JumpStart, in collaboration with Governor Ted Strickland, and the State of Ohio Minority Enterprise Division, recently kicked off an exciting new initiative called Launch100 which seeks to create a pipeline of 100 high potential minority and inner city based businesses across Ohio over the next 5 years. If the turnout at the event, which exceeded 250 attendees, as well as the interest that has followed is any indication of the potential of this initiative, we are even more excited about the opportunities for growth and expansion throughout our region.
Much has been written over the past few years about the economic opportunity that exists for our community if we had more of our region’s citizens participating in high growth entrepreneurship. In short, higher growth emerging businesses simply create more jobs. The challenge has been that many of our region’s entrepreneurs, specifically ethnic minority populations and firms based in lower income census tracks commonly referred to as the inner city, have not participated equally in the types of growth opportunities attractive to angel and venture capital investment. Absent this critical component of early-stage funding, these entrepreneurs have been led to the types of businesses that generally did not require much capital which in turn led to a greater propensity of lower growth service oriented businesses. While smaller firms have always been, and will always be a critical component of our economy, even a modest increase in more diverse businesses growing larger scale operations can have a dramatic impact on job creation for all of our region’s citizens.
Launch100 seeks to identify, educate, prepare, and connect these historically underserved entrepreneurs to the types of businesses that can at minimum achieve sales growth in excess of $15 million over the next 3-5 years, create 50 or more jobs, and be operating in or targeting an emerging industry or technology, just to name of few of the criteria.
The initiative received a tremendous surge of adrenaline from the recent kickoff event, and we are confident that at least 12-15 high growth opportunities will be identified in the initial pilot phase over the next 12-18 months. An additional 12 firms tracking to exceed $15 million in annual revenues equates to about $180 million of new revenues over time, and with one new job generally created for every $200,000 of new revenues, that’s another 900 potential jobs for our community. With a successful pilot in Northeast Ohio, the effort will then be rolled out and expanded across the entire state in an effort to reach the targeted pipeline of 100 high potential firms.
Please be sure to check the Launch100 website at www.launch100.org for more information, and to submit your application today!
Darrin is Chief Economic Inclusion Officer of JumpStart and President of JumpStart Inclusion Advisors. He founded and ran his own strategic planning and management assistance firm and spent 16 years in the commercial banking and finance industry. Darrin has an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College and an undergraduate degree from Mount Union College. He has led a series of workshops and seminars on matters of economic development and diversity.