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Global Cleveland : Innovation + Job News

6 Global Cleveland Articles | Page:

New strategic alliance aims to build on CLE's immigrant culture in high-tech world

Startup accelerator Flashstarts has partnered with Global Cleveland in an effort to add international flair to Cleveland's entrepreneurial scene.
 
The new strategic alliance combines Flashstarts' expertise in startup and innovation with Global Cleveland's talent attraction endeavors. Officials backing the new venture also expect to deliver solutions for international entrepreneurs struggling with their immigration status.
 
"Global Cleveland is spreading the word about the city, while we're recruiting the best entrepreneurs we can find," says Charles Stack, CEO of Flashstarts, a technology/software accelerator and venture fund. "This program will allow us to draw talent from anywhere in the world”
 
The partnership also acts as a stepping stone for formation of a Flashstarts Global Entrepreneur-In-Residence (GEIR) program with Northeast Ohio universities, says Stack. Immigrant founders who apply to the program through Flashstarts will be chosen through a competitive selection process. Successful applicants then link up with a partner university in exchange for a cap-exempt H-1B visa, splitting work between the school and their startup.
 
"We'll offer them a spot in our accelerator program and give them $50,000 in exchange for equity," Stack says. "At a university they could be supporting an entrepreneur program, or recruiting students to the school from their home country."
 
Uncertainly over the Trump administration's immigration policy makes the partnership with Flashstarts a necessity, notes Jessica Whale, Global Cleveland's director of global talent and development.
 
"Getting proper visa status can be challenging," Whale said in a press release. "This program aligns perfectly with our vision of transforming Cleveland into an international hub of innovation.”
 
Proponents believe the collaboration can grow the region's job base and build wealth. Stack says the newly minted affiliation is especially unique due to Global Cleveland's robust links to immigrant brainpower.
 
"They have ties to countries and marketing opportunities all over the world," he says. "That's going to make what we're doing stand out."
 
Pending strong outcomes, the partners aim to expand their effort to universities throughout the region. Even one successful startup can create hundreds of jobs, a numbers game that heavily relies on the attraction of new talent.
 
"If we want to grow our employment base as a region, the way to do it is with startups," says Stack.

"Cleveland has always been a great city for immigrants. We want to continue that trend." 

$8 million fund aims to build inclusion, community wealth with small biz loans

Access to funding is often a barrier blocking the development of minority-owned businesses – but now a collaboration of regional organizations is attempting to tear down that obstacle.
 
With a focus on bringing capital to African-American and other underserved business owners, the National Urban League’s Urban Empowerment Fund (NUL-UEF), Morgan Stanley, National Development Council (NDC) Urban League of Greater Cleveland (ULGC), and Cuyahoga County have teamed up to offer the Capital Access Fund of Greater Cleveland (CAF).
 
The $8 million fund was created with a long-term goal of sustaining minority-run small businesses that provide jobs for residents, says Marsha Mockabee, president and CEO of the Cleveland Urban League.
 
A three-year program, CAF offers entrepreneurs low-interest loans from $10,000 to $2 million. Funds are tabbed for the acquisition of equipment, space or inventory. Borrowers are charged no higher than 5 percent interest, but must participate in pre- and post-loan counseling that provides them with support throughout the growth process.
 
"We're not just loaning people money and saying, 'good luck,' we're staying with them as a finance partner," says Mockabee.
 
Launched in December with the target of creating 300 jobs over its lifespan, CAF has already completed eight loans totaling $1.4 million. Among the recipients are a child-care business, a staffing firm and a pop-up shop that makes greeting cards and political-themed jewelry.
 
CAF assets derive from two sources - the Community Impact Loan Fund and the county-supported Grow Cuyahoga Fund. Dollars are given to existing businesses with a track record of sales, and officials hope to distribute 50 loans before the program concludes.
 
"Our goal is to run out of money before the three years are up," Mockabee says. "It's a very aggressive plan."
 
CAF is also an attractive option for minority entrepreneurs still searching for financial stability in a post-recession environment, she says. As small business creation is a priority of Cuyahoga County leadership, the loan program gives companies a boost both through capital and the support services necessary to build community wealth.
 
"Raising the profile and success level of minority businesses can fuel the pipeline of economic development in these communities," says Mockabee. "We're proud of all of our partners willing to invest in this program."  

Those interested in applying for a CAF grant may contact Angela Butler, senior vice president, National Development Corporation, 216-303-7173, AButler@ndconline.org.
 

Public language immersion school set for August opening

A bilingual dream five years in the making is about to become reality for Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) founding director Meran Rogers.
 
Rogers's new foreign language immersion school will open its doors on August 3, welcoming approximately 100 kindergarten and first-grade students to the former St. Vincent de Paul parish at 13400 Lorain Avenue. For its first iteration, the school will occupy only the ground and first floors of the 30,000-square-foot facility. Administrators expect classes to expand to the building's second floor in coming years as GALA adds additional grade levels, up to eighth grade.
 
Fresh Water first reported on plans for the tuition-free, public charter school in October 2014. The effort has come a long way since then: The school has been hosting monthly open houses since February to show off its new digs and champion an educational model based around Spanish and Mandarin programming. This month's open house events are scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 5 p.m., and Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m.
 
"We'll have a tour of the school and a Q & A afterwards," says Rogers. "Tours are usually a big hit. It's a matter of getting the word out and getting families to come."

Meanwhile, professional development sessions for GALA's dozen teachers begins in July.
 
As a public charter school, GALA will adhere to learning standards set forth by the Ohio Department of Education. Seventy percent of instruction each day will be provided in Mandarin or Spanish; the remaining 30 percent will be taught in English, notes Rogers. In addition, GALA will offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) program that allows participants to plan out their own projects.
 
On its first day, GALA will stand as Northeast Ohio's first foreign language immersion school as well as the only Mandarin immersion school in state. Most schools with similar teaching models are private or serve higher-income communities, says Rogers. GALA is open to all, no matter their socioeconomic background.
 
Rogers, who previously taught at a Taiwanese immersion school and is former director of community affairs for Global Cleveland, says her experience growing up with multilingual parents in a low-income household inspired GALA's creation.
 
"I was labeled as a special education student, and didn't learn how to read or write until the second grade," says Rogers. "I could have been bilingual but never had the environment to maintain that."
 
Rogers is thrilled to bring an absorbing educational experience to other children, an effort involving supportive teachers, parents and board members. Then there are donors which include the Albert B. and Audrey G. Ratner Family Foundation, Bernie Moreno CompaniesEaton CorporationRPM International Inc. and Margaret Wong & Associates.
 
Though Rogers doesn't expect to be dancing in the halls come August, she is excited about the new school's intricately planned journey.
 
"People are saying how great this, and asking me how I feel," Rogers says. "I just feel good. There is a lot more work to get done and I can't celebrate just yet."

2016 Vibrant City Award winners announced

Earlier this week Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) honored the 2016 Vibrant City Award winners amid 600 guests gathered at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. The winners were chosen from a field of 21 finalists.
 
CNP president Joel Ratner honored Cleveland Metroparks with the first-ever Vibrant City Impact Award. The community partner was recognized for its role in managing the city’s lakefront parks, rejuvenating Rivergate Park and bringing back a water taxi service.
 
Ratner also bestowed the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award upon Joe Cimperman.
 
"Joe is a true champion of the city of Cleveland and Cleveland’s neighborhoods," said Ratner. "He truly is a visionary for making Cleveland a fair and equitable place to call home for all city residents."
 
Cimperman recently left Cleveland City Council after 19 years and is now the President of Global Cleveland.
 
The seven other Vibrant City Award winners include:
 
CDC Community Collaboration Award: Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office
 
La Placita – A Hispanic-themed open-air market providing business development opportunities to entrepreneurs and access to local goods and fresh foods for residents.
 
CDC Placemaking Award: University Circle Inc.
 
Wade Oval improvements - the main greenspace in the University Circle neighborhood received a musical themed amenity boost and became an even more attractive and comforting destination for residents and visitors.
 
CDC Economic Opportunity Award: Famicos Foundation
 
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management – This organization has excelled in focusing on the financial well being of its residents and had a record-breaking year with its EITC work. 
 
CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award: St. Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc.
 
Night Market Cleveland  -  the two CDCs partnered and capitalized on past successes and momentum in the AsiaTown and Superior Arts District neighborhoods to create a new destination event that brought exposure to the neighborhood and appreciation for the diverse cultures that surround the area.
 
Corporate Partner Award: Dave’s Supermarkets
 
The local grocery chain stayed committed to Cleveland and provides a much-needed amenity to city residents, providing access to fresh food and produce and on-going constant community support.
 
Urban Developer Award: Case Development, Mike DeCesare 
 
A residential developer that has successfully completed development projects in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and is actively pursuing new developments in other city neighborhoods
 
Civic Champion Award: Joseph Black, Central neighborhood
 
The Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland that possesses a passion to serve at-risk communities and has aided and mentored Cleveland’s children and families for years.

All eyes on the future of city's digital economy at TechniCLE Speaking summit

An upcoming tech summit hosted by Jones Day is the continuation of a critical discussion about Northeast Ohio's economic future, event creators say.
 
Returning for a second consecutive year, TechniCLE Speaking will put tech entrepreneurs, educators, government officials, private investors and nonprofit thought leaders all in one room to discuss the major issues facing a burgeoning industry.
 
"It's important to be supportive of this growing community," says Jennifer Stapleton, an associate with Jones Day, a Cleveland law firm that works with tech companies, entrepreneurs and venture-backed companies. "This (event) lets us network and understand where there are resource gaps."
 
The half-day program, scheduled for April 14, offers short talks, moderated panels and public debates on subjects such as bolstering local technology education and meeting the lifestyle demands of digitally-savvy young professionals. Featured speakers include Phenom CEO Brian Verne, whose recent op-ed piece in Venture Beat decried Cleveland's risk-averse venture capital market.
 
Though Verne moved his company to San Francisco, providing a forum for Cleveland-based start-ups is a step in empowering smart young entrepreneurs who can lift the region to global relevance, says Stapleton.
 
"There can be a lack of knowledge about what the city can do to help these companies," she says. "Nothing but good can come from putting thought leaders and county officials together to generate new ideas on how to make (entrepreneurs) more successful."
 
TechniCLE Speaking is sponsored by Cleveland City Council, with Councilman Joe Cimperman acting a member of the planning committee. Last spring's summit drew about 170 attendees, a figure program officials expect to exceed this year.
 
Panels will focus on nurturing Cleveland's start-up nucleus over the long-term. For example, a discussion on growing the local talent pool will speak to aligning curriculum standards with tech industry best practices. Meanwhile, a talk featuring Blue Bridge Networks managing director Kevin Goodman and other entrepreneurs will dissect Cleveland's vision of an innovative city full of cutting-edge talent.
 
The area's business environment is not known for flexibility or an appetite for risk, an approach that must evolve if Cleveland wants to compete worldwide, says Stapleton. For now, however, spending a day with a group of enterprising young go-getters shows the city has their back.
 
"That's the goal of this summit," Stapleton says. "To explore opportunities and continue to help ourselves." 

TechniCLE speaking is free, but registration is required. To register or for more information, please email Grace Brennan.
 

global cleveland's asian initiative designed to attract, retain asians

Global Cleveland recently launched its Asian Initiative, a program to attract and retain Asian talent to the region. “Asians are now the fastest growing and most educated population in the U.S.,” says Meran Rogers, Global Cleveland’s director of community affairs, adding that Cleveland has seen a 49-percent increase in Asians between 2000 and 2010.

Those numbers prompted Global Cleveland to reach out to various groups in the Asian community to identify focus areas of the initiative. The group hosted 30 Asian community leaders in March at a launch meeting. “We identified three main strategies for the overall Global Cleveland mission,” says Rogers. “To attract and retain Asian newcomers who will support the growth and talent needs of businesses and industries; assist Asian newcomers and young professionals in establishing roots; and foster an inclusive and welcoming community for Asians.”
 
Rogers points out that while Global Cleveland is spearheading the initiative, it’s really about supporting the goals of an already-strong Asian presence in Cleveland. “It was really important to work with all of the leaders and find out what they want to do and then help them do it,” says Rogers. Global Cleveland is working closely with groups like MotivAsians for Cleveland and Asian Services in Action (Asia, Inc.) to attain these goals.
 
Part of the program includes promoting the job fairs in IT, biomedical research and healthcare, as well as educating employers on the importance of hiring international talent. “Over half the population is foreign-born, so a lot of growth has to do with immigration,” says Rogers. “We’re really promoting the job fairs to the Asian community.”
 
Rogers says they also plan to be involved in plans to better connect AsiaTown. “Cleveland is known for AsiaTown and there are plans for improvement, to find ways to connect the different areas because they are very cut up,” she says. “Retention is dependent on how connected people feel.”

 
Source: Meran Rogers
Writer: Karin Connelly
6 Global Cleveland Articles | Page:
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