Semifinalists announced in fifth season of Cleveland Chain Reaction

Greater Cleveland Partnership’s (GCP) Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) today announced the 22 businesses that will advance to the semifinals of Cleveland Chain Reaction, a neighborhood economic development project and pitch competition.

The 22 local businesses were named this morning, Monday, Oct. 24, on Fox 8 News in the Morning’s “Kickin’ it With Kenny” with Kenny Compton.

The semifinalists are: The 22 semifinalists were chosen from 76 applicants. Ultimately, three winners will be selected, and the entrepreneurs may use the capital any way they choose to advance their business. The first-place winner will receive $40,000, the second-place winner will receive $20,000, and the third-place winner will receive $10,000.

 The judges include Cleveland Chain Reaction partners and supporters from JumpStart, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, GCP, and KeyBank, along with partners in the Cleveland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,

Over the next four weeks, the semifinalists will participate in a bootcamp hosted by JumpStart, where business experts and mentors will help the businesses prepare for pitch competition in on Thursday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 9.

“JumpStart is thrilled to partner, once again, with COSE and Fox 8 on this new round of Cleveland Chain Reaction,” says Lorne Novick, JumpStart’s Chief Services Officer. “Since its inception, the program has helped to accelerate the growth of dozens of Cleveland-based entrepreneurs, adding to the vitality of our neighborhoods and small business community. We’re excited to start working with the next cohort of business owners, providing high impact advising so they can scale their companies and deliver prize-winning pitches.”

Megan E. Kim, executive director of COSE and senior vice president, membership development and marketing at GCP, says there was the applicant pool was strong for the fifth season of Chain Reaction.

“These businesses represent a variety of industries with products and services ranging from food and hard goods to audio production, floristry, wellness, lifestyle and more,” she says. “Each company was selected for its potential growth and impact on jobs and investment in the city of Cleveland.”

Cleveland Chain Reaction connects entrepreneurs to capital and mentors and places new businesses in Cleveland neighborhoods to create jobs and prosperity. Since its inception in 2017 (the competition was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic), Cleveland Chain Reaction has received more than 476 applications, coached and prepared 88 small business semi-finalists, connected winning businesses to nearly $1.7 million in capital and provided 380 hours of technical assistance.

Cleveland Chain Reaction was inspired by Cleveland Hustles, the reality series produced by LeBron James that aired on CNBC in 2016. Cleveland Chain Reaction is an independent and unrelated effort that supports the continued opportunity that Cleveland Hustles initiated.

The inaugural season of Cleveland Chain Reaction took place in 2017 in Slavic Village. Old Brooklyn hosted the 2018 edition, and Collinwood was the 2019 host neighborhood.

In 2021, participants could select any city of Cleveland neighborhood to open their businesses based on their specific real estate needs, industry and target market. Competitors can choose their neighborhood in the 2022 competition as well.

Cleveland Chain Reaction is produced by GCP and COSE in collaboration with FOX 8 News in the Morning’s “Kickin’ it with Kenny.” FreshWater Cleveland is the competition’s digital publication partner. Cleveland Chain Reaction is sponsored by MAGNETBedrockKeyBank, and JumpStart. Click here for more information on Chain Reaction.