The Cuyahoga River will be alive this week with a bevy of #Cuyahoga50 celebrations, but that’s not the only thing rolling on the river. Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 19, JumpStart will host its fifth annual Startup Scaleup event in the Flats East Bank—with more than 150 speakers and 1,500 entrepreneurs attending from all over Northeast Ohio.
“The event has grown both in size and number of attendees, sessions, and speakers every year,” says Nick Worner, senior content marketing manager for JumpStart. “It started a half-day event and quickly became a full-day event.”
To that end, Startup Scaleup is making a leap from its long-time location of Gordon Square to the Flats this year to accommodate the bigger crowds. New elements will include a panel curated entirely by attendees' votes, an entrepreneur resource fair, and pre-event workshops (including free yoga taught by GrooveRyde’s Anjua Maximo and Flow Yoga Studio’s Adam Tilocco). There will also be a track devoted specifically to highlighting and supporting LatinX entrepreneurs.
Following four months of prep and planning, the array of workshops and networking sessions will take place across various Flats venues, such as the Aloft Hotel, Beerhead, Dante’s Inferno, Alley Cat, and more—which Worner says is by design to evoke a “South by Southwest” feel.
“Part of the DNA of Startup Scaleup is making it festival-style—the idea of being able to move around and experience different things,” says Worner. “People interact in sessions and out on the street. It’s about the space you create. We curate [the event and speakers] enough to give value, but loose enough for people to move around and strike a balance.”
Worner says he believes one of the highlights of the day will be JumpStart CEO Ray Leach’s “What’s Next After Dead Last?” opening session, designed to address some of the concerns Jon Pinney raised in a high-profile speech last year at the City Club.
“For anyone who pays attention to economic conditions in Cleveland and wants to follow that conversation, I would encourage them to get there early,” says Worner, referring to the talk’s 8:30-9:30 a.m. time slot.
Though Worner says that people often assume Startup Scaleup is geared at tech entrepreneurs, he stresses that all entrepreneurially-minded folks are welcome. “If you’re a small business owner in this community, you’re an entrepreneur,” says Worner. “This event is meant to expand that definition and let people know that there is something there for them.”