Orlando Chamber Seeks Advice From Cleveland’s JumpStart

The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday hosted Ray Leach, founder of Cleveland-based JumpStart Inc., a consulting group that focuses on building startup communities.

Leach spoke twice to chamber members Thursday, once at a lunch for board members and again at the annual meeting later in the day.

The chamber didn’t announce any specifics about ongoing contracts or relationships with Leach, but chairman Rob Panepinto said, “What he’s done and what they have done in Cleveland is a model for us here in Orlando.”

JumpStart is a not-for-profit that has been focused on economic development in the Cleveland area. It also has invested in startups and helped raise venture capital funds in Ohio.

Leach spent some time praising Orlando, focusing on the Milken Institute’s ranking of top economic-performing metro areas, which ranked Orlando first in Florida, and ninth in in the U.S. Most of that ranking was based on sheer numbers of jobs added, where Orlando has been adding thousands of jobs in recent years.

Those are dominated by low-paying hospitality jobs, but there is also some growth in health, professional services and tech.

“I don’t get an opportunity to come into a community like Orlando often,” Leach said during his speech.

He said his work in Cleveland mostly started in 2004, when there was little or no startup ecosystem in that city. He called it “scorched earth.” They focused on providing vital support to startup companies.

Read the full story at Orlando Sentinel.