Cleveland, Great Lakes of Opportunity!

Wearing a blue shirt was a hidden requirement of the trip.

On November 8th, I had the pleasure of attending the C&L innovation bus trip into Cleveland where I and my peers had the privilege of hearing from two startups and an organization called Jumpstart, a nonprofit that serves as one of the biggest funders of startups in the region. We learned that in addition to funding, Jumpstart also mentors and offers other forms of support to helps start-ups succeed. Formed as part of John Kasich’s innovative private sector approach to economic development called JobsOhio, Jumpstart is a non-profit organization of experts that help encourage fast-paced growth in business and technology. Jumpstart has served as the epicenter of start-up capital and resources in Northeastern Ohio. Jumpstart works in concert with a number of different organizations to form a variety of funds to help startups and small businesses at different stages. The greater aim of Jumpstarts efforts is to transform the Cleveland area and encourage a sustainable startup ecosystem throughout Ohio.

Of the number of funds that Jumpstart has to offer, one that captured my attention or that I see myself applying to would be the Focus Fund. The Focus Fund is a 10 million dollar fund that supports female and minority-owned startups by providing capital in the seeding phase, an aspect of founding a business that minorities often have difficulty in overcoming. As an aspiring entrepreneur, seed money from my family and friends is not really an option for startup capital, making a fund like this all the more inspiring. This is an opportunity that was highlighted that not only looks to catalyze growth in Ohio but catalyze growth in a way that advance opportunity for all people looking to start a business.

Currently, the Jumpstart initiatives have lead to a contagious excitement in the Cleveland area and the successful launch of over 400 businesses! If you have an idea and are ready to take the next step in bringing your idea to life, there are great lakes of opportunity in Cleveland to being your journey, and Jumpstart is here to help along the way!


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