More than 750 people turned out at the new home of Shaker LaunchHouse last week to welcome the business incubator and celebrate entrepreneurial business in the region.
Speakers included Senator Sherrod Brown, Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken, author and entrepreneur Ratanjit Sondhe, Benoy Joseph and Dick Pogue. Brown is the author of the Business Incubator Promotion Act and has spearheaded efforts to reduce brain drain in Ohio. Sondhe, founder of Poly-Carb in Solon, spoke about the importance of entrepreneurial communities. He mentioned that he wished LaunchHouse was around when he was starting out.
Pogue announced that the first corporate gift from the Shaker Heights Development Corporation for the economic development work at Shaker LaunchHouse is $25,000 from New York Community Bank.
Thirty-five companies exhibited in the 23,000-square-foot renovated car dealership, including LaunchHouse's 12 portfolio companies as well as area entrepreneurs educating visitors on their endeavors. Companies included everything from Wow! Cookies!, a gourmet cookie delivery company, to Sunflower Solutions, which develops and manufactures renewable energy products.
"The huge turnout for this event goes to show that this region is ready to support entrepreneurial efforts," said Todd Goldstein, co-founder of LaunchHouse. "I saw a lot of introductions take place that night so the networking alone is going to produce some real opportunities going forward."
Guests were treated to a buffet of hors d'oevres during the event, and the Umami Moto food truck was also on site. SLH plans to host regular entrepreneurial events in addition to weekly educational meetings.
Source: Todd Goldstein
Writer: Karen Connelly