Entrepreneurs + Innovators

Sam McNulty and  Andy TveekremBob PerkoskiSam McNulty and Andy Tveekrem

American author Napoleon Hill said that, "Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes." True, but good ideas aren't just one-man money-makers -- they can serve as triggers for the kind of economic development that turns around entire blocks, neighborhoods, even cities and regions. In Cleveland, good ideas lead to an ever-growing array of new businesses filling needs across a wide spectrum. From food trucks to got-to-have-it smartphone apps, small start-ups are the lifeblood of a progressive economy. 

Smoking hot: Proof Barbecue’s resilient journey to Ohio City
Despite earning praise and a strong following, Proof Barbeque had to overcome bad timing with the COVID-19 pandemic and an inconvenient location before finding the perfect home and atmosphere in Ohio City. Four years after it first opened, then closed, Proof owner Dave Ferrante relaunched last month.
SCORE Cleveland needs seasoned business professional to help drive local small business success
April is National Volunteer Month, and SCORE Cleveland needs additional volunteers to help entrepreneurs and startups in Northeast Ohio realize their lifelong dreams of starting and owning a successful small business.
From darkness to light: Photographer Jason Toth uses art as a therapeutic comeback
Jason Toth's 2022 photo of a willow tree at Edgewater Beach sparked a transformative journey as he dealt with his POTS diagnosis. Two years later the former marketing exec has a booming career in Photographic Pop Art with J Toth Art in City Goods, and currently has an exhibit at Kaiser Gallery in Hingetown.
Another world: Local creator releases Myrwoods D&D campaign setting book
With a degree in games and simulation from the Emerging Technology and Business Design department at Miami University, Cleveland Heights resident, game designer, and Dungeons & Dragons pro Deckard Manne is releasing his Myrwoods D&D campaign book on Kickstarter next week—suited for gamers at all levels or people who enjoy delving into mythical fantasy worlds.
Citizens making change: A look at the 2024 Accelerate winners
Lakewood City Schools teacher Laura Balliett's pitch for The Cool School Comics won the grand prize at the 10th annual Accelerate: Citizens Make Change competition last Thursday, Feb. 22. Twenty-six entrepreneurs presented their business concepts. Read about the winners and their pitches here.
Helping hands: EDWINS founder travels the world feeding refugees
EDWINS founder Brandon Chrostowski is on a seemingly endless mission to feed and help people around to who are in need—from the homeless in Cleveland to Ukrainian and Israeli refugees. Earlier this month he traveled to Djibouti, Africa to cook for people living in a refugee camp in Ali Addeh.
Community ties: Local makers anchor Meijer Fairfax Market
Business is booming for three local entrepreneurs at the new Meijer Fairfax Market. Read the stories of Desira Sallee of D’s Sweet Treats & More, Andrea Catlin of Catlin Naturals, and Charlotte Peachie Tufts of O Taste & C as they find retail success.
Rust Belt Fibershed Symposium: Weaving sustainability into textiles
Rust Belt Fibershed will convene textile artists, farmers, and community members at 78th Street Studios this weekend for its first annual Rust Belt Fibershed Symposium to discuss the potential of a place-based, soil-to-soil textile system.
Lighting the way: Nature Center’s annual Luminary Walk celebrates Winter Solstice
Come celebrate the upcoming Winter Solstice this Friday at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes' Luminary Walk & Holiday Market. Enjoy the luminaries on the All Peoples' Trail, then warm up with hot mulled Syrah or blackberry merlot hot chocolate from Cleveland Urban Winery, and shop with local vendors and artists for your holiday shopping needs.
Adele Malley: A lifetime of chocolate mastery and business wisdom
Adele Malley shares her business and life knowledge in her new book "Conversations with Adele." The former Malley's CEO explores her journey from her early days in her family's meat provision company to successfully growing the Malley's brand into a household name.
Eternal fire: Ohio City’s Glass Bubble Project’s furnace has been burning for 25 Years
FreshWater contributor Katie McMenamin recently dropped by the Glass Bubble Project in Ohio City, where she got a lesson in the history of glassblowing, got to assist owner Mike Kaplan in creating a design, and learned what keeps Kaplan going after 25 years of blowing glass, teaching others the art, and sharing his passions.
Marking a century: Inventor Garrett Morgan honored this week on 100 years of the traffic signal
This week marks the 100th anniversary of Clevelander Garrett Morgan's 1923 invention of the traffic signal—calming the growing automobile traffic and curbing collisions with pedestrians. The Willoughby Historical Society and Garrett's descendants have several events planned.
COSE names 19 Semifinalists in Cleveland Chain Reaction competition
Greater Cleveland Partnership’s COSE this morning announced the 19 businesses that will advance to the semifinals in season six of Cleveland Chain Reaction. They will now go to JumpStart's bootcamp to prepare their pitches to the judges in December.
Beyond football: The Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry has a history going beyond the NFL
Beyond the Browns and Steelers NFL rivalry and the Cleveland-Cliffs recent bid to acquire Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, the two cities have business and franchise rivalries dating back to the 1800s. FreshWater contributing editor Grant Segall shares the colorful history.
Thrive: FutureLAND founder finds inspiration in his father’s grit and drive
The entrepreneurial spirit, curiosity, and determination Kumar Arora learned from his father has led to a successful business career and the cofounding of the upcoming FutureLAND—a celebration of diversity in tech and entrepreneurship in Playhouse Square to help drive economic growth in the area.
Chain Reaction: Applications open for sixth season of small business pitch competition
Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Council of Smaller Enterprises announced that applications are now open for the sixth season of Cleveland Chain Reaction—the small business pitch competition.
Creating a buzz: Entrepreneur uses coffee, local celebrities to help end hunger in CLE
Westlake native Aaron Fazulak recently started All Cleveland Coffee, with $1 of every bag sold online and at Heinen's going to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. And he got the support of former Browns player Joe Thomas and UFC champ Stipe Miocic.
Q&A: Effie Tsengas Nunes, interim executive director of the Cleveland Arts Prize
Effie Tsengas Nunes was appointed interim executive director of the Cleveland Arts Prize, the organization that awards scholarships and $50,000 in prize money each year to leading artists. Learn about her thoughts and plans for the arts in Cleveland.
Service with a smile: Four generations have kept Gallucci’s Italian Foods going strong
Since 1912 and through four generations, Gallucci's Italian Foods & Market has served customers from all backgrounds and ethnicities with founder Gust Gallucci's original mantra: Sell the best product at the best possible price and provide good service with a smile and a 'thank you.'
Legacy of generosity: Philanthropy is a family affair for Cleveland business leader
For Ken Taylor, president of Ohio Machinery Co., the company's philanthropic tradition, which goes back three generations, is the key to the success of both the business and the community. His philosophy earned him Malden Mills Corporate Kindness Award from the Values-in-Action Foundation.