Expanded Startup Scaleup returns to Gordon Square on June 28

Last year, JumpStart Inc. showcased Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial ecosystem with a half-day, festival-style event held in Cleveland's Gordon Square Arts District. Startup Scaleup returns this summer with a full day of sessions, pitch competitions, workshops and networking events.
The expanded format follows a 2015 venture that drew 1,200 guests interested in harnessing the region's array of small business-friendly resources. Organizers have added 13 program sessions from last summer's 28, with presenters including PNC Bank, Flashstarts and the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET). Marketing agency Hello LLC, meanwhile, will teach attendees how to bring life to their brands through popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
"We want to make sure entrepreneurs understand all the resources they have at their fingertips, whether it's funding, getting a mentor or building a business plan," says Amy Martin, JumpStart's head of marketing.
The June 28 event will be easier to navigate thanks to separate track programming options focusing on either start-ups or development of existing companies. The 34 agenda items include sessions such as "The War for Tech Talent," "Ice Cream Social: Small Business Finance," and "The 5 Most Efficient Ways To Connect, Communicate And Celebrate With Your Ideal Clients." JumpStart officials are expecting the day's 1,500 attendees to chart their own unique path through sessions and post-event entertainment held at 15 Gordon Square theaters, eateries and creative spaces.
The marketing piece is another new addition, as is the program's outreach to student entrepreneurs. Returning from 2015 is the "Sidewalk to Stage" pitch competition, where 100 new dream-chasers will present their ideas on Capitol Theater's main stage for a share of $15,000 in prize money.
Full-day tickets for Startup Scaleup 2016 are $20 and include a $10 lunch voucher, as well as two $5 snack vouchers redeemable at vendors throughout the arts district. Half-day tickets are also available for $10, and include two $5 snack vouchers.
Giving participants more freedom is the goal of the scaleup event's super-sized format, says Martin. Program organizers expect nascent business owners to move around and mingle with the investors who can help their companies reach the next stage of growth.
"Our job is to create an economic impact that keeps the region on par with the rest of the country," Martin says. "We're bringing all these resources to one location for one day so people can see them in action."

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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