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.