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Flywheel's second cohort to present at Demo Day on Feb. 7


The second cohort of Flywheel’s Elevator social enterprise accelerator program will pitch their companies at a demo day on Feb. 7.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature alumni from the first Elevator program; Tamaya Dennard, who was on the leadership team; and former cohort member Katie Nzekwu of Village, as well as a conversation with Joe DeLoss, the social entrepreneur behind Columbus-based Hot Chicken Takeover.

“If you’ve never attended a demo day, it will be an opportunity for a ‘Shark Tank’ look at four companies,” says Bill Tucker, Flywheel's executive director. “If you’ve attended a demo day for another accelerator, it’s an opportunity to learn about the social enterprise space.”

The four members of Elevator’s second cohort are:

  • Dental Access for All works with under-served communities to provide access to dental care
  • Journey to Hope offers affordable coaching and support groups to individuals
  • urbanHive connects employers with potential hires through a skills-based online platform
  • Workforce Connections provides in-house training, coaching and counseling for entry-level employees

Tucker hopes Elevator Demo Day will attract a diverse audience to learn about these companies and get involved with the program.

“Demo Day is for the business leader who wants to improve both her company’s financial ROI and her care for her employees by becoming a customer of one of our companies; the marketing professional at a bigco that can leverage their marketing talent for the benefit of the companies; the high net-worth individual who is reframing his philanthropy as an investment; and individuals who are interested in making our community stronger, ensuring a thriving economy and sustainability for our families,” Tucker says.

The second Elevator cohort experienced a revamped program that included consumer marketing, business development and branding.

“We really ramped up the curriculum, expanded the length of the program from eight weeks to 12 weeks and increased the ‘bench strength’ of mentors,” says Tucker. “We set higher standards for the participating companies, one of the reasons why the cohort is smaller this year. These are not just business ideas, they are businesses with revenue or pilots in place.”

Unlike other accelerator programs, there won’t be a pitch competition or prizes.

“The ‘winner’ is the company that is still standing years from now,” says Tucker. “We’re proud of the fact that five of the seven companies in our first accelerator are still standing."

Although Demo Day is free, registration is required for the event.
 


SEED Ohio pilot allows orgs, individuals to donate to saving the planet


SEED Ohio, a pilot program to help raise funds for Ohio environmental nonprofits, will wrap up its inaugural campaign at the end of this month.

“Only three percent of all philanthropic giving goes to environmental causes,” says Jon Cocina, COO of 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses, nonprofits and individuals working together for a healthy planet. “With this pilot, we wanted to increase impact and innovate to tackle environmental issues in a bigger way."

1% for the Planet not only targets Ohio residents, but also shares the SEED Ohio campaign on its global platform, which provides visibility and awareness of Ohio causes to its members and social media channels.

“SEED Ohio targets people who might not be familiar with environmental organizations so they would be hesitant to pick one nonprofit or one issue to support," Cocina explains. "We created a mobile-friendly, engaging donation platform, and are working with organizations that provide knowledge around their issues that we can share with the donors.”

Donations to the SEED program are split evenly between six Ohio environmental organizations, each one addressing 1% for the Planet’s key issue areas: land, water, climate, food, pollution and wildlife.

The six Ohio organizations include Cuyahoga River Restoration and Western Reserve Land Conservancy in Cleveland; Clean Fuels Ohio and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association in Columbus; and Building Value and Ohio River Foundation in Cincinnati.

“The SEED partners were already working with 1% for the Planet and doing great, innovative work,” says Cocina. “Each participant will provide metrics on how the donations were used and every donor will receive an impact report.”

1% for the Planet began in 2012 with the idea that companies would donate one percent of their sales to environmental causes. “All businesses take from the environment in some way,” says Cocina. “1% for the Planet offers a way for businesses to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

1% for the Planet has over 1,200 business members and recently launched an individual membership program for people to commit one percent of their salary to support environmental nonprofit organizations.

“We realized that not everyone is ready or able to give one percent of their sales or salary,” says Cocina. “This pilot is a new platform and engagement opportunity for individuals to give. SEED Ohio lets anyone be part of the movement.”

SEED Ohio will accept donations through Dec. 31. 1% for the Planet will be evaluating the six-month pilot and planning next steps in 2018.
 


Game-changing $50 million pledge spurs $25 million more for Lindner Center for Hope


Over lunch with his nephew, lawyer and entrepreneur Harry Fath learned that insurance reimbursement rates are poor for mental health treatment in Cincinnati. His nephew, Dr. Brian Dowling, a psychiatrist at the Lindner Center for Hope, says that the Lindner Center’s expenses are on par with general hospitals in the Cincinnati region, but the mental health hospital gets just 30-70 percent of what other fields receive in reimbursement.

Fath and his wife Linda were determined that there was something they could do that would be a game changer for the Center. In stepping up with a $50 million pledge to the Lindner Center, the Faths want to encourage matching contributions on a sustaining basis from across our region.

S. Craig Lindner, co-CEO of American Financial Group, and his wife Frances, who serves on the Lindner Center board, joined the Faths pledge and made the first match — of $25 million. Including the Lindner match, the $75 million total is the largest amount ever received by the Lindner Center.

The Lindner Center opened in 2008 in Mason and is affiliated with UC Health. The Center draws patients from throughout the country and treats about 6,700 patients annually. The Lindner Center offers comprehensive programs and innovative options for treatment and support.

This transformational gift will allow the Center to continue treatment for psychiatric disorders; attract and retain the best doctors; serve patients who need financial assistance; and increase understanding and awareness that effective world class treatment exists locally for psychological problems, behavioral health issues and addiction.

While psychiatric disorders affect about one in four adults, there remains a stigma attached to seeking treatment. The National Institute of Mental Health states that mental disorders are common in the U.S. and internationally — an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year.

In the last 25 years, the understanding of mental illness and the way the brain functions has expanded tremendously, resulting in new programs, services and treatment options that better match patient’s individual needs.


With their generous gifts, the Faths and the Lindners hope to encourage a wider community to join friends and family members who have been impacted by mental health issues to contribute to the Lindner Center — be it a one-time gift or $10, $100 or $1,000+ per year for the next five years.

To learn more about the Lindner Center for Hope, visit lindnercenterofhope.org.
 


Innovative grantmaking program to help transform the region's health


Today, Bethesda Inc., a major funder of health transformation and cosponsor of TriHealth, announced the launch of bi3, a dedicated grantmaking initiative meant to transform health in the region. bi3 will invest in ideas, with the potential to start and scale health innovation. This will result in better overall health for all of Greater Cincinnati's residents.


“bi3 is the evolution of Bethesda Inc.’s grantmaking work, which builds on our rich history of health-related innovations,” says Mark Holcomb, chairman of Bethesda Inc. “The bi3 initiative better positions us to invest in collaborations and partnerships that lead to breakthrough change in health and healthcare.”

The letters "bi" honor the Bethesda Inc. heritage; the number "3" recognizes that the initiative is built on three core elements — ideas, investments and innovation. It's not a foundation or a hospital, but the result of a philanthropic investor that wants to help transform the health of the region.

As a cosponsor of TriHealth, Bethesda Inc. and bi3 will be able to create and fund collaborations between TriHealth and community-based organizations. As a result, bi3 will have the ability to scale programs more rapidly, setting it apart from other health-related grants.

The initiative will build upon Bethesda Inc.'s learnings and past successes by focusing on four funding priorities, which represent the top health needs in the community: maternal and infant health; behavioral health; palliative and hospice care; and health innovation that are enabled by new technology or accelerate the integration of care.

Overall, bi3 is particularly interested in efforts that achieve health equity by addressing the social determinants of health and health disparities for underserved populations. In the coming months, bi3 will be flexible in its approach to funding in order to best respond to new opportunities and changes within the community.

As part of the launch, bi3 also announced $3.8 million in funding to TriHealth and local nonprofit organizations. Recipients and program info are below:

  • TriHealth in partnership with Hospice of Cincinnati will receive $3.35 million in grant money over three years to launch the first health system-sponsored community-based palliative care program in the region. Once established, the program will relieve physical suffering, manage symptoms, address social needs and support care choices for vulnerable and seriously ill patients and their families. The program, PalliaCare Cincinnati, is expected to provide better care for patients, better health by addressing emotional and phsyical suffering and lower costs from decreased use of acute healthcare services.
  • The Center for Addiction Treatment received a $100,000 grant to provide seed money for the start of a primary care clinic and medical resident training program, specifically designed to treat patients suffering from addiction. The clinic will also serve as a training site for TriHealth residents and others in family practices and internal medicine, so residents can learn evidence-based practices for treating addiction as a disease.
  • Thanks to a $50,000 grant, TriHealth Behavioral Health will define and deploy a Substance Use Disorder Program that will provide clinical training and patient education on comprehensive treatment options. The program will initially focus on patients facing opioid addiction, and will include links to outpatient treatment upon discharge to help prevent further admissions. This program is in the pilot stage at Good Samaritan Hospital.
  • Spry Labs received a $45,000 grant to create a benefit tracker designed for mobile apps, in collaboration with TriHealth. This will allow health system employees a quick, intuitive and convenient way to track time and activities related to delivering community benefit programs. The tracker will also better enable healthcare systems to measure community impact.
  • A $100,000 grant will allow St. Vincent DePaul-Cincinnati to complete a consult agreement with Good Samaritan Free Health Center in Price Hill in order to allow immediate patient care services like modifying current drug therapy, starting new therapy, ordering labs and/or physical assessment of patients. The agreement will have the added benefit of providing insight into this community healthcare model and will offer a breakthrough in safety-net healthcare for patients without insurance.

A collaborative film project to showcase what makes Walnut Hills unique, special


Communities around Cincinnati are experiencing a renaissance — new businesses are recognizing the beautiful bones of our neighborhoods and growing into these interesting spaces.

Walnut Hills is one of those neighborhoods. Its proximity to downtown, historic Art Deco architecture and greenspaces have made it a highly-coveted community for businesses looking to establish themselves.

Yet some residents are concerned about losing the spirit of their neighborhood to the so-called renaissance.

That’s why a new artistic collaboration called “Here. Now. This.” seeks to preserve the character of the neighborhood and make the argument to keep Walnut Hills a little "weird."

“Here. Now. This” is a documentary film that includes footage and still shots by photographer Michael Wilson that capture the eclectic beauty of Walnut Hills. The film is the result of a collaboration between Wilson, musician Ric Hordinksi and the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, along with funding from ArtsWave.

“I hope ‘Here. Now. This.’ preserves the beauty of what Walnut Hills is now," says Betty Waite, CFO for the WHRF. “The beauty is going to change. It’s like the high school graduation picture, preserving the beauty before the big makeover.”

The documentary is scored by Hordinksi, who has been a resident of Walnut Hills since 1992. He says that the stories and sights of his community inspire him every day.

“I’m constantly running into interesting characters. I really love the physicality of the neighborhood; the architecture of the neighborhood.”

Hordinski says he hopes the project can unify redevelopment efforts with the diverse population of Walnut Hills. “When a neighborhood starts to have a renaissance, the things that make the neighborhood unique tend to get washed out,” he says. “I’ve been here for 25 years and we’ve worked hard to preserve the parts of the neighborhood that are amazing and unique.”

“Here. Now. This.” is still being developed with an eye toward completion in early 2018. The collaborators plan to host screenings in Walnut Hills, while also making the film available online.

“It’s important because I want to do my part to give back,” says Hordinksi. “I’ve been enriched by the neighborhood and my neighbors. I just want to share that with other people.”
 


New restaurant pop-up program to activate downtown space, provide opportunities for biz owners


During a time of great business and economic growth downtown, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. has created a new pop-up program for chefs and potential restaurant owners who want to try their hand at opening a restaurant, rent-free. Bringing together entrepreneurs, artists, makers, small businesses and local property owners to fill vacant spaces and activate downtown will benefit residents, existing businesses and visitors alike.

The City of Cincinnati’s Department of Community and Economic Development, in partnership with DCI, released a Retail Action Plan in 2016 for the Central Business District. The Pop Shop Program is a vital part of implementing the plan. It will help create opportunities for future business owners who have had trouble finding accessible, affordable and flexible spaces, and in turn allow them to create, expand and nurture their small business with relatively low risk.

The term “pop-up” typically refers to a retail, restaurant, event or other business that opens for a short period of time in a vacant space. In downtown Cincinnati, DCI wants to provide business owners an affordable way to test their concepts in a brick-and-mortar location, as well as generate brand awareness and create a new stream of revenue.

The Pop Shop Program was created with the goal of creating a more vibrant street-level environment. According to retail recruiter for DCI, Andrew Naab, the desire is to make downtown an "experience" that can't be replicated in a mall, and is a place for everyone.

“For our restaurant pop shop, done in partnership with Towne Properties, we are looking for those individuals or teams that have experience in the food industry (food trucks, caterers, those that work out of incubation spaces like the Findlay Kitchen) and are interested in taking their concept to the next level,” Naab says.

As for what this will bring to Cincinnati? Naab believes this will give entrepreneurs the drive to continue their business ventures.

“Starting a business is hard, and expensive," he says. "DCI and the City of Cincinnati want to make it as easy as possible to get started, as our small business community provides character, sense of place and quality of life to all in the area.”

The space, 700 Elm St., has almost everything a vendor would need, down to the cookware, plates and utensils. It is over 3,000 square feet, and could be operated collaboratively with two food vendors. Those chosen for the Pop Shop restaurant will receive free rent, but will be responsible for utilities in the space.

The goal is to have each tenant in the space for about a month, starting in January.

Applications are currently being accepted for the program, and people are encouraged to visit DCI's website or contact Naab directly at andrew@downtowncincinnati.com for more information.
 


GCF provides grant funding to three local orgs for literacy improvement programs


Three Cincinnati organizations striving to close the literacy gap received grants from the Gladys and Ralph Lazarus Education Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to help take their work to the next level.

“These investments are certainly in alignment with GCF’s overall strategy of building a Greater Cincinnati where everyone can thrive,” says Molly Robertshaw, program officer. “GCF, alongside its generous donors, has invested in several meaningful ways in education, and more specifically, literacy, over the years.”

Cincinnati Public Schools received $248,000 to hire a kindergarten reading specialist for a pilot project at Roll Hill Academy, as well as for hiring a continuous quality improvement manager to focus on literacy.

“At this point in time, nearly all reading intervention specialists district-wide are focused on third graders,” says Robertshaw. “Many say that this is too late to catch kids and play catch up if they are struggling to read. The district’s leadership would like to explore moving reading intervention efforts into younger grades in order to get kids on the right track earlier, but the district needs flexible dollars such as this to test the idea before coming close to considering shifting resources.”

According to data provided by CPS, in kindergarten to third grade literacy, CPS students scored 60.7 percent proficiency on the state reading test, which was a significant improvement from 46.5 percent the year before. The goal for this school year is 75 percent proficiency, reaching 90 percent by 2020.

Madisonville Education and Assistance Center received a $35,000 grant to expand its Early Literacy Initiative, which provides year-round, small group and one-on-one instruction to students struggling to read.

“MEAC is a unique public/private partnership based in Madisonville’s neighborhood school, John P. Parker,” says Robertshaw. “Funds granted will be used to expand to serve additional students, as well as to document the model in hopes of potential scaling in coming years.”

The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative was awarded $5,000 to launch a program developed by Stanford researcher Dr. Jo Boaler to improve student confidence and outcomes in math. The Collaborative will train math teachers in CPS and Winton Woods school districts to implement the Math Mindset system in their classrooms, providing them with support and resources.

“GCF makes investments at both the systems change and program levels to drive the broadest scale change and to test promising ideas,” Robertshaw says.

In addition to these grants, GCF has partnered with The Scripps Howard Foundation and Duke Energy Foundation to invest in regional reading literacy efforts. GCF also works closely with the Success by 6 and Strive Partnership to support systems level change. In late 2018, GCF will offer a program-focused Ensuring Educational Success RFP.
 


People's Liberty announces its first round of project grantees for the new year


People’s Liberty, a philanthropic lab that brings together civic-minded talent to address challenges and uncover opportunities to accelerate the positive transformation of Cincinnati, has announced its grant recipients for the first part of 2018.

Launched in August 2014, PL has constructed a philanthropic experiment that will come to a close in 2019. Since its inception, it has awarded grants to 55 people.

Eight grantees are announced per cycle, and there are two cycles per year. Project grantees are awarded $10,000, a six-month series of launch events and access to mentorship and workspace provided by PL. The first round of 2018 winners will implement ideas ranging from artistic basketball courts and care packages to weaving together the community and improving nutrition for local individuals.

Cycle 6 winners and their projects can be found below:

- April Culbreath: Operation Comfy Chair will teach veterans how to reupholster and refinish furniture, which will then be donated to various organizations that help veterans and the homeless.

- Clayton Brizendine: Courts of Art will turn dilapidated, outdoor basketball courts into works of art where people of all ethnicities, religions and racial backgrounds can gather and play.

- Eric Gruenstein: BioChar will teach children and their families how to use charcoal as soil to produce healthy vegetables and to remove greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. His hope is to mitigate the dangers of climate change and to improve nutrition through awareness.

- Jay Kalagayan: MeSseD is an underground installation in a real service tunnel that will create a social “moment” using his comic MeSesD, which features a sewer worker named Lilliput. He hopes his project will create an appreciation for MSD employees who treat, process and provide life-sustaining water to the city.

- Simone Cocks-Charles: Campus Closet is a mobile recourse for college students from low-income households that will provide care packages and other upcycled necessities, making the transition into college life easier.

- Jeffrey Miller: Lunchbox is a lunchtime pop-up destination that will provide a diverse range of meal options using ingredients rescued from local grocery stores and farms. His hope is to educate the community about food waste and “ugly food.”

- Geralyn Sparough: Shelter from the Storm will be a large weaving shelter in a public space in Cincinnati. She hopes this structure will help illustrate and strengthen our ties to each other as a community.

- Tina Dyehouse: She wants to create an ombudsman for the Cincinnati area using social media and a blogging platform called Urban Ombuds. An ombudsman, or ombuds, will investigate, negotiate and resolve problems for individuals with a government or public agency.

On Nov. 16, PL kicked off a celebration for the halfway point in its five-year venture with Intermission. The multi-week celebration includes reflection on past grantees and projects accomplished through PL, as well as conversations about future projects to come, including the opening of a new storefront in Camp Washington next spring.

Intermission will also include an extended program called PL20, which will focus on 20 days of grantee- and resident-led special events and programs. These programs will take place through Dec. 14, and will range from hour-long to day-long projects. More information about PL20 can be found here.

PL is currently accepting residential applications for its Residency Program, including positions in design, digital, writing and more. For more information about PL, its stories and to apply for the residency program, click here.
 


UC's 1819 Innovation Hub will be where local talent and industry "collide"


Renovations are currently underway at 2900 Reading Rd. — once the Uptown home of Sears & Roebuck — where leaders at UC will soon unveil a 133,000-square-foot innovation lab for students and faculty across all departments to mingle with top business leaders, researchers, economic developers and nonprofit professionals.

Named for the year UC was founded, the 1819 Innovation Hub will be fully open and accessible by next summer. The hub is a result of a “mutually beneficial” relationship between UC and Procter & Gamble — whose Live Well Collaborative will be the hub’s anchor tenant — according to UC’s first-ever chief innovation officer David Adams.

“Let this be the place where magic occurs,” says Adams, whose team reports to UC president Neville Pinto and is tasked with maintaining the strategic vision for the 1819 Innovation Hub as an effective interface between local industry and talent. The plan is for local businesses to liaise (via Adams) with UC students from all disciplines — a format that sets this program apart from those offered by other higher education institutions.

“The vision is for this hub to be school-agnostic,” says Adams. “Engineering students, art students, nursing students and business students can work together to bring their ideas to fruition faster, in one building, and with support and mentorship from key industry stakeholders.”

The facility’s location is also strategic: It’s less than one mile from UC’s main campus, the distance research shows as ideal for student access, says Adams.

According to published plans, the hub’s first floor will house a 12,000-square-foot makerspace furnished with hand tools, 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines. The second floor will primarily consist of multi-purpose learning, event and meeting spaces. A third-floor café, coffee and food area will neighbor gallery space where student artwork and other exhibits will be displayed.

The fourth-floor simulation center will presumably be where the real talent-pipeline magic happens, with students working on real-life projects for P&G. Adams says a goal of the 1819 Innovation Hub is to begin partnering with area high schools and middle schools to reach students earlier in the education lifecycle.

Experience is another factor that shows promise for the 1819 Innovation Hub. Adams arrived at UC last July via the University of Louisville, where he oversaw the $1.2 billion financial and operational aspects of the university and pioneered an academic-industry talent funnel there.

Click here for more info, and to view 1819 Innovation Hub photos and renderings.
 


Eight must-follow Instagram accounts that rule the Queen City

As you read this, phones are hovering over heads at a concert and poached eggs are dripping with hollandaise; people are posing in front of bathroom mirrors and sweeping the vista for that perfect panorama of Eden Park. Instagram unites our city shot-by-shot, uncovering the particulars through the eyes of those who live here. As you discover #cincinnati on Instagram, these accounts might help illuminate your community in unexpected ways.



Cincinnatians have known for a long time that our zoo is one of our city’s best attractions. However, Fiona's saga has caused the @cincinnatizoo's social media to explode. The world can’t seem to get enough of the littlest hippo that made it despite all the odds.



With creative perspectives and subjects, professional photographer David Schmidt looks at the Queen City in a fresh, exciting way. With regular features like #RoeblingWednesday, @cincygram captures iconic structures as well as the lesser-known details that make our city beautiful. Alarmingly technicolor sunsets and moody shots of a mausoleum tell the story of a dynamic, if complicated, city.



Instagram exists, in part, as a place for people to put pictures of the delicious food they're eating. If you need inspiration on which meal to snap next, @cincinnatifoodie is an excellent place to start. Focusing on artfully arranged plates, the meal portraits include restaurants from a range of price points, styles and locations.



Since Instagram is so food-oriented, it’s easy to get caught up in pictures of…food. @cincinnatifoodtours is an actual tour company that features plenty of plates from the spots their customers visit, but there’s also a healthy dose of Cincy food trivia and little observations about our city. Those who like to experience food will find many local opportunities as they scroll.



As Cincinnati reclaims its glorious brewing heritage, @the_gnarly_gnome has made it his mission to capture the boom of the microbrewery. @the_gnarly_gnome documents brewery openings, new brew releases and even explores some of the wineries in the area. The account proves that the ambiance of the tap room and the bottle are as important as the beer itself.



@cincinnatidoors is a reminder to stop and remember the impeccably designed details of our favorite city. By focusing on the doors around town, this account not only encapsulates our community’s diverse aesthetic, but also the history literally built into our walls.




@dogsofcincy celebrates our canine citizenry with whimsical, often hilarious portraits and brief stories of the featured pet. The account “finds the coolest dogs in Cincy,” and so far, it's been massively successful. Followers can even lobby to have their furry friend featured by using #dogsofcincy in their own Instagram post.



@outandoutfit’s Katie loves this city and the style it inspires. Often featuring her latest grabs from local boutiques, this mom also reviews nights out on the town at Cincy bars and eateries. Though her account definitely leans feminine, she posts fashion ideas for men, too.


 


Hamilton Mill wins grant to fund four strategic programs


The Hamilton Mill received a $500,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovative Strategies program, the first award to an applicant from southwest Ohio.

“We are ecstatic about the grant,” says Antony Seppi, director of operations for Hamilton Mill. “The EDA saw our collaborative approach, partnerships and our co-applicant, the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Research, as a good investment.”

During the three-year grant period, Hamilton Mill will apply the funds to four projects. The first two are water-focus: the Pipeline H2O water tech accelerator program and a new web portal for water-space issues. The other two programs of focus are Industrialist in Residence, which pairs Hamilton Mill members with mentors in manufacturing; and the ongoing City as Lab partnership with the City of Hamilton.

“One of our first milestones will be the Industrialist xChange Portal to identify and catalog the challenges regional businesses are facing in the water space,” says Seppi. “This platform will allow water startups to search the problems and see if their technology could offer a solution.”

UC will be working closely with Hamilton Mill on the programs supported by the Regional Innovation Strategies grant, bringing their water center and technology commercialization arm to the table.

“Our water center is an informal group of over 30 faculty members working in the water space,” says Phil Taylor, assistant vice president for Research Strategic Implementation. “They are researching water treatment, reuse, distribution, conservation and aquifer structure, and represent many disciplines, including engineering, biology, geography, planning, physics and design.”

The subject-matter experts at UC will work primarily with the Pipeline H2O participants, offering mentorship, research and applied research.

“This collaboration provides faculty with first-hand experience of what is involved in being an entrepreneur and lets them learn what it’s like to work with industry,” Taylor says.

In addition to faculty assistance, UC’s technology commercialization experts will provide entrepreneurial support to Hamilton Mill members and Pipeline startups.

“It’s important to work together on these issues,” says Taylor. “The collaboration between UC, Pipeline and the EPA is just starting and will evolve as we partner more effectively. This regional initiative could have global impact.”

The Hamilton Mill is coordinating with the EDA regional office in Chicago on the grant implementation and will be tracking startups coming into their programs and graduating, and the number of jobs created from those outcomes.

“We have come a long way in three years,” says Seppi. “This grant will transform us moving forward. It is a huge opportunity to take Hamilton Mill to the next level.”


New business initiative promises to ease access to foreign markets


American companies that are looking to expand to overseas markets face a bevy of logistical and legal challenges, including setting up local bank accounts, currency exchanges and brand awareness. A new public-private partnership, Getting to Global, was created specifically to minimize those barriers.

“U.S. companies are behind in the global e-commerce arena,” says Joshua Halpern, GtG founder and executive director. “European companies are cross-border from inception. Asian companies are expanding rapidly. To catch up, we need to get the right information to the right companies, and the best way to do that is through strategic partnerships.”

The GtG Initiative combines the digital resources of Google, Facebook, eBay and Pitney Bowes with the expertise of government agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Postal Service, as well as national organizations, including the Centers for International Trade Development and Global Retail Insights Network.

“The right solutions for these companies are already out there in the market — they just aren’t aware of them,” Halpern says. “We are aggregating the massive amount of information out there and providing a targeted, appropriate response to their needs.”

GtG is targeting several large sectors of the market, including agricultural goods (health, medical and food), industrial B2B products, software services and B2C commercial goods.

“About the only thing we’re not addressing is helping a company set up their first e-commerce platform,” Halpern says. “Our partners have expertise with physical products, building global brands and international payment gateways. We provide usable, actionable information for small- and medium-sized enterprises.”

The free resources provided by GtG are available through live workshops and online videos, classes and a searchable resource guide.

“We are providing a magnifying glass, looking at successful online sellers and having them share how they went global and how it works,” Halpern says. “We are connecting businesses with a neutral source of vetted solutions. This isn’t companies presenting a sales pitch, it’s companies talking about how they use tools and services.”

As the initiative grows, GtG sees opportunities to hold physical labs across the country and build partnerships on a local and national level.

“SMEs need to understand that localizing in the current market is limiting,” says Halpern. “Ninety seven percent of the world’s consumers are outside U.S. borders.”

GtG is providing the resources to help any company anywhere in the U.S. tap into that global marketplace.
 


Fifth Third program helps prepare Shroder students for financial success


Juniors and seniors at Shroder High School are the first in the nation to receive online education on finance and entrepreneurship through a new partnership with Fifth Third Bank. Shroder received a $10,000 technology grant to fund its Finance Academy.

Fifth Third and EVERFI created Finance Academy as an interactive online development tool to help teens better understand how to manage their money and how to become an entrepreneur.

The program is an extension of Fifth Third's $30 billion Community Commitment Plan — it's part of Fifth Third’s Lives Improved Through Financial Empowerment, or L.I.F.E., program.

Launched Oct. 16, the program will teach students about a variety of elements, including banking and investing in their future.

“We're helping young students learn those basic skills in high school,” says Fifth Third spokesperson Brian Lamb.

The program will be offered in class, and students will be able to use their mobile devices to complete the program. There will also be business classes that will focus on building capital, hiring and managing a budget.

One of the guest speakers, former Bengals player Dhani Jones, illustrated to the students how he was not one of the 80 percent of NFL players that have gone broke.

"They understand the value of the game," says Jones, "but they don’t necessarily understand the value of the dollar.”

Jones says that understanding the value of money and guidance all comes from teachers and education. “If you don’t take the proper planning, have the proper mindset and understand the direction of where you’re going to go, then you’re going to be lost."

Shroder faculty members will be able to track each student's score reports and help guide them to a path of success.

“There are a lot of finances when it comes to college, like getting loans," says student Mikaela Wormley. "I feel like if we know what to do now, you have a step above everyone else when it comes to college, and then after college and knowing which job to choose versus the benefits."
 


Powderkeg's impending launch highlights Cincy's startup culture


New to Cincinnati this year, Powderkeg is a community-driven organization that hosts bimonthly pitch nights for scaling technology founders. The community helps members move up in their companies through education, media exposure, resources and technologies.

The events are formatted for three scale-ups to pitch their companies to a panel of investors for feedback. After the event, Powderkeg creates a custom piece of content about the scale-ups and their pitch, and then gets them featured in a national publication.

Through events in eight different cities across the country, Powderkeg boasts over 10,000 members; since the program's inception, $576 million in capital has been raised from 421 pitches. Pitches have been featured in national publications like Forbes, VentureBeat and Huffington Post.

Erika Kotterer, events lead for Powderkeg, believes that featuring the startups in a national media outlet helps to get the word out there about startup companies and their growth in the last decade. “We are currently in Kansas City, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Indianapolis. We are trying to expose what's going on in these cities to the nation.”

In true Shark Tank fashion, Powderkeg Cincinnati's launch event on Wednesday will feature three rising-star startups — FarmFlx, Cloverleaf and Spatial, all of which are allowed five minutes on stage to pitch their business to advisors (Dave Knox, a brand marketer; Wendy Lea, CEO of Cintrifuse; and Derrick Braziel, co-founder of MORTAR).

FarmFlx is a financial engineering software firm focused on farmland rental contracts. Cloverleaf builds great teams using assessment and other employee data to provide insight into the right people in the right roles for increased team productivity. Spatial is a location data company that uses conversations from social networks to understand how humans move and experience the world around them using AI.

Pitch nights run far and wide, and the Powderkeg staff believes that this model of startup culture will be more sustainable over time.

“Powderkeg has been hosting pitch nights for the last eight years,” Kotterer says. “A lot of pitch and tech nights attract early stage founders, whereas Powderkeg is for scaling tech founders. Powderkeg is also entertaining and fun.”

The Powderkeg launch event will be held this Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Woodward Theater. Early bird tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets can still be purchased here for $15. Tickets are limited to the first 150 buyers.
 


Local chef introduces variety, one cookbook at a time


One local chef is bringing adults of all ages together for a travel-themed potluck dinner once a month in Over-the-Rhine.

Chef and owner of the Tablespoon Cooking Co., Jordan Hamons, came up with the idea for a cookbook club from articles she read on Serious Eats and Food 52. She based her business model on other successful platforms she's read about.

Those that join, as well as the chefs, make dishes from a different cookbook each month and bring their dishes to Revel OTR Urban Winery and share with others.

“I wanted a space that was welcoming and friendly and promoted conversation,” Hamons says.

In September, the theme was French cooking. Everyone made a dish from the cookbook My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. It was about more than just the food — it was about the conversations that took place.

People started to talk about the book, the recipes they made and their travels to France or their hopes to travel to France. “You meet new people and it really encourages that type of conversation,” Hamons says.

Last month's 33-member group included adults of all ages with little to very advanced cooking backgrounds. Hamons encourages people of all kinds to cook food from the cookbooks that they would not normally cook from.

“It's like a no-risk way to try a lot from the book and find some new foods that maybe you would not have expected to like,” she says.

Hamons and some of the other chefs involved provide a few of the main dishes and pair them with tasteful wines. Anyone can sign up on Tablespoon's website and pick a dish to cook, which range from easy to very advanced. The cookbook potlucks are $30, and cover the cost of the main dishes, the rented space at Revel and three glasses of wine. The cookbooks have to be purchased separately.

The cookbook club will meet again on Nov. 7 for a Lebanese themed potluck. This time, the cookbook is Orange Blossoms and Rose Water by Maureen Abood.

“She's a friend of mine and it's an amazing book,” Hamons says. “The food is so good."

The last day to meet for this year will be the potluck on Nov. 7, but after the New Year, the potluck will return once every month. Next year, Hamons will be working on the cookbook club as well as more cooking classes and a series of tasting events with Tablespoon.

To check out what she has in the works, click here.
 

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