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Innovation News

GCF grant helps Hamilton Mill hire industrialist-in-residence and expand student support

Just a short drive north of Cincinnati, Hamilton Mill offers a distinctive experience within the Startup Cincinnati ecosystem.
“We focus on technology that helps Southwest Ohio manufacturers have small and lean shops,” says Director of Operations Antony Seppi.
Hamilton Mill also emphasizes clean and green technologies through a special collaboration with the City of Hamilton. The city utilities department currently produces nearly 90 percent of its energy from renewable resources and shares that expertise with participants in Hamilton Mill’s programs.
Unlike the familiar short-term accelerator program, Hamilton Mill is an incubator that accepts applications on a rolling basis and tailors the length of the program to the participant, whether that’s nine months or three years.
“Some companies need a prolonged maturation process,” Seppi says. “We have startups at many stages in their development.”
Startups participating in the Hamilton Mill program receive marketing resources and assistance, technology resources, networking opportunities, and mentors to help the startups hit their milestones. Hamilton Mill is also building an innovation fund that will be available to qualified startups graduating from their program.
“We have a unique niche in the greater Cincinnati startup ecosystem,” Seppi says. “We are really trying to engage with the Cincinnati community, and we work closely with Cintrifuse and CincyTech.”
A recent grant of $50,000 from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) will help Hamilton Mill expand two of its signature programs.
Hamilton Mill is hiring an industrialist-in-residence to begin in a few weeks. It will be a rotating position featuring an expert in advance manufacturing who will consult regularly with the startups at Hamilton Mill.
“It offers added value to our participants, provides alternative perspectives, and helps formalize our program in advanced manufacturing technologies,” Seppi says.
The GCF grant will also support the development of a student entrepreneurship program, NextGen.
Hamilton Mill has been working with a couple of student startups, including one that has partnered with UC Health West Chester on a software project. However, there has is interest and opportunity to expand and further develop that program.
“NextGen lays a groundwork for high school and college students throughout Butler County to build and develop ideas,” Seppi says. “This is an expansive program that will include coding, app development, and technology.”
NextGen will incorporate students who have been participating in Butler Tech’s organization Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE). Hamilton Mill expects to work closely with Butler Tech and SAGE to develop the NextGen program and hopes the program will be up and running before the end of this academic year.
For bricks and mortar businesses looking to start or get assistance in Hamilton, the Hamilton Mill is also home to the Small Business Development Center supported by the State of Ohio. They have two consultants who offer workshops, information and training and have recently brought a grocery store and bakery to Hamilton.
In the spring Hamilton Mill will get new bragging rights as the only Southwest Ohio startup program with an on-site brewery. Municipal Brew Works is building out a brewery and tap room in the former fire department space in the Hamilton Mill complex.

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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