Columbus is full of young creatives with seemingly endless ideas for business ventures. Luckily, these budding entrepreneurs have places to go in the city to present and cultivate their visions. But twin brothers Branden and Bruce Jones, 31, noticed that certain demographics are often missing from these settings… The next event, “The Art of Design, Build and Pitch,” will take place Monday, Sept. 19 at Rev1 Ventures, a venture development organization that hosts all Blk Hack events. The panel will include user experience and user interface designer Natalie Howard, startup business consultant Robert Nicholson, Soulo Theory Creative Owner and CEO Marshall Shorts and Paul Proffitt, founder of SunDown RunDown, which hosts pitch events and provides resources for entrepreneurs. The September event will focus on getting a concept past the idea stage and in front of investors.
While not a business counselor, [Linda] Hale sees herself as a “director to the next step, and probably a bit of a cheerleader.”
Hale, who does not judge or rate the business ideas people bring, helps guide patrons to the information and tools they need. That information might come from the library’s vast resources or from other entrepreneurial groups.
Many nonprofit groups dip into the same funding vat, but because of its relationship with the library, the Microbusiness Center is unique, Hale said.
“We don’t have an agenda,” she said. “The library is going to be here 10 years from now whether is Microbusiness Center is or not. And I think that’s also important because sometimes everybody is vying for that same nonprofit money … Sometimes there’s a tendency to be worried about referring people to another agency, but from my perspective, I want to utilize every agency in town.”
And Hale, who is Akron chapter coordinator of SunDown RunDown and has been involved in the University of Akron’s Entrepreneur Immersion week, is connected enough to navigate the complex landscape of those agencies, whether it be reaching out to JumpStart, SCORE, OSC Tech Lab, the Akron Global Business Accelerator or the Ohio Small Business Development Center.
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.
SunDown RunDown Founder Paul Proffitt will host a series of six business classes at the Columbus Idea Foundry to help aspiring business owners with the ins and outs of getting started.
A fit for businesses of any industry, “The class is taught to be a practical course – in other words, you can take what you learn and directly apply it to the business,” Proffitt says. “Not a lot of theory, just about getting stuff done. We try to incorporate a lot of what the entrepreneurs are working on in the class and work through some of their specific questions as it relates to the session topic being covered that evening.”
The sessions begin this Monday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Idea Foundry, 421 W. State St. in Franklinotn. Each subsequent week through March 14 (save February 15) a different topic will be addressed during the hour-and-a-half long classes.
In business, embrace critique, authenticity and sometimes furry rabbits. Elaine Grogan Luttrull reflects on what art can teach business after attending CCAD’s New Business Night hosted with SunDown RunDown.
A renamed SunDown Group, the entrepreneurial group that germinated from SunDown RunDown business pitch events has added a foundation arm that enables it to apply for grants from Kauffman Foundation, Columbus Foundation and others.