From an entrepreneurial perspective, 2016 was an incredible year for women— particularly for those with businesses located in economically distressed areas of Northeast Ohio, including JumpStart’s four female Core City Cleveland program graduates.

While Cleveland’s female entrepreneurs spent the better part of the year capitalizing on new opportunities, breaking boundaries, and raising the bar, diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs from across the country—both male and female—were also busy leveraging new tools, resources and funding to realize their potential to transform their communities.

To address persistent connectivity and capital gaps that are faced by diverse entrepreneurs, in 2016, JumpStart added/enhanced the following initiatives:

Core City Cleveland
Through JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland program, entrepreneurs and small business owners who live or own a business in an underserved area in Cleveland can work with JumpStart’s team of experts through a one-on-one consultation during weekly office hours.

JumpStart Focus Fund
Our Focus Fund invests seed capital in tech-based companies led by minority or female entrepreneurs throughout Ohio – as well as those willing to move to the state.

Scaleup Services
Designed for established small businesses, our scaleup experts offer a full suite of specialized services, from customer discovery and market research to growth planning and everything else in between.

JumpStart has always believed in the abilities of diverse entrepreneurs to transform underserved and underfunded areas into vibrant, self-sustaining communities through job creation and placemaking. We view a robust, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem as one that maintains a mix of small, high-growth tech and mid-market businesses. In addition, a strong ecosystem requires a diverse mix of resources and support organizations to effectively address the dynamic needs that aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners have as they grow.

Taking steps towards building a stronger support system for area entrepreneurs, we spent much of 2016 establishing and developing collaborative relationships with members of the entrepreneurial and community development ecosystem. As a group, our primary goal has been to build trust while increasing our reach and collective impact on businesses all across Ohio.

In 2017, just like the companies that we serve, JumpStart desires to continue our growth and development. More specifically, we seek to increase our ability to help entrepreneurs be successful by enabling them to create jobs and to deliver wealth to their communities.

With the focus on the entrepreneur, we ask ourselves, what’s next, how can we improve, where else is there a need? What can we do to build our awareness and skillsets around the issues of emotional, social and cultural intelligence? How can we work even more collaboratively and efficiently together with our community partners to create a positive experience for the entrepreneurs?

Companies poised for change are constantly seeking feedback from their customers. At JumpStart, we’re no different. If you have thoughts around the need for additional services, our service delivery or innovative new approaches for helping you be the positive catalyst for change and growth that your communities need, we’d love to hear from you!

Gloria Ware
Gloria leads JumpStart’s strategic efforts to create inclusive, high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystems. She brings a wealth of finance and business development expertise to the organization, along with a passion for community engagement.