Startup Scaleup Brings 1,200 Entrepreneurs To Gordon Square

Story excerpt provided by Freshwater Cleveland
Written by Karin Connelly

Twelve hundred people descended on the Gordon Square Arts District yesterday, Wednesday June 17 for Startup Scaleup, JumpStart’s inaugural event to celebrate and educate entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners. Sponsored by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Medical Mutual, the event offered resources, networking for Cleveland’s startup businesses.

Attendees were greeted at the Capitol Theatre by Alexis Bowers and Ava Pollas, recent graduates of Orchard STEM School in Cleveland, who were selling lemonade and cookies from the booth they helped design and build as part of their work with Lemonade Day Northeast Ohio, an entrepreneurial education program. “They not only focused on business and money, but the class also infused infrastructure and engineering concepts,” says Tamera Zelwin, their teacher.

The day kicked off at 11 am with registration for the Sidewalk to Stage pitch competition. More than 80 companies applied for the chance to spend five-minutes showcasing their business ideas. Six finalists were chosen by a panel of judges and winners in each of three categories – Starting Up, Scaling Up and Creating Opportunity – took home $5,000 prizes.

“It’s also incredible that we received 86 pitch applications in less than one hour,” says Amy Martin, JumpStart marketing principal. “It shows you how eager people are to bring their ideas to life. It is absolutely inspiring.”

Mel McGee of We Can Code IT, which encourages women and minorities to enter technology and engineering fields through teaching coding boot camps, won for scaling up.”The Startup Scaleup event clearly demonstrated JumpStart’s commitment and support to not only entrepreneurs, but to the Cleveland community,” says McGee. “All of the Sidewalk to Stage winners were businesses working to positively impact Cleveland not only economically, but socially. I was thrilled that We Can Code IT won. The money provided will help us train a new wave of diverse software engineers through our coding boot camp, giving more Clevelanders the opportunity to support themselves and their families through careers in technology.”

Muhga Eltigani of NaturAll Club, which sells hand-made hair conditioners through monthly mail-order subscriptions, won for the starting up category. Christina Keegan of Guide to Kulchur, a cooperative bookstore that acts as an incubator for emerging and marginalized voices in print, won for creating opportunity.

The other three finalists were ApplyBoard, Althar Audio and EmployStream. Rob Sable, founder of EmployStream, which uses software-as-a-service to digitize and customize employers’ hiring processes, started the company after 20 years in software development. He decided to apply for the competition after learning about Startup Scaleup in his hunt for employees. “I’ve learned a lot and felt like I helped a lot,” he says. “It just sounded like fun so I decided to do it.”

Read the full story at Fresh Water.