Last week I attended an event that certainly would make anyone marvel at the entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm, and activity happening in Northeast Ohio. Goldstein Caldwell & Associates and TiE Ohio jointly sponsored the Portfolio Showcase at GCA's new offices on Carnegie Ave, between the Cleveland Clinic and Case. GCA is a seed capital investment and business Development Company focused on very early (pre-seed) stage companies. TiE is the Ohio chapter of the global TiE network, a group that fosters entrepreneurship by focusing on immigrant, international, and minority entrepreneurs.
I went to the event expecting 30-40 investors, entrepreneurs and other interested parties who would network and hear presentations from a few promising local entrepreneurs. Instead, there were well over 200 people, somehow fit into this former flower shop. The event was outstanding! The networking was great, with a wide variety of people to interact with. The presentations were punchy, interesting, and ran on-time. The food and drink was excellent (until it ran out with the huge attendance). All in all, the TiE/GCA Portfolio Showcase was a huge success and a great testament to the vitality of Northeast Ohio's growing entrepreneurial climate and the enthusiasm for high growth entrepreneurship here.
The location of the event was interesting as well. GCA has converted a flower shop that is scheduled to be demolished into a really edgy "incubator-type" space, with some entrepreneurs getting to locate in the former flower cooler (I am not sure if that is considered to be prime space, or where the newbies get stuck!). You may have noticed that I said "IS scheduled to be demolished". Todd Goldstein of GCA told me that, although the price was right (free!), the tradeoff is that the demolition will go forward sometime at the end of the year, and that GCA will be again looking for space to continue their work. If anyone knows of another space that might work for them, or if you are an early-stage company in need of startup space, please get a hold of Todd.
Here at JumpStart, we work hard at, and are very active in contributing to building an entrepreneurial climate and ecosystem here in Northeast Ohio, and we have lots of events to promote that. We don't, however, need to be in the center of all such events, and it was really nice to see the TiE/GCA event go so well, and put the enthusiasm this region has for entrepreneurship on display. Congratulations and thanks to TiE and Goldstein Caldwell on a great job!
Chris Mather is President, JumpStart Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Previously, he managed a number of technology initiatives in Northeast Ohio for NorTech. Before entering the economic development world, Chris ran a number of technology companies in Northeast Ohio and New England, including Ion Optics Inc., where he raised $6.7 million in venture capital, and Apsco Inc. and Gould Instrument Systems. Prior to that, he spent 13 years in sales, marketing and management roles with Hewlett Packard after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Electrical Engineering.