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Dayton-based ETI Tech launches expansion of F-35 fighter jet program

ETI Tech president Mark Sargent carries little nostalgia for the 5,000 square-foot "cracker box" where his small aerospace firm previously manufactured hardware and ground support equipment for a number of high-flying military defense projects. Having suppliers visit for a meeting could even get a bit embarrassing.
 
"We were practically falling over each other," says Sargent.
 
Thanks to a ramp-up of the company's F-35 fighter jet program, ETI Tech is finding itself in expansive new digs, namely a 23,500 square-foot facility in the Dayton suburb of Englewood.
 
The growth process is about 60 to 70 percent complete since a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place in June. Over the next couple of years, the defense contractor will increase volume of mechanical and electro-mechanical support parts for its F-35 project now its ninth year. Those components could include fiber optics inspection systems or fixtures to hold landing gear. ETI Tech's customers include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems and the government.
 
"We'll be gradually adding equipment and more employees," Sargent says of the projected $1 million expansion. "We're going to be introducing capability we've never had before."
 
ETI Tech has augmented its revenue from $3 million to $7 million since Sargent purchased the company from the previous owner in 2010. When full-rate production of F-35 parts begins in a year or two, the firm's owner envisions annual sales reaching $15 million.
 
"We would be ecstatic about that," says Sargent. "There's lots of pride here."

 
Source: Mark Sargent
Writer: Douglas J. Guth

Lima manufacturing center hosts national research scientists

Three research scientists from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee were welcomed to Lima by officials of the Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center (OEAMC). The visit came on the heels of an OEAMC trip to Oak Ridge earlier this year.
 
“They were very interested in some of our work,” says Judith Cowan, President of the OEAMC. Cowan was on the team that visited Oak Ridge earlier this year. “The Department of Energy was intrigued with our story and recommended that we make a trip to the DOE.”
 
Cowan and her team met with several key staff members from the Oak Ridge facility, including Dr. Craig A. Blue, Director of Energy Materials, Dr. Alan L. Liby, Deputy Director of the Energy Materials Program and Dr. William H. Peter of the Material Processing and Titanium Division.
 
The group toured several of Lima’s manufacturing plants, including the Husky Lima Refinery, the Ford Lima Engine Plant, Trinity Motor Sports’ carbon fiber lab, General Dynamics' Joint Systems Manufacturing Center and two American Trim facilities. Bio feedstocks, digital dispense printing and carbon fiber layups were among the topics of discussion.
 
All this, Cowan hopes, will lead to new developments between the two organizations. “We are in discussion with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists on the development of a relationship defined by specific technology projects,” she explains.
 
“The leaders of the ORNL were very complimentary of all the manufacturing plants they visited during their visit to Lima,” says Cowan. “Every plant we toured is involved in bringing new technologies to their facilities and to Ohio.”
 
 
Source: Judith Cowan
Writer: Joe Baur

Lakewood's Ideation Challenge will award access to key resources

Lakewood is looking for a few entrepreneurs to join its business community through its third annual Ideation Challenge. Interested parties submitted business plans for consideration through last week.

"If people qualify we invite them to give a quick elevator pitch,” says Mike Belsito, director of Ideation for Startup Lakewood and co-founder of e-Funeral.

Four finalists will give a two-minute elevator pitch in front of an audience and a panel of judges at a Startup U event on August 27. Two winners will be announced at the September Startup U event.
 
The theme of this year’s challenge is “access,” as in access to resources often out of reach to new entrepreneurs. The winners of the challenge will receive a lunch meeting with Lakewood mayor and entrepreneur Michael Summers; a half hour meeting with investor Christopher Celeste; an elevator pitch session with Belsito, SociaGram co-founder Ryan O’Donnell and DecisionDesk co-founder John Knific; a scholarship to a nine-week Bad Girl Ventures course; and other useful tools to get their businesses started.
 
While only one of the winners must be a Lakewood resident, the hope is that both winning businesses will set up shop in the city. “We hope that some of these businesses get started in Lakewood, but it’s all about helping people,” says Belsito. “The goal of the competition is to help people take the next step with their ideas for new products or businesses.”

 
Source: Mike Belsito
Writer: Karin Connelly

Merx 2013 encourages regional businesses to think globally

Members of the regional business community on both sides of the Ohio River convened at the METS Center in Erlanger, KY, last week to discuss the intricacies of conducting business overseas at the summit known as Merx 2013.

Derived from the Latin word for trade or commerce, “Merx” is hosted by the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association (NKITA). Its purpose is to encourage growth in local businesses’ ability to maintain their affairs outside of the United States. Ohio- and Kentucky-based businesses and entities supported the event.

With Cincinnati’s startup community gaining momentum in the business world, events such as Merx 2013 help to ensure that businesses old and new have the chance to not only conduct business around the globe, but also promote Cincinnati in the process. 

The event catered to two lines of thought for entrepreneurs: marketing and operations. With dual panel discussions split between two conference rooms, this approach helped professionals across the board to maximize their chances of successfully implementing their businesses in countries other than the United States.

Topics of conversation included marketing to locals, how to set up an entity abroad, getting the most from trade shows, partnerships and acquisitions, online marketing, and general security precautions to take when working in another country. Business leaders from the area’s most successful companies moderated the panels, which were open to attendees for discussion.

Chase Bank's new Cincinnati location features cutting-edge technology

Chase Bank, one of the largest in the world, has opened its newest Cincinnati branch at 219 Calhoun St., in the new U Square development on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. This new branch is the second location in southern Ohio to feature the bank’s new express banking kiosks.
 
“The U Square branch is very special to us because it’s located right here on the Bearcat campus,” says branch manager Fabian Tunson. “Research has shown us that consumers, especially of this generation, really enjoy using technology. And this branch is right for anyone interested in some of the newest technology, including the express banking kiosks.”
 
The express banking kiosks are similar to ATMs but with a touchscreen user interface that is similar to a tablet and a much wider range of functionality. Some of these additional functions include check-cashing, withdrawals in multi-denominations ($1, $5, $20 and $50 bills) up to $1000, credit card bill paying services and the option to purchase money orders.
 
The kiosks are part of Chase’s larger overall goal to introduce innovative ways to meet customers’ needs. About 400 of these kiosks exist around the country currently, and the number is expected to double by the end of the year.
 
“We are very proud to be serving customers on the UC campus and in the Cincinnati community,” says Emily Smith, Director of Media Relations for JPMorgan Chase. While Chase has nearly 300 branches and 23,000 employees in Ohio, this new branch marks the company's first bank location in Clifton.
 
“The branch will be very convenient for students, but it’s also in a great location to serve the residents and small businesses in the area,” Tunson says.


Michael Sarason

Biomotiv announces $46m raised in effort to speed medicines to market

BioMotiv, a pharmaceutical accelerator formed last year to speed early-stage medical developments to market, announced last week that the company has now raised $46 million in total capital, adding Nationwide Mutual Insurance and several individual investors to original investors University Hospitals and the Harrington Family Foundation.

Additionally, BioMotiv announced Monday that the company has formed a multi-million dollar, seven-year partnership with San Diego-based Torrey Pines Investment, a specialty life sciences investor. “We have now raised $46 million in total funding,” says BioMotiv CEO Baiju Shah. “This further investment partnership will expand capital available for projects by up to $20 million through co-investment by Torrey Pines.”
 
Shah says BioMotiv has just started to identify and develop projects of interest. The partnership with Torrey Pines expands the scope of BioMotiv’s work. “We’re pleased with the prospective partnership,” says Shah. “It’s been in the works for about nine months now. In the partnership we will jointly invest in projects -- one in the cancer area and two projects in neuroscience.”
 
Shah says BioMotiv is also working on developments on several other fronts, including anti-inflammatory and blindness. “Our mission is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries in medications that actually benefit patients,” says Shah. “These are medications that are in the early stages of clinical validation -- phase one or two patient studies. Once we prove it works in patients, then we’re in a place to partner with agencies to get it to market.”
 
Cleveland is the hot spot for companies like BioMotiv, Shah says, making it attractive to companies like Torrey Pines. “Cleveland is an incredible medical innovation environment,” he says. “We are on the global radar for medical innovations, so it’s easy for us to find partners. In many ways, healthcare is our defining industry as a community.”
 
BioMotiv currently has eight employees, but Shah says they will be adding staff as the company continues to grow.

 
Source: Baiju Shah
Writer: Karin Connelly

Gay Games eyes $50m in economic impact for northeast Ohio

When the Gay Games come to northeast Ohio next August, 30,000 athletes and spectators are expected to descend upon the region, visiting the city’s attractions, patronizing area hotels and restaurants and using other services.
 
Organizers are making sure small businesses know the impact the games could have on them, as well as how they can get their names out there. A local staff of 10 organizers has hosted two events targeted at small business sponsorship. A third event will be held in Cleveland on Tuesday, August 27 at Stonetown Restaurant at 5:30 p.m.
 
"Gay Games 9 will have a $50 million economic impact on the region,” says Mary Zaller, director of development for the Gay Games. “I want as many small businesses as possible to get a piece of that pie.”
 
Small business sponsorships range from $500 to $14,000, making it affordable for companies of almost any size to get involved. “For just $500, a small business can be a sponsor of the Gay Games and get our logo on their website and their logo on our website, program and social media,” notes Zaller. “It gives small businesses the power to put themselves out there and show their support of the LGBT community and of equality and equal rights.”
 
Seventy-five percent of the events planned will take place in downtown Cleveland, with the remaining being held in Akron. “You don’t have to be gay, you don’t have to be good, you just have to be 18 to participate,” says Zaller. “We’re all about inclusion, participation and your personal best.”
 
Cleveland is the smallest city to ever host the Gay Games, which started in 1980 and takes place every four years. Previous host cities include San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Sydney, Amsterdam and Vancouver.

 
Source: Mary Zaller
Writer: Karin Connelly

Cincy's Short Vine is long on opportunity

Cincinnati business owners in the Corryville neighborhood are eyeing big opportunities on Short Vine.

Bogart’s, the street's music venue, has already renovated its bathrooms and dressing rooms, and added a smoking patio with a fire pit behind the building. There are plans to add another bar, renovate the upstairs bar for VIPs and hire a mixologist. Bogart’s was also recently acquired by Live Nation, which has made ticketing easier for concertgoers.  
 
“We’re getting more artists than ever before. They’re thrilled by the changes made to the building and can’t wait to come back,” says Karen Foley, Bogart’s general manager.

In 2013, 14 buildings on Short Vine, including Bogart’s, will receive money from the Cincinnati Neighborhood Business District Association for façade improvements. And by the end of 2015, the street will be completely transformed, with new businesses (including Taste of Belgium, Caribe Carryout, Mio's Pizzeria and The 86 Club), a new Kroger Marketplace, new developments and finished streetscapes.

In the next three years, Uptown Rental Properties will add about 1,000 new residential bedrooms on Short Vine, says Dan Schimberg of Uptown Rental. And on Sept. 24, its newest property, Views on Vine, a five-story apartment complex complete with clock tower, will open.
 
“It’s been fun to see what has already happened, but we’re only in the beginning stages of what will be created,” says Schimberg.
 
Beginning in December, Short Vine will see new streetscapes, bringing a bit of nostalgia to the area. Short Vine will look like it did in the 1800s—think cobblestone streets, rolling curbs and antique streetlamps. Changes will be made to parking as well, including efforts to preserve on-street parking, and additional parking for the public and residents. Sidewalks will also be widened for outdoor dining.
 
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm of the business owners over the progress on Short Vine,” says Foley. “The best thing is that Short Vine will now be part of the college experience at UC.”
 
Short Vine will be hosting several events during the next few months, including a Welcome Back Weekend for students on Aug. 30 and a block party on Oct. 12, which will include shutting down the whole street for outdoor music, street vending and a rock wall. Corryville held its first farmers market this summer, and it will continue to operate every third Sunday through October.
 

By Caitlin Koenig

YBI portfolio company is first futures-driven capital market for digital entrepreneurs

Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) portfolio company, OAREX (Online Advertising Revenue Exchange), has become the world’s first futures-driven capital market for digital entrepreneurs.
 
OAREX provides capital to digital business owners – smart phone app developers, website and YouTube channel owners – that have sold advertising space on their digital property. “The market is futures-driven because the amount of capital provided to them is based on their expected future advertising revenues over the course of the next three, six, nine or 12-month period,” explains owner Hanna Kassis.
 
This makes funds more readily available to people and businesses who are scared away from banks because of the risk and cost associated with raising capital. “OAREX is neither a lender nor an investor,” says Kassis, who has personally financed his company. “[We] merely pay and guarantee digital business owners their future ad revenues today by providing them with lump sum cash up front.” Interested entrepreneurs can learn more from a video presentation at the company’s website.
 
Though OAREX is now in Delaware, the company remains a portfolio company of YBI and Kassis hopes to one day return to the Steel Valley where he taught economics at his alma matter, Youngstown State University.
 
In the meantime, Kassis is happy to heap praise onto YBI, saying the incubator has played a “pivotal role” in the company’s success so far.
 
“They’ve been available as a resource for connecting OAREX with potential investors and clients, and providing tech support,” he explains. “Members of the YBI team have also helped in the development of the business model and tackling the complex issues of bringing the company to market.” Kassis continues, noting a YBI board member also serves as an advisory board member with OAREX. “The connection between the two entities is very strong and successful.”
 
 
Source: Hanna Kassis
Writer: Joe Baur

Ohio Game Developer Association to host Columbus expo in September

Aug. 31, 2013 update: The Ohio Game Developer Expo has been moved to Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ohio Union.


The Ohio Game Developer Association is hosting an expo at The Ohio Union in Columbus on Saturday, September 14. It’s the first statewide event of its kind for the growing industry.
 
Steve Castro, a 2004 DeVry Columbus graduate and co-founder of the association, is excited to discuss the upcoming expo and growing community. He started the organization after seeing California’s “close-knit” development community. “They share ideas and code,” says Castro. “I wanted to build that up in Ohio.” The association launched at the end of 2012.
 
Since then Castro has been surprised to find a number of independent developers across the state. Unfortunately they were unaware of each other. “That’s what the Ohio Game Developer Association is all about,” says Castro. “We want to connect these developers and build awareness of who’s doing this.”
 
“Who’s doing this” includes Matt Maroon of Akron-based Blue Frog Gaming and Stephan Smith of FreshGames in Columbus – two of the few brick and mortar gaming development companies in the state. The two developers will also be speaking at next month’s expo.
 
Castro, who is also the co-founder of ClickShake Games with Jay “Zeebarf” Ziebarth, describes the expo as a festival where people can gather to share ideas and he welcomes all developers of gaming technology. He is anticipating a presentation from a motion capture and 3D software company and hopes attendees will be able to test out the motion capture suit. Castro added that, with more than 40 booths on the showcase floor where gamers can "try and buy," he's confident there will be plenty of games on hand for mobile devices and laptops to test out.
 
For Castro, the ultimate goal of the event is to “excite and empower” game developers and to put Ohio on the map. “We want people to be excited about development,” he says. “And we want people to realize you can do it in Ohio.”
 
 
Source: Steve Castro
Writer: Joe Baur

Cincy ad firm vies for cash

Red212, which bills itself as a "small big brand agency," is competing for a $10,000 cash prize from Fifth Third Bank. The competition is part of Fifth Third’s new “Curious Customer” ad campaign, which highlights the stories of real business customers. The campaign features the stories of local businesses that have relied on Fifth Third to help them achieve their visions.
 
Before Red212, the firm's president and CEO Anne Chambers worked in a small production unit at Procter & Gamble. The company decided to divest of non-core assets, and asked if Chambers wanted to purchase it. She put a team together and in the end, won the bid, with financing from Fifth Third.
 
Red212 was nominated for the competition by the local Fifth Third Business Banking team because it’s a great example of a curious customer, which is due to Chambers’ inspiration and how her business has grown and changed over the years.
 
First place wins $10,000; Fifth Third will also award $5,000 to the second place business and $2,500 to the third place business.
 
The contest runs through Sept. 20. Vote online here.
 
By Caitlin Koenig

Groundbreaking high school accelerator program graduates nine entrepreneurs

When Zach Schwartz, Samir Amrania and Vibhu Krishna graduated from high school last year, they wanted to create a better program to help high school entrepreneurs. So in May 2012, they approached LaunchHouse and started LightHouse Ohio and the LEAP (LightHouse Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program). The program is the first high school accelerator program in the country.
 
“Northeast Ohio has a problem with brain drain,” explains LightHouse CEO Schwartz. “If we can get these kids involved in high school, to get connected in organizations like LaunchHouse, maybe more would stay.”
 
LaunchHouse CEO Todd Goldstein couldn't agree more. “We believe the next generation of entrepreneurs is coming at the high school level,” he says. “These kids are tech savvy and have a higher level of entrepreneurial spirit.”
 
This summer nine teams from area high schools enrolled in the six-week LEAP program, run out of LaunchHouse, to flesh out their business ideas and learn what it takes to develop and run a business. The nine were chosen from 70 applicants.
 
On Friday, August 2, the nine teams pitched their companies to the community and investors. It’s too early to tell if the teams secured any investors, but Schwartz says there was quite a bit of interest. Senator Sherrod Brown addressed the group via video.
 
Four of the nine businesses already are generating revenue, including Shaker Mowers, a landscaping company started by Shaker High students James Caffrey and Kyle Whitlach, which has more than 50 clients. The company has hired three people and has a 10-person waiting list of potential employees.
 
Another successful company is Vexum Supply, a skate and arts-based clothing company created by Solon High student Jacob Roscoe. He uses recycled fabrics and does all printing, sewing and stitching in Cleveland. The clothes already are on the racks in many area stores. Roscoe has hired one employee.

Chicken Coup Studios is a video game development studio that is creating a remake of Donkey Kong. Shaker students and founders Patrick Pastore and Charlie Hummel have hired two employees. Hawken student Phillip Hedayatnia and Gilmour student Megan Porter also hired two people to help with YouCue TV, a digital media-streaming box.
 
“These companies are generating revenue and are profitable,” says Goldstein, “They’re not only growing their businesses, but they are hiring employees. It’s a true testament to the LightHouse team and the hard work of these students.”
 
The LEAP program is funded through a grant from Craig Stout and the Arminius Foundation.
 

Sources: Zach Schwartz and Todd Goldstein
Writer: Karin Connelly


Nonprofits unite for fundraising, partnership

This past weekend, community members and representatives from 25 local nonprofits came together to support the work of Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati’s member groups in the organization’s 10th annual Gourmet Grub for Good.
 
The amateur chef competition raises awareness and honors the work that member groups are doing to promote environmental, economic and social justice.
 
“There are folks providing services to those in need, but there are also organizers and advocates within those constituencies to make sure people have the right information about their civil and human rights—how they petition legislature if there’s a question about how policy would affect them,” says Jeniece Jones, chief executive officer of Community Shares. “If they’re educated through those agencies to take action, they can really do impactful things that change not only their lives but make the community better as a whole.”
 
Jones, who grew up in a “very forward-looking type of family,” has cared deeply about the community and the various causes that impact its growth ever since she and her husband moved to Cincinnati 20 years ago, she says.
 
“With our member groups, I knew I couldn’t work at all of them, but when I saw the list I just thought, ‘Wow, I’ll get to work where all these agencies involved,’” Jones says. “I really understood their missions, and anything I could do to help them grow or advance—that’s something I wanted to do.”
 
Through Community Shares, organizations that work on everything from women’s and LGBT issues to health care, affordable housing, animal welfare and prison reform—and the list goes on—are able to put unrestricted funds toward goals that would otherwise be more difficult to reach.
 
“A number of the organizations have funding from other sources with a specific focus, but we’re kind of the grease in the wheel that allows them to use money to bridge between one program or another to help with an unexpected expense, new partnership or pilot initiative without funding set up,” Jones says. “It’s smart to be in the partnership because it can help them advance or explore things that may or may not be otherwise accessible.”


By Brittany York

Study: northeast Ohio's tech startups generated $270m in economic impact in 2012

An annual study conducted by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development at the Levin College of Urban Affairs shows that startup companies in Northeast Ohio contribute significantly to the economy. The study surveyed tech-based companies that received assistance, either financially or in services, through JumpStart or the North Coast Angel Fund.
 
The 127 companies who participated in the study generated $211 million in economic benefits in Northeast Ohio in 2012, $270 million statewide. These companies helped create and retain 1,100 in-state direct jobs, with a total Ohio employment impact of 2,140. The companies and their suppliers also increased total Ohio household earnings by $125 million and contributed nearly $12 million in state and local tax impact.
 
As the early-stage companies grow, their impact increases, according to the study. Among those surveyed, 44 companies participated over three years -- from 2010 to 2012, showing 53 percent job growth and a 36 percent increase in economic impact over those three years.
 
“These numbers quantify the impact small companies made,” says Cathy Belk, JumpStart COO. “Small companies make a big difference.  It’s exciting to see the impact the companies we see every day are having. We see how hard these companies are working.”
 
With all of the organizations in Cleveland that support startups, in addition to support from Ohio Third Frontier, which provides funding to organizations like JumpStart, the region is ideal for new businesses.

“We continue to believe that Northeast Ohio is the best place in the country to have a small business or a new business,” says Belk. “We have such a robust ecosystem for startups and small business.”

 
Source: Cathy Belk
Writer: Karin Connelly


Boomerang brings stress relief to Cincinnati office workers

Meredith Amann, owner of Work Flow Yoga, moved back to her hometown of Cincinnati last December after spending six years in San Francisco, two years in Philadelphia and three months in New York. She completed SpringBoard Cincinnati, a small business planning and development program, earlier this year and launched Work Flow in June.

What sets Work Flow apart? It's the yoga studio that comes to you, offering up stress relief for you and your employees.
 
Work Flow classes are based in the tradition of Ashtanga and Hatha yoga, and they focus on safe alignment and maintaining the connection to your breathing. The sessions are non-competitive and are designed for beginners and those with more experience. They are 30-60 minutes and can be held once or twice a week in your workplace.
 
“It’s nice to have flexibility in terms of me coming to them,” says Amann. “It’s one person traveling as opposed to a group of people—and it’s one car on the road instead of 20.”
 
When Amann decided to pursue her yoga training and move to Cincinnati, she thought about a brick-and-mortar studio. But she decided she wanted to offer yoga to those who sat at their desks all day long, and a traveling studio made more sense for that.
 
To date, Amann has taught yoga classes at a handful of small nonprofit companies. If you’re interested in having a class taught at your office, call 513-370-9088 or email Amann at meredith@yogaworkflow.com to schedule a meeting.
 

By Caitlin Koenig
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