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Cities' hearts beating strong in Ohio's 3 C's

Euclid Avenue was the spark in Cleveland, as a bus rapid-transit system ignited development along the important Downtown artery once lined with so many mansions it was known as Millionaires’ Row.

The rebirth of downtown Cincinnati started with Fountain Square and in Over-the-Rhine, a historic neighborhood filled with stately but crumbling homes.

In Columbus, the Arena District rose on the blighted site of a long-closed prison. This started a wave of development that has spread south, to the river and the land formerly occupied by the failed City Center mall.

Now, after many years and a combined investment of about $10 billion, Ohio’s three largest cities are enjoying downtown booms that have added residents, jobs, economic impact and vibrancy.

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Ohio University student media innovation contest offers $20k in prizes

Ohio University students will compete for $20,000 in cash prizes with the mid-January kick off of the Scripps Innovation Challenge, one of the nation's most unique contests to come up with creative solutions to problems posed by media companies. Click here for more information.

Tech Columbus announces semi-finalists for 2012 innovation awards

For more information on the TechColumbus innovation awards, click here.

Additive manufacturing center receives boost to its credibility

Its name doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as GM Lordstown, V&M Star or Utica shale exploration, but it is no less important to the Mahoning Valley’s future as any of the other pillars of the economy.

Although still in its infancy, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in downtown Youngstown has brought national and international attention to the region. If the announcement in August of the institute’s establishment was a crowning achievement for the Valley, the recent recognition by the Brookings Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation opened the door to instant credibility.

Brookings and Rockefeller included the NAMII in its Top 10 list of the most innovative economic development initiatives across the country.

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Obama backs 'tech visas' for foreign-born entrepreneurs

President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to create a special visa category that allows foreign-born entrepreneurs who launch successful startups to remain in the country.

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Studies show Youngstown Business Incubator is having a far-reaching impact

Two studies released Thursday show the Youngstown Business Incubator has a far-reaching economic impact, which it believes will bolster an already strong reputation and attract more startup companies.

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The crowdfunding crowd is anxious

To its advocates, crowdfunding is a way for capital-starved entrepreneurs to receive financing that neither big investors nor lenders are willing or able to provide. To others, it represents a potential minefield that could help bad businesses get off the ground before they eventually fail, and in some cases could even ensnare unsophisticated investors in outright fraud.

Those fears are partly why the Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed rules allowing crowdfunding that were supposed to take effect this month as part of the JOBS Act (Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups), signed by President Obama last April. The S.E.C. is wary of loosening investor protections that have been in place since the 1930s.

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dayton in top half of U.S. for pace of economic recovery

An improving jobs picture and surge in overall economic output is driving Dayton's economic recovery, overcoming sluggishness in housing prices, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

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michigan model inspires cintrifuse in cincinnati

Chris Rizik isn’t just an investor; he’s a connector.

Rizik runs Michigan’s Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, which served as the model for Cintrifuse’s fund of funds, which is seeking to raise $50 million to $100 million.

Cintrifuse is the regional innovation effort created by the Cincinnati Business Committee to successfully launch high-growth start­ups.

So far, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund has raised $110 million through investments by Michigan’s major corporations.

Instead of investing directly in startups, Rizik invests that money into other venture capital funds. The idea is to maximize the amount of venture capital for Michigan startups.

Choosing funds is only part of Rizik’s job as CEO and fund manager. He’s also helping connect venture capital firms, startups, entrepreneurs and big Michigan companies looking for new technologies and solutions.

It’s a job description that Tim Schigel, Cintrifuse’s fund manager, says he plans to emulate.

Rizik recently spoke to The Enquirer about how the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund works, why it’s been successful, and why he’s so excited about Cintrifuse.

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moms are making their own way as entrepreneurs

A 2011 scare with melanoma convinced Cindy Perry to finally turn a hobby into a career.

Ms. Perry, an Avon Lake mother of two, last January launched a business from her home selling “pellos” — baby floor pillows she initially designed for her own children. The pellos essentially are 33-inch round pillows with depressed centers that can be used for newborns lying down or for babies learning to sit or crawl.

Now, nearly a year after its debut, Ms. Perry contracts with a local manufacturer — Western Reserve Sewing Co. in Cleveland — to make the pellos, and she said her product is sold at 37 boutiques in 17 states. She already has an intern and is about to take on her first employee.

Ms. Perry is among a growing number of mom entrepreneurs, or “mompreneurs,” who are starting their own business while running a family. These are women who cradle a phone in one hand, a baby in another and make sales calls while packing lunches.

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youngstown business incubator shows off its role in city's resurgence

Those who relocated from the Mahoning Valley years ago and returned for the holidays might not recognize the city they left.

Today Youngstown is in the midst of an economic renaissance, officials boast, and the Youngstown Business Incubator, Youngstown State University and the Oh Wow! Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology demonstrate why.

“We want to introduce people who have left Youngstown to the New Youngstown, the new high-tech Youngstown," said Mike Hripko, director of technology-based economic development at the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, as he welcomed visitors to the YBI.

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Ohio advances on Forbes list of 'Best States for Business'

Ohio rose to 33rd from 38th and Michigan remained at No. 47 in Forbes’ new list of “Best States for Business.” The rankings, at forbes.com/best-states-for-business, compare the states in six categories.

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What it really takes to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem

Innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of economic growth. For decades now, cities and communities across the United States have tried to infuse themselves with those two properties by emulating Silicon Valley, a never-ending quest to become the next Silicon Somewhere.

Brad Feld’s terrific new book, Startup Communities, takes us inside the real ecologies of innovation and entrepreneurship. Feld, co-founder of venture capital firm Foundry Group, serves on the boards of numerous high-tech companies. He recently chatted with Cities about his new book.

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Ohio among top states for tech growth

A national study on high-tech jobs released Thursday shows that Ohio is quickly establishing itself as a hub of high-tech job activity. The Buckeye State is home to three of the top 25 cities for tech job growth -- more than any other state.

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The Midwest is becoming a hotspot for entrepreneurs

This fall, entrepreneurs and investors from all over the country gathered in downtown Cleveland for the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) annual conference. During a "fireside chat," AOL founder and Startup America Chair Steve Case touched on his belief that a "broader entrepreneurial ecosystem" with many hubs of innovation is possible. "Many years ago, you couldn't launch a startup in some areas, and now you can," he said. "Costs are down, and the ability to get talent is up."

The Midwest is working hard to make Case's vision a reality sooner rather than later.

Read the full story here.
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