gonick, CEO of OneCommunity, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing accessible high speed broadband to the region. “Harnessing the potential of this connectivity means our research and development possibilities are endless.”
The city and OneCommunity decided to apply for the EDA grant to boost Cleveland’s draw to technology companies considering moving here.
“One of the things we were noticing was places across the country were looking at bandwidth to attract companies,” explains Tracey Nichols, Cleveland economic development director. “We thought, what could we do to help us be more competitive? So we reached out to OneCommunity. We know big data is huge in the tele-tech, medical, and IT industries and we wondered how we can make Cleveland the leading edge for these trends.”
Nichols points out that even the growing film industry in Cleveland will find a 100 gigabit network to be an asset in transmitting edits, film and other large files. “No other place in the country is making a municipal network available to commercial businesses,” she says. “If they have a need for it, we can tie them in. We think it’s really going to bring a lot of attention to Cleveland, especially in medicine and IT.”
Nichols says the decision to invest in big data also shows Mayor Frank Jackson’s support for business in Cleveland. “To me it says a lot about Mayor Jackson,” she says. “As director of economic development, to walk in and say the future of medicine is big data and customized medicine and have Mayor Jackson say, ‘you’re right, let’s do it’ is really exciting to me.”

Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and former mayor of Youngstown, will be in town today to talk about the impact of the project. “We’re excited about the investment that was made in the city of Cleveland,” he says. “A 100 gigabit broadband is a significant step in Cleveland emerging as a global leader and shedding that rust belt moniker that has plagued Cleveland and other cities for so long.”

Furthermore, Williams says this project is a good example of the city’s willingness to collaborate and work together for the greater good of the businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators. The move will also help the blighted and impoverished areas that exist in the area. “This is about the ability to attract global investment,” he says. “By solidifying its position as a globally competitive city, it brings together more communities to bring down costs, lower the barriers to entry.”

Today's press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Explorys, a spinoff company out of the Cleveland Clinic that specializes in healthcare big data. Speakers include Mayor Jackson, Williams,  Gonick, John Foley, CIO of University Hospitals, and Stephen McHale, founder and CEO of Explorys.

flashstarts launches only software mentorship program of its kind

Flashstarts, which recently won an award for best small company internship at the annual Expys, is launching a new mentorship program for aspiring software developers. The interns will be a part of a Flashstarts 12-week accelerator program – assisting the startup companies with their software needs while receiving advice and coaching from mentors who are senior software developers.

“Our mentors serve different roles, depending on their areas of expertise,” explains Flashstarts CEO and founder Charles Stack. “A lot of software developer interns haven’t had experience working in groups. We thought we’d expand that experience.”
Flashstarts hired 20 interns from multiple disciplines for the summer of 2013. The interns worked for 10 startup teams that participated in Flashstarts’ first accelerator class and provided each team with software development, marketing, graphic design and business management services.
The organization is one of only a few startup accelerators in the country to hire interns as support staff for their startups. There are still two software developer internships open for this summer’s group of startups.
Additionally, Flashstarts raised its follow-on funding from $1.25 million last year to $2.5 million this year. “This will give us much more follow-on funding,” explains Stack. “Teams can get up to a half-million in funding upon graduation.”
The accelerator teams trade eight percent equity for a $25,000 investment, office space and access to coaching and services. The summer 2014 program begins May 27.

who's hiring in cle: ganeden biotech, youth opportunities unlimited, opusone...

Welcome to the latest edition of Who’s Hiring in Cleveland?
There are plenty of good jobs to be found here in Cleveland. This is the latest installment in a new regular series of posts in which we feature companies that are hiring, what those employers are looking for, and how to apply.
Global Cleveland and NEOSA will host a virtual IT job fair during NEOSA Tech Week, April 11-18. New this year, job seekers and employers will receive a list of potential candidates and companies that match the job requirements. Top IT talent can sign up here. Employers looking for talent can register here.
Ganeden Biotech, a leader in probiotic research and product development, needs two business development account managers to identify and service new partners.
In addition to hiring youths for its summer employment program, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) has multiple positions open, from administrative team leaders to a database and file captain and a field supervisor. Read about all the open jobs here.
OpusOne Staffing is actively recruiting talented IT professionals, ranging from entry level to senior level. Interested candidates should send resumes to Melissa.
The Cleveland Foundation needs a program officer to review and research grant proposals and community issues, meet with prospective grantees and prepare evaluations and recommendations for funding. To apply, send resume and salary requirements to the hiring manager.

New Directions, a recovery center for teens and their families, needs an experienced planned giving officer to secure major gifts from donors through estate planning and other gifts. The qualified candidate must be a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Have hiring news you’d like to share? Email Karin at Fresh Water Cleveland and send us this information or career links!

regulatory binder eliminates the mountains of paperwork from clinical trials

Researchers and hospitals literally can accumulate rooms full of paperwork documenting a single clinical trial. Rick Arlow offers a better method of document management without all that paper. RegulatoryBinder is an early stage software company focused on document management for medical clinic trials.
Arlow, who was earning a dual M.D. and Ph.D. a year ago, observed how much paper was wasted in clinical trials, came up with the idea to go paperless. So he quit his studies, formed RegulatoryBinder and joined accelerator FlashStarts in PlayhouseSquare.
“I have a tool that allows hospitals to store clinical trial data electronically,” explains Arlow. “Up until now, researchers would store paper in three-ring binders. There were literally rooms of paper.”
RegulatoryBinder’s Enterprise Document Management software provides up to a 33 percent increase in documentation productivity while standardizing the documentation system and saving researchers money. The biggest challenge Arlow encountered in developing a system of electronic records for clinical trials was efficiency and adoption.
“The large issue is, how do you do this in an efficient manner and still be compliant,” explains Arlow. “We had to find a way to provide the software, training and services and get people to adopt it.”
RegulatoryBinder is being used in pilot programs at University Hospitals and a number of other sites. Arlow says that so far people have been quick to adopt the technology.
RegulatoryBinder was one of six Northeast Ohio start-up companies to receive $25,000 from Lorain County Community College Foundation’s Innovation Fund. Arlow also recently received follow-on funding from FlashStarts. He plans to use the money to hire staff in customer support, marketing and sales, and to promote RegulatoryBinder to more markets. Arlow hired his first employee this month and plans to hire another before the end of the year. He anticipates two more hires in 2014.

Source: Rick Arlow
Writer: Karin Connelly

bold guidance app removes stress from college application process

After working as an admissions counselor and running college-prep consulting firm Community Strategies Consulting, Nichelle McCall witnessed first-hand the confusion, stress and disorganization hopeful students go through when applying for colleges.
So McCall decided to make the process a little less stressful. She developed BOLD Guidance, a mobile app for students, parents and college counselors that streamlines the application process.
“It’s a step-by-step guide with checklists, reminders and task lists,” explains McCall. “We help kids get into college by helping them through the application process on their cell phones.” The information and lists are specific to the individual schools students are applying for. The app is free for students, while counselors and parents pay to view and track progress.
McCall started BOLD Guidance a year ago and launched across 12 schools in September. She entered the summer 2013 FlashStarts accelerator, which gave the company exactly the boost it needed. “The accelerator program was very helpful for us,” McCall says. “They gave us office space, helped us with branding and marketing and developing software. They gave us funding and are continuing to help us throughout the next year.”
The BOLD Guidance app has been well-received. McCall came in third place and took home $5,000 at the COSE Pitch Competition in October. Also in October, McCall won first place for Best Mobile App in DigitalUndivided Focus 100 Tech Conference in New York.
Additionally, BOLD Guidance is a finalist in the Mobile Future's Mobileys, a competition for entrepreneurs who make a difference through mobile innovation. McCall is hoping to win the People’s Choice award.
In 2014, McCall plans to add a social responsibility component to her business. “We plan to allow parents to make individual purchases of BOLD Guidance with the option to pay an additional 50 percent, which BOLD Guidance will match for a first-generation college student to also receive the software,” she says.
BOLD Guidance continues to operate out of the FlashStarts space in PlayhouseSquare. McCall has one employee, a developer, one contract developer and is currently looking for a sales rep.

Source: Nichelle McCall
Writer: Karin Connelly

numerous cle organizations recognized for their economic development efforts

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) recently awarded its Excellence in Economic Development Awards to organizations involved in three ongoing efforts to improve Cleveland.
The city of Cleveland was recognized for its collaborative effort in developing the Flats East Bank. The Jumpstart Entrepreneurial Network received two silver awards for its work in leveraging resources for area entrepreneurs. RTA, the city of Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) and the Northeast Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) earned a bronze award for the expansion of free trolley service around downtown.
The Flats redevelopment effort, led by the city, Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties, is revitalizing a blighted, once-thriving entertainment district into a mixed-use neighborhood featuring apartments, restaurants, shopping and other entertainment. In their comments, the IEDC judges said, “Big project with incredible collaboration and complex funding…. It will be interesting to see its impact when completed.”
JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network received two silver awards -- for entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development -- in its support of entrepreneurs and collaboration with other organizations to ensure the businesses' success.
“I think it’s a testament to JumpStart and its partners,” says Samantha Fryberger, JumpStart’s vice president of marketing. “JumpStart, seed funds, incubators and mentoring groups all work together to ensure a company has success. That’s most unique to Northeast Ohio.”
RTA, DCA, NOACA and Cleveland received a bronze award for expanding three free trolley lines: The E Line along Euclid Avenue from the Warehouse District to E. 20th Street and Prospect Avenue; The C Line, which connects the Horseshoe Casino, PlayhouseSquare, the Rock Hall, FirstEnergy Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center; and the NineTwelve Line, which runs along East 9th Street.
“It helps connect the activities downtown,” says Joe Marinucci, DCA CFO and president. “It’s been a great collaborative effort that has visitor benefits but also strong business benefits.”
The winners were recognized earlier this month at IEDC’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

Sources: Samantha Fryberger, Joe Marinucci
Writer: Karin Connelly

bad girl ventures readies launch of fall business plan competition

Micro-lending organization Bad Girl Ventures (BGV) wants Cleveland to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners. That hopefully beautiful friendship will begin on Thursday, October 3, when BGV Cleveland hosts its kickoff event introducing the 10 finalists of its fall business plan competition.

The 10 women will present themselves at Battery Park Wine Bar, pitching their ideas to an audience before embarking on BGV's nine-week course to help tweak their fledgling enterprises. The final class will be in mid-November, with the winner of BGV's $25,000 low-interest loan announced during a "graduation ceremony" the following month.

Financing and mentorship are just two of the benefits for program participants, says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland.

"Networking is a huge motivating factor for them," she says. "These women are not just sitting in a stuffy classroom, but extending their professional network."

This autumn's class represents a wide range of industries and specialty areas. There's a children's party bus, granola bar company, match-making business, and more.

BGV Cleveland offers business education courses and financing twice per year to help women-owned startups launch, manage and market their businesses. In May, custom cake baker Sugar Plum Cake Company earned the business group's $25,000 loan. Two other ventures -- Journey Art Gallery  and The Agrarian Collective  -- each received $5,000 loans from a private giving circle. 

"We're exposing these businesses to as many resources as possible," says Barabas. "There's a huge value in that."

SOURCE: Reka Barabas
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

crowdentials takes the legwork out of equity crowdfunding compliance

As an entrepreneurship/business management senior at Ohio University, and the president of the school’s Entrepreneurship Club, Richard Rodman has started two successful companies during his studies. Most recently, he noticed the need for some guidance in the crowdfunding trend.

So Rodman first started 530Funds in November 2012, a search engine and news site for the crowdfunding industry. “It was really hard to sift through Google to find the right platform,” he says.

But Rodman quickly realized the real need was in helping users navigate the forthcoming SEC regulations on equity crowdfunding and make sure they are compliant while raising money for their cause. Individuals, investors and crowdfunding platforms must comply with these regulations.
That’s when Rodman came up with Crowdentials. “Crowdentials is regulatory software for the rules SEC has created,” he explains. “It’s a simple web form -- kind of like TurboTax -- where you can cross-reference to see if you comply.”
Crowdentials helps take the legwork out of fundraising. Through the site and one form, investors, businesses and crowdfunding platforms ensure they are in compliance while raising money or investing in a new company. “We take care of compliance; you take care of business,” says Rodman says. “Businesses shouldn’t have to waste their time researching all the regulations.”
Crowdentials was accepted into the inaugural FlashStarts program, run by Charles Stack and Jennifer Neundorfer, this summer. Rodman says there was an “instant connection” in the interview process. “I think it’s going to do a lot,” he says of the program, adding that he enjoys working with the mentors and interns on hand and bouncing ideas off the other entrepreneurial teams.
Rodman has two partners.

Source: Richard Rodman
Writer: Karin Connelly
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