I had to opportunity to attend the Columbus Metro Club’s Forum on Tuesday, May 3rd to see what was going to be covered from the panel. Going into this forum, I knew the main focus of funding was going to be talking about taking on debt – after all two of the three panelists represent alternative lending groups and the moderator also represented an alternative lending group. This was were much of the conversation was around… access to capital… which was access to debt.
The typical talking points about how we have a very talented workforce, entrepreneurs trying to bootstrap, great corporations, a top university, etc., etc. are all of the ones we have heard before. During the Q&A we did get to the core of the issue of what is needed to make startups successful in Ohio – Risk Capital.
Allen Proctor Speaks to part of the issue of risk capital here.
I come in a bit later and try to more directly address the elephant in the room with investment and risk capital for startups here.
The answers we got from the panel was a bit short in this area for strategies and suggestions on how to get more people off of the bench and into the game. Education at a high level is nice, but these educational programs are not well attended. We have run investor education classes with low turn outs, Allen’s group has done the same with the same results. The facts are that we are in a very low risk area of the country. What I have found is tremendous cheer leading from groups around Central Ohio, but very little true action to help take startups to the next step.
It comes down to the people that have the ability to do more by putting their dollars into new ventures.