Downtown Cleveland Provides Growth Opportunities For Startups

Recently named one of the top 50 cities in the world for entrepreneurs by MBA Central, Cleveland is gaining attention for the amenities and offerings the city has to offer to young, growing companies. The existing entrepreneurial scene in Cleveland has been nurtured by public and private sector support as well as a vibrant, active central business district.

“Private and philanthropic sectors of Northeast Ohio came together and said if (Cleveland’s) going to grow, startups need to be more important,” Ray Leach, CEO, JumpStart Inc., which provides venture capital and intensive, high-impact assistance to diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses owners. “The wealth in this community is from entrepreneurs, and we need to continue this commitment to small business growth.”

JumpStart recently announced a partnership with KeyBank Foundation that will help create more than 4,500 startup and young business jobs in Ohio. The KeyBank Foundation committed $24 million to JumpStart over four years.

“KeyBank’s purpose is to help clients and communities thrive,” KeyCorp CEO Beth Mooney said in a statement announcing the partnership. “We are committed to being both a responsible bank and a responsible citizen. We accomplish this by improving access to education and career opportunities, lifting neighborhoods up, fostering innovation, creating pathways to home and business ownership and encouraging community engagement, diversity and inclusion.”

Additional opportunities for startups in Cleveland comes from Flashstarts Inc., a startup accelerator. To continue to fuel Downtown Cleveland’s economic development and investment in local businesses, Flashstarts has created the Cleveland200 Fund – a $5 million microventure fund focused on high-growth startups combined with a national marketing effort to attract companies to region.

“We are looking for dynamic teams with really big ideas,” said Shannon Lyons, Flashstarts, COO. “We will accept companies from all over the U.S. and the world. We offer specialized programs to accommodate global companies, and international entrepreneurs graduating from universities.”

Access to financial opportunities aren’t the only benefit to a Cleveland location for a startup company. Downtown Cleveland is home to multiple co-working spaces as well as numerous entertainment options, a growing amount of talent and connections to thriving organizations in the tech and health industries.

“For us, being in Downtown Cleveland is almost a screening process. If you aren’t excited about being downtown, you might not be a good fit, and the only way I can compete is because of the talent of my people,” said Brett Lindsey, president and CEO, Everstream, a Cleveland-grown business.

StartMart, an organization offering co-working space in Downtown Cleveland to growing companies, also supports the startup economy in Cleveland by connecting businesses to critical resources, such as business accelerators, amenities, clients and funders, as well as office space with 100-gig fiber, 3-D printing capability, room for growth and the ability to network with other startups.

“Downtown Cleveland offers startups and entrepreneurs an environment that inspires creativity and collaboration in addition to a strong network of public and private resources and investors,” says Michael Deemer, executive vice president of business development at Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “By supporting startups, we’re fueling job growth in our community and giving downtown the ability to continue to attract young talent.”

For more information about how Downtown Cleveland provides support to growing companies, visit

This story originally appeared on Crain’s Cleveland Business.