Meet Our Core City: Cleveland Impact Program’s Fall 2017 Cohort

We are excited to welcome the fourth cohort to our Core City: Cleveland Impact Program! As the name implies, the 12-week business assistance program is designed to drive economic impact in the city of Cleveland by helping individuals overcome obstacles to entrepreneurship through hands-on advising and industry-specific mentoring.

The free program accepted five aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners from the city of Cleveland into the fall 2017 cohort. Over the next three months, these individuals will be learning and working together alongside JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland team. The culminating event will be a demo day-style competition where program participants will use their new knowledge and skills to pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to take home up to $10,000 to grow their business.

Meet the fall 2017 Core City: Cleveland Impact Program cohort:

Our Favorite Things Too Boutique & Aromatherapy
Founder: Lisa McGuthry

Decades ago, Lisa McGuthry’s grandmother’s entrepreneurial spirit shined bright in the old Cleveland Stadium, where she sold peanuts at baseball and football games and grew her operation by employing many neighborhood children—providing many with their first job. Taking a page from her grandmother’s book, McGuthry founded her own business, Our Favorite Things Too Boutique & Aromatherapy, in June 2012.

As a self-proclaimed caretaker, McGuthry built her business around helping her customers’ natural beauty shine inside and out, alleviating their aches and pains, promoting more restful sleep and simply helping individuals to live their best life. Our Favorite Things Too Boutique & Aromatherapy offers comfortable clothing, flattering accessories and all-natural beauty products.



Lauren BackBackattack Snacks
Founder: Lauren Back

Poor snacking habits aren’t easy to shake, and most of us are no stranger to the struggle of finding alternative, guilt-free options that are just as delicious as they are nourishing. Founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Brian and Lauren Back, BackAttack Snacks provides just that—tasty, healthy options to crush unhealthy snack food cravings.

In an effort to clean up their own eating habits, the active pair began experimenting with homemade jerky recipes, which didn’t take long to become a hit with friends and family. This success drove them to take things a step further. They used their leftover jerky marinade to create another healthy snack—roasted almonds. The result has been so well-received that the company won last year’s Heinen’s SharkBank competition.



Waverly WillisUrban Kutz Barbershop LLC
Founder: Waverly Willis

Waverly Willis juggles duty as a part-time marriage counselor, psychiatrist, spiritual advisor, voice of reason and expert listener, all while being a full-time professional barber at Urban Kutz Barbershop, a business which he founded in May 2008. Voted Best Barbershop by Cleveland’s Hotlist, Willis takes pride in providing an upbeat, diverse, enjoyable atmosphere for all his clientele.

On top of giving haircuts, Willis is also the Executive Director of The Urban Barber Association, which offers barbering courses, both as a single session and as a series at barber or cosmetology colleges. Noticing a lack of diversity in these higher education settings, Willis designed these courses to emphasize tools and techniques that allow a stylist to feel confident working with all hair types.



Jowan SmithGetting Our Babies To College 101
Founder: Jowan Smith

Paying for college is difficult for many families, but the burden is often far greater for single parents, and even more so for single parents that head low-income households. Jowan Smith doesn’t want the dream of obtaining a college degree to be out of reach for any child, no matter their family’s financial situation. This was the driving force behind her founding of Getting Our Babies To College 101 at the start of this year.

Smith, who was a competition finalist at Accelerate 2017: Citizens Make Change, has been through the college admission process with her daughter, so she is familiar with the difficulties parents face while navigating college prep. Her Getting Our Babies To College 101 program aims to make all of this easier by offering interactive workshops that cover numerous topics including FAFSA, the importance of college visits, student/athlete considerations and budgeting.


Stay tuned for detailed profiles of our Core City: Cleveland Impact Program entrepreneurs and their businesses. In the meantime, RSVP to attend their demo day showcase later this fall.