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Entrepreneurs: apply now for UpTech’s sixth cohort


The Covington-based UpTech entrepreneurial accelerator is now accepting applications for its sixth class of data-driven startups ready to take their ideas to market.

Greater Cincinnati’s premier tech accelerator, UpTech offers a six-month program that prepares burgeoning tech companies to scale by providing one-on-one weekly advising, free co-working space, dedicated legal and accounting services and valuable early-stage feedback through its extensive investor network.

"We are now entering our sixth year of UpTech and we’re never satisfied with the status quo; we are a startup among startups,” says program director JB Woodruff.

UpTech leadership are implementing two major changes this year: a focus on health tech via a partnership with St. Elizabeth and an overhaul to its investable startup curriculum.

“We believe UpTech is an important part of our community, and St. Elizabeth appreciates collaborations with partners who also want to make our community better,” says St. Elizabeth spokesperson Matt Hollenkamp. “We’re excited to see where this leads. Innovation, entrepreneurship and technology advancements are all keys to the future of healthcare.”

Each of the 10 companies who are selected will receive $50,000 in seed funding as well as access to staff resources for graphic design, entrepreneurial speaker series, mentorship, student intern grant funding and gigabit internet.

UpTech strives to invest in data-driven, tech-enabled startups offering scalable B2B/B2G solutions in large markets. For more information on what UpTech looks for in a team and company, click here.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying to the UpTech program should schedule a one-on-one appointment. Visit uptechideas.org to learn more about UpTech, or click here for scheduling info.

 


POSSIBLE brings innovative ideas to the advertising industry


In Cincinnati, the presence of business partnerships between large and small businesses is furthering growth and bringing more innovative practices to what used to be a simple advertising build.

Local firm POSSIBLE dares to take on new approaches to more traditional advertising mechanisms. It has more than 1,500 employees around the globe with an innovative vision. Its ideas evolve with the ever-changing digital landscape to provide the full-service advertising experience from strategic planning and e-commerce to web development and analytics.

Among one of its most recent projects, POSSIBLE Cincinnati has taken on an iconic P&G brand for the launch of the ‘Febreze Song Ads.’

The creativity within POSSIBLE’s employee base shines through in these advertisements, which aren’t actually ads at all, but instead, a unique campaign that capitalizes on the growing popularity of streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora by creating 30-second song ads for the air freshener brand.

The team at POSSIBLE worked with music industry icons to write, compose and produce original songs that make Febreze sound more like a band than a brand. The ‘advertisements’ blend in with the ebb and flow of listeners’ lives by using popular genres like rap and R&B.

The first #FebrezeSong video was released on Youtube in Aug. 2015 — to date, it has received over 300,000 hits. (Check out the Febreze commercials and jingles.

At the conclusion of the campaign, the Febreze song ads had been played more than 180 million times, and listeners sought the songs out on YouTube more than 1 million times. The campaign also generated a 56 percent higher tap-through rate compared to other ads on streaming music platforms, making it one of the most successful and innovative P&G campaigns thus far.

POSSIBLE is now being recognized for its hard work and creative thinking. The #FebrezeSong ads received special recognition from the 2017 WEBBY Awards, and the campaign recently won “Judge’s Choice” and gold in two categories at the American Advertising Federation’s District 5 ADDY Awards earlier this year.

In June, the campaign will head to the national ADDY Awards, where it has the chance to be named one of the best advertising campaigns of the year.

Other companies and brands that POSSIBLE has worked extensively with include Coca-Cola, other P&G brands like Pringles, Starwood Hotels, Heinken, the MLS app, the Better Homes and Gardens app, Amazon and many more.

To keep up with more projects and innovative ideas from POSSIBLE, visit its website or Facebook page.

 


Aviatra Accelerators' Flight Night celebrates LAUNCH finalists


Stephanie Tieman of CoreStrong Fitness took home the big prize — $25,000 in low-interest startup loans — at Wednesday’s Aviatra Accelerators pitch event.

The event, which capped off a nine-week entrepreneurial support program, featured live pitches from Tieman and four other female-led startups representing this year’s LAUNCH class.

A crowd of around 150 attendees gathered at New Riff Distillery in Newport for the event, which kicked off with keynote messages from former LAUNCH winner Allison Chaney (who went on to found Bare Knuckle Media), and celebrity mixologist and businessperson Molly Wellmann.

“I knew I had something good that not a lot of people were doing at the time,” says Wellmann, who got her start serving signature craft cocktails at local venues.

Wellmann's Brands now includes an ever-expanding bevy of popular local watering holes. “You all are very fortunate to have a resource like Aviatra, where you can turn for advice and support to make your ideas come to life,” Wellmann told attendees.

In addition to LAUNCH winner Tieman’s female-centric fitness center, this year’s class of LAUNCH startups included:

  • Your Stylist LLC, a Cincinnati-based wardrobe consulting and personal shopping service focused on helping women look and feel their best. Principal: Jackie Neville
  • Allie's Walkabout, an off-leash dog care facility in Northern Kentucky that offers services from boarding and daycare to grooming. Principals: Allie, Audrey and Mary Clegg
  • Black Career Women's Network, a career empowerment and professional development resource for African-American women. Principal: Sherry Sims
  • The Healing Kitchen, purveyor of healthy foods free from gluten, soy and dairy sources from local farms. Principal: Tiffany Wise

Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures) is a nonprofit organization committed to helping female entrepreneurs achieve success and positive community impact. Headquartered in Covington, the organization also maintains offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland, serving women throughout the Tristate area.

Since launching in 2010, Aviatra Accelerators has educated and assisted more than 1,100 female entrepreneurs and awarded more than $850,000 in low-interest startup loans.
 


Food exhibit at Behringer-Crawford examines immigrants' impact on local cuisine


The #StartupCincy scene includes hundreds of entrepreneurs working in incubator kitchens or developing technology around food-based businesses. A new exhibit produced by graduate students in Northern Kentucky University’s Public History Program, Culture Bites: Northern Kentucky's Food Traditions at the Behringer-Crawford Museum explores the impact of earlier food entrepreneurs, with a focus on restaurants and businesses established by immigrants.

“We wanted to talk about how immigrants have shaped our food choices and tastes,” says Dr. Brian Hackett, director of the masters in Public History Program. “What we found was that these outsiders quickly added to the Northern Kentucky mix by not only changing our palate but also our neighborhoods. We also wanted to show how outside becomes mainstream. In the past, Germans, Irish and Catholics were unwanted here, but now they are among the leading ethnicities in our community.”

The last half of the 19th century saw waves of arrivals from Europe fleeing famine and political turmoil, including Georg Finke, who moved from Germany to Covington and established Finke’s Goetta in 1876, the oldest family-run goetta producer in Northern Kentucky.

At the turn of the 20th century, political upheaval and two world wars launched a new wave of immigration to the United States, including Nicholas Sarakatsannis, who left Greece for Newport where he founded Dixie Chili.

“From my conversations with the restaurant owners, most came here because they already knew someone in the area,” says Maridith Yawl, BCM curator of collections. “They settled in Northern Kentucky with these people and opened the restaurants to serve them and others.”

Food, its production and consumption, is something all people have in common. Family recipes, conversations over dinner and cozy kitchens are memories and experiences nearly everyone shares. The exhibit offers a historical and contemporary perspective through the lens of food on a hot-button contemporary issue.

“Food and restaurants break down barriers, creating safe places for people to meet and create understanding,” says Laurie Risch, BCM's executive director.

Recent immigrants from China, Iran and Korea have also established themselves in Northern Kentucky and opened restaurants to share and celebrate the cuisine of their homelands. These restaurants include Mike Wong’s Oriental Wok, Jonathan Azami’s House of Grill and Bruce Kim’s Riverside Korean.

“They have contributed to the community, both in terms of serving food and being good stewards and helping out various local charities and events,” Yawl says. “They have each brought pieces of their homelands to the community. They love to serve friends from their own ethnic groups and also enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and teaching them about their foods and culture.”

Adds Hackett: “We forget that we are all immigrants, and that immigrants shaped what we are now. Can you imagine Northern Kentucky without Germans or Catholics?”

The exhibit, which runs through Aug. 31, features interviews with these food entrepreneurs or their descendants, as well as artifacts from their businesses, political cartoons, vintage kitchen equipment and accessories and recipes for visitors to take home.

For more information, visit bcmuseum.org.
 


NKY Innovation Network to host writers' networking event May 11


Calling all visionaries, creatives and “writerpreneurs:” got a great idea? Come share it (and discover a few more) at NKY Innovation Network’s IdeaFestival on May 11.

The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at KY Innovation Network’s headquarters in downtown Covington. Keynote speakers include Roebling Point Books & Coffee founder Richard Hunt and Jack Heffron, award-winning magazine columnist and author of The Writer’s Idea Book.

Participants will be able to join breakout sessions that address five areas of writing: regional, fiction, memoir, poetry and travel/diversity. The event will provide an opportunity for one-of-a-kind networking with members of the local literary community, as well as developers and lenders committed to supporting tomorrow’s creative entrepreneurs.

Attendance is free, but registration is required. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Bank Foundation, with Renaissance Covington and Roebling Point Books & Coffee serving as partners.

Covington’s chapter is part of the 12-office KY Innovation Network. NKY Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED) oversees the group’s mission of building a healthy and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Kentucky.

NKY Innovation is located in the one-block area adjacent to Mother of God Church that is known as Covington’s “Innovation Alley” — the cradle of a burgeoning innovation corridor that is home to Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures), UpTech, bioLOGIC, Braxton Brewing and TiER1 Performance Solutions.

“We have a local network that is teeming with creativity and connectivity,” says NKY Innovation Network director Casey Barach. “We are beyond excited to host local writerpreneurs in our space in Innovation Alley for a night of discussion, debate and discovery.”

IdeaFestival was founded in 2000 with the goal of bringing together visionaries and innovators in the Louisville area. Since then, the group has expanded to host IdeaFestival events throughout Kentucky.

To learn more or to register for IdeaFestival on May 11, click here or call 859-292-7780.
 


An inside look at the real-world problems Studio C teams are trying to solve


Studio C has been underway for the past several weeks, as teams — now narrowed down to eight nonprofits — have conducted research and interviews to learn more about problematic issues related to poverty among the populations they serve.

They’ve also engaged in private studio time, and this past Thursday, the teams began brainstorming potential solutions as they continue to engage in design thinking and creative ideas that lead to change.

The eight remaining teams are as follows: Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, Children Inc.Churches Active in Northside, Cincinnati WorksCincinnati Youth Collaborative, NKCAC Head Start, Starfire Council, Women Helping Women.

Starfire continues to explore ways of creating an inclusive artist collective in Lower Price Hill, complete with an Artist in Residence program at Community Matters.

The NKCAC Head Start is exploring the question of “How might we build a culture of care for early childhood teachers to retain and attract professionals?”

According to Design Impact’s Sarah Corlett, co-facilitator for Studio C: “The NKCAC Head Start interviewed teachers within its own programs and found that they’re stressed — wages are too low.”

While preschool teachers love their students and love teaching, there are changes, Corlett says, that NKCAC recognizes it could explore in order to retain these teachers who make such an impact on young children.

Children Inc. is exploring the question, “How might we provide families with knowledge of, and access to, resources that can move families out of poverty?”; Women Helping Women hopes to develop a project that will prevent homelessness as a result of domestic violence.

“I want to help facilitate relationships between housing agencies or landlords and their tenants who are survivors of domestic violence so that we can keep people off the streets and in their homes,” says Cara Caudill, a crisis intervention specialist at Women Helping Women.

According to Corlett, Women Helping Women is a strong team. “When you think about Women Helping Women, you think about domestic violence survivors. But they’re looking at it from another person’s role.”

Teams will begin testing their most viable solutions in the weeks to come.

“We’re getting them to think outside of the box,” Corlett says. “And from there, we’ll move forward with our favorite idea. With 4-5 weeks left, they’ll be moving toward a reality in a quick, rapid way.”

This week, we looked at four of the eight participating teams; we will conclude our Studio C coverage in next week's edition.
 


Drawnversation helps people and businesses communicate without words


MORTAR graduate Brandon Black doesn’t believe we have to communicate with words.

“Words are a useful tool but they’re not the only tool,” says Black, who last year was awarded one of two prestigious Haile Fellowships by People’s Liberty. “Drawnversation means to have conversations through images and pictures.”

Drawnversation provides graphic facilitation and graphic recording for people and businesses looking for new ways to communicate ideas. Black defined graphic facilitation as utilizing drawn imagery and words to enhance a process or communicate an idea, so that people are able to see the ideas in front of them. Graphic recording is the art of capturing communication in a visual format.

By creating the most relevant visual representation of the presented concepts, Black believes everyone can get on the same page.

“Drawnversation is a way of thinking and doing things differently and processing information and creating an equal playing field for people,” says Black. “Even when people use the same words or terms, those words can still be interpreted differently by everyone in the room.”

Using pastels, markers and a giant sheet of paper, Black records and facilitates meetings and presentations for people and organizations around the city.

Interact for Health uses Drawnversation’s unique approach to communication to visually capture their meetings. Program manager Jaime Love says Black’s graphics not only captures the content of the meetings but shows the dynamic of the conversation.

“People are just amazed at what he’s able to capture in the picture,” she says.

Love says there are a variety of different uses for Black’s drawings. Interact for Health displays Black’s drawings in their lobby as a way to encourage and continue conversations around important topics.

“The graphics stand out versus reading something on paper,” says Love. “Brandon does such an excellent job.”

Black hopes graphic recording and facilitation will become a more accepted form of communication.

“If we continue to focus on the model of printed word as the only way to gauge intelligence, we are missing out on a lot of great ideas and brilliant minds.”
 


Internationally recognized NKY Makerspace to host World Maker & Inventor Expo


On April 29, Northern Kentucky Makerspace will host its second annual World Maker & Inventor Expo at Boone County High School. The family-friendly event is designed to celebrate emerging technology and help engage students in STEAM subjects from an early age.

“We know students are losing interest in these fields as they progress through their education,” says spokesperson Emily Greene. “By connecting them to real-world experts, and providing authentic experiences, we are fostering the interest and providing the educational opportunities for growth during each stage of primary and secondary education.”

The daylong expo will feature workshops and competitions that highlight innovations in robotics, 3D printing, drones, aerospace, coding, micro-computing, graphic design and more.

In addition, visitors will enjoy local food, outlaw derby races, drone-flying obstacle courses, a “live” BB-8 robot, Star Wars-themed rides and a solar-powered telescope demonstration by the Cincinnati Observatory.

To learn more or to register for the expo, visit themakerexpo.com.

NKY Makerspace is a regional program serving K-12 students in Greater Cincinnati through field trips, workshops, internships, events and other hands-on activities.

The program is made possible through a partnership between Leadership NKY and Boone County Schools, with support from sponsors like the NKY Chamber of Commerce and Perfetti Van Melle, a locally based confectionery manufacturer.

The program was created in response to the growing national dependence on science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) disciplines that are projected to make up about 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the coming years.

NKY Makerspace shares with its sponsors a mission of creating an academic environment to encourage “the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to think, create and build.”

The group’s facility at Boone County Fairgrounds currently features dedicated spaces for students learning about engineering, robotics, coding, 3D printing and audio-visual production. Northern Kentucky high schools can apply for credit-bearing internships through NKY Makerspace and its affiliate partners.

“The nature of our building, being owned and operated by Boone County Schools but located as an independent facility open to the entire region, makes us an incredibly unique facility and the first of its kind here in Kentucky,” Greene says.

For that reason, NKY Makerspace has received attention from the U.S. State Department and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, regularly hosting international delegations from those groups and guiding them through the makerspace’s STEAM-focused facilities.

“Generally speaking, these groups are coming to learn from our program to in turn build their own programs in their home countries,” Greene says. “Most times, our visitors leave us with wonderful insight and ideas for growth here in our own facility as well, building an invaluable international partnership.”
 


Dayton Startup Week brings startup ecosystem north of Cincinnati


Cincinnati has become a hub for startup activity, and is home to a number of business accelerators and incubators. But that energy is starting to spread beyond Greater Cincinnati.

Dayton is home to its own startup ecosystem, and the second annual Dayton Startup Week will be held June 12-16. The five-day event will offer about 100 sessions, all for free.

“Startup Week grew out of a give-first mentality,” says co-organizer Tiffany Ferrell. “It’s community driven and run entirely by volunteers. Over 100 people helped out last year. Fortunately, we have sponsors to help pay the bills and keep the event free and accessible.”

Dayton Startup Week, organized by the Dayton Tech Guide and sponsored by the Wright State Research Institute, The Entrepreneurs Center and the City of Fairborn, will feature regional CEOs, CTOs, CIOs and others who will present their successes and challenges at workshops, panel presentations and keynote talks.

With so many sessions running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily — and covering subjects like The Lean Startup Workshop: How to launch on a shoestring budget and Social Media Masters: How to create a social media game plan — the schedule could become overwhelming.

But the online registration organizes the sessions by tracks, such as funding, marketing and technology, and the app will provide a customized calendar accessible on attendees' smartphones.

“We’re trying to ensure the event is as user-friendly as possible,” says Ferrell. “Dayton Startup Week will have sessions for everyone, it’s not just for startups or technology. Anyone in business in any industry or stage of business development will find a session that fits their needs."

Attendees will be able to choose from five specific tracks: Starting Up your Startup, Funding & Finance, Marketing & Branding, Talent & Culture and the Daily Grind. 

“Last year exit surveys showed 60 percent of attendees were already in business," she continues. "They came to make new connections, to plug into the startup scene, be part of a community and attend sessions that addressed particular issues or problems they were facing.”

Dayton Startup Week is part of a global program run by TechStars, which is based out of Boulder, Colo. The inaugural event, held in September 2016, included 50 sessions and drew over 500 attendees from the Dayton area and beyond. This year's event is twice the size, and promises to draw larger crowds.

“We were looking for a high energy event to bring the startup ecosystem in Dayton together,” Ferrell says. “The TechStars model was exactly what we needed.”

Participants can register for as many or as few sessions as they’d like. In addition to the educational sessions, Dayton Startup Week will kick off each day with yoga, and will offer coworking opportunities throughout the day. Each day will wrap up with special happy hour events, including one at a Dayton Dragons baseball game.

Although the focus of the event is the Dayton startup community, several featured speakers will be from Cincinnati and Columbus, and the organizers anticipate attendees will come from a much wider area, drawn to the program by their familiarity with TechStars Startup Week brand.

“Dayton Tech Guide is working hard to create a collaborative relationship with nearby startup ecosystems,” says Ferrell. “There is great opportunity to share resources and leverage each other’s strengths.”

Registration for Dayton Startup Week opens on May 1.
 


Sewendipity Lounge shines as product of SCORE Cincinnati's minority-focused business coaching


The face of Cincinnati entrepreneurship is changing, and one local group is working to support that change.

SCORE Cincinnati has long provided free business coaching and other resources for existing and new businesses, and the organization is currently tightening its focus on female and minority entrepreneurs. Its goal is to provide one-on-one mentoring and access to legal and financial resources via experienced Cincinnati leaders from those underrepresented groups.

“Recently, SCORE increased the number of both women and minority mentors in our ranks to better reflect and serve our clients,” says executive director Betsy Newman. “Currently, 58 percent of our clients are women and 39 percent are minorities, so it makes sense for us to reach out to experienced female and minority businesspeople and recruit them as expert mentors.”

In addition, SCORE facilitates a Women’s CEO Roundtable group that consists of 12 female business owners from non-competing organizations. The newly launched group meets monthly to promote discussion and confidential feedback between female CEOs and business owners.

Karen Williams relied on SCORE’s programs and services in starting her own business, Sewendipity Lounge, which offers a wide range of sewing courses and supplies.

“SCORE gave me the confidence to do something I’ve never done before,” says Williams. “In my former job, I learned every day, but it was nothing like having your own business. What really helped me the most is having the support of other women.”

Sewendipity Lounge recently celebrated one year at its downtown location, which is roughly the same amount of time that Williams has been a member of SCORE’s Women’s CEO Roundtable.

“When you see other women doing amazing things, it gives you the confidence to try new things too,” says Williams. “Many of us share similar issues, so you don’t feel alone. I call the roundtable a ‘finishing school’ for woman business owners. You get a little hand-holding and the camaraderie of other women. It’s been a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it.”

SCORE’s partnerships with the UC Entrepreneurial Center, Aviatra Accelerators (formerly Bad Girl Ventures), Cintrifuse, the Hamilton County Development Center, Morning Mentoring, Queen City Angels, MORTAR and The Hamilton Mill have resulted in making more than $500,000 in small business loans available to more than 600 female entrepreneurs since 2010.

Upcoming SCORE events include:

  • April Member Meeting, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 21
  • Small Business Dream to Reality (Part 1), 9 a.m. to noon, April 22
  • How to Build a Marketing Campaign to Meet Your Growth Objectives, 9 a.m. to noon, April 29
  • Small Business Dream to Reality (Part 2), 9 a.m. to noon, April 29
  • Your Nonprofit Dream to Reality - What It Takes, 8:30 a.m. to noon, May 6
  • Score Presents: The Business of Food, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 8

For more information about SCORE resources and events, or to volunteer as a mentor, call 513-684-2812 or visit greatercincinnati.score.org.
 


Yearly IX event opens its doors and ideas to the public for the first time


Innovation Xchange might just be the biggest #StartupCincy event you’ve never heard of, and for good reason. When Cintrifuse launched the program four years ago — and in the three iterations since — it’s been an invitation-only matchmaking event for BigCos and startups.

“Cintrifuse saw an opportunity to draw startups from coastal ecosystems to Cincinnati to help BigCos address their challenges,” says Eric Weissmann, director of marketing at Cintrifuse. “We worked with the local CIO roundtable to find out what problems their companies struggled with, which platforms interested them and what technologies they wanted to learn more about.”

Based on what Cintrifuse gleaned from those meetings, it grouped those challenges into segments and put a call out to its network, including not only startups based in Cincinnati, but also those in the portfolios of its investment funds and other startup ecosystems.

The 70 responses Cintrifuse received for the inaugural event were curated down to about 24 companies that came to Cincinnati to pitch the BigCos on their companies and solutions.

“IX is the physical manifestation of the Cintrifuse purpose,” Weissmann says. “Encouraging BigCo innovation by working with startups; not acquiring them, but working with them as partners and vendors.”

The IX event is not a fancy RFP process or a hackathon weekend. BigCos present focused problems in areas like the internet of things, employee engagement or workforce management. Startups with existing products that offer solutions pitch directly to these potential partners and clients, hopefully resulting in new business.

“Participating in IX is a big deal for startups,” Weissmann says. “Cintrifuse is acting as the business development rep, vetting the briefs from BigCos to ensure they have resources to spend and project management systems to run a partnership. The startups do the rest.”

Although the first two IX events were extremely successful and resulted in dozens of pilot partnerships and projects, Cintrifuse saw room for improvement.

“We found that BigCos need help defining their problems and learning how to work with new vendors,” Weissmann says. “Last year, we held workshops for the BigCos to think through the challenges where they needed solutions and put together innovation briefs for startups to address. We also added a keynote speaker to talk about innovation and set the stage for the pitches.”

For the 2017 IX event, tickets to the morning program will be available to the public. It will feature keynote speaker Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies, followed by a number of breakout sessions. Owyang, an expert on corporate innovation and disruptive technologies, will speak on adaptive business models and his recent white paper.

“Attending IX will be a great opportunity for startups interested in enterprise sales to see how other similar companies are operating,” Weissman says. “The thought leadership session will also help venture capital and BigCos see what’s coming on the radar and it could serve as a sounding board or validation tool for their investments.”

Tickets for the June 22 IX event will go on sale May 22.
 


Ignite Institute to help jumpstart hands-on job training within Boone County School District


When Toyota leaves Kentucky later this year, its Quality and Production Engineering lab in Erlanger will become a regional hub for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) learning, and will be renamed the Roebling Innovation Center.

“Two years ago, Mike Goss, general manager of Toyota Social Innovation, went to the governor to discuss the legacy Toyota would leave behind,” says Dr. Karen Cheser, superintendent of the Boone County School District. “After brainstorming with the community, the idea for Ignite Institute at the Roebling Innovation Center coalesced.”

The Ignite Institute at Roebling Innovation Center, which will be owned and operated by Boone County schools, will be open to any student in the region interested in an in-depth, hands-on learning environment.

“All content areas will be taught, but they will be taught differently,” Cheser says. “An interdisciplinary approach will focus on hands-on learning and technology. Students will create, make and perform as they focus on solving real-world problems.”

Teachers for the Institute will be trained using Harvard Case Studies and Partnership for Innovative Education curriculums. They will also learn how to communicate and collaborate with business industry partners.

“Information technology, logistics, advanced manufacturing, construction technology and health science have been identified as focus areas for the program,” Cheser says. “Students will explore career pathways in one of those areas to determine their level of interest and obtain a certification."

For example, if a student was interested in health science, they would get traditional credits in math and science, but they may also want to explore the EMT career path. They would spend half of each day in the field with Gateway Community and Technical College and the fire department.

"The student will learn what it takes to have a career as an EMT and where else it could lead; they will also earn their EMT certificate," Cheser explains.

The Boone County School District has formed a nonprofit foundation to help cover the costs of serving non-Kentucky residents who attend the Insitute. They have already received $6.7 million from the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative but will need to raise more to renovate the building into a 108,000-square-foot school with a state-of-the-art fabrication lab.

The Institute will utilize 80 percent of the building, with the remaining space to be used for a community child care center, teacher training center, university practicum classes and possibly a business incubator.

“Boone County is a state district of innovation,” Cheser says. “We need a school that caters to the way kids learn now; a program that offers personalized pathways and hands-on learning that will provide 21st-century skills and in-depth career exploration that creates a pipeline to jobs in our region.”

The school is scheduled to open in time for the 2019-2020 school year. The Boone County School District is currently reaching out to regional businesses to collaborate on the project.
 


Cincinnati first U.S. city to host data analytics MeasureCamp "un-conference"


Cincinnati has been selected as the first stateside destination for a popular international gathering of data scientists, data engineers, marketers and business analysts.

Founded in London in 2012, MeasureCamp is a free event that invites anyone interested in digital analytics to share ideas, ask questions and collectively discover new approaches to gathering consumer data. The event has now attracted sold-out crowds in 14 cities around the world.

For the first time, this “un-conference” — so dubbed due to the event’s intentional absence of any formal agenda — will take place in the United States, with Cincinnati chosen as the first of two venues. (A second MeasureCamp event will follow later this year in San Francisco.)

The daylong event begins at 9 a.m. on May 13 at Cintrifuse’s Union Hall, located at 1311 Vine St.

Dave Paprocki is part of the team bringing MeasureCamp to Cincinnati, along with data experts from consumer insights firm Astronomer, Kroger Corporation and other sponsors.

“(Hosting MeasureCamp locally) solidifies Cincinnati’s reputation internationally as a hub for data and analytics enthusiasts,” says Paprocki, who also serves as director of marketing at Astronomer. “We not only wanted to sponsor it, we wanted to be on the ground floor and help to organize it.”

Eschewing the traditional conference format, MeasureCamp attendees will instead exchange ideas as a group and create on-the-spot “sessions” that could range from deeper-dive technical conversations to creative brainstorming. Organizers say all attendees will be encouraged to discuss and participate in the sessions, and each attendee will have the opportunity to lead their own session according to the info they find most interesting and useful.

"Tapping into our collective experience as a community is key to solving our personal and corporate missions in digital analytics,” says Hananiel Sarella, lead developer at Kroger and MeasureCamp Cincinnati organizer. “I am thrilled with the excitement and support we have received in organizing this event.”

Click here to learn more and to register for the event.
 


Two of Cincinnati's startup incubators announce changes


The seven-year itch usually implies a level of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, but for two Cincinnati startup accelerator programs, turning seven has inspired exciting and positive changes.

The Brandery

In 2010, The Brandery began an accelerator program to leverage the marketing and branding talent in the Greater Cincinnati region. Since then, 66 graduates have completed the program. Last month, The Brandery announced a new focus for future cohorts, emphasizing Digitally-Native Full Stack Products and startups that support those companies.

“We are playing to our strengths as an accelerator,” says Justin Rumao, program manager at The Brandery. "The expertise of our mentors, our most supportive and engaged venture capitalists/investors and the work our creative agency partners do with consumer brands every single day. Bringing in 8-10 companies that our accelerator can better speak to and support makes all the difference, both during the program and after.”

The Brandery is looking for companies that have built a physical product that they sell primarily online; startups that use artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and analytics to connect digital and physical shopping; and marketing technologies focusing on CRM, mobile marketing, analytics and sales technologies.

“We’re seeing a higher quality of application, as the companies applying now understand the value of our relationships with P&G, Kroger and other bigcos in town,” Rumao says. “Investors know Cincinnati is the place to launch a consumer brand, so the firms that are investing in this space have already taken an active interest in the region. They expect great things from The Brandery as the opportunity to invest in startups that are disrupting the Consumer Goods space grows across the country.”

The first class with this new emphasis will start June 20; applications are being accepted through April 29.

Bad Girl Ventures

Bad Girl Ventures started in 2010 to provide capital investment to small, female-owned startups. Last week, the incubator announced a new name and brand: Aviatra Accelerators.

“We saw the female entrepreneur evolve from an edgy, bootstrapping entrepreneur into a corporate woman who is leaving a really big job to pursue her dream,” says Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra. “Changing the name to a more mature, professional name meets women where they are and brands us as a more substantial player in the ecosystem of startup organizations.”

The rebranding was driven by research conducted by Northern Kentucky University and Lindner Women in Business. Brand evolution agency Hyperquake conducted additional market research and to help craft the new brand.

“Aviatrix, or female pilots, stood for pride and strength,” says Holly Shoemaker, creative director at Hyperquake. “The name embodies the feeling of moving forward, confidence, passion, strength and drive.”

The name — Aviatra — combines two Latin words: avis for bird and atria, meaning open to the sky.

“Our mission has not changed,” says Aichholz. “We just need to do it differently now than we did in the past because women have changed and the ecosystem has changed. ‘Ventures’ in the original name only represented part of our work. We do so much more. We help women from ideation to exit and everything in between. We’re here to help all women entrepreneurs, not just women who have come through our programs. Aviatra Accelerators has become a resource center for all women entrepreneurs.”

The first class of Aviatras will graduate in May.
 


First class of Pipeline H2O hosting demo day on May 18

 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve profiled the six members of Pipeline H2O’s first cohort. This spring, the 15-week commercialization program will come to a head with its first ever Demo Day.

 

Pipeline’s mission is to identify and commercialize the leading water-based startups around the world. It leverages the country’s public-private water innovation cluster to provide customers, mentors and support to its members.

 

Since February, Pipeline members have been working through their trials and successes, and will present their ideas and products to the public on May 18.

 

The water tech companies pitching on Demo Day are:

  • AguaClara, a social enterprise that designs non-electric municipal scale water treatment technologies that are sustainable in underserved communities
  • ANDalyze developed DNA-enzyme sensors to bring real-time water testing to the field
  • kW River Hydroelectric developed technology to extract renewable energy form low-level dams using their patented micro-turbine
  • PowerTech Water developed a disruptive technology platform to clean and purify water
  • Searen is using vacuum air-lift technology to harness the power of nature while streamlining water treatment
  • WaterStep International developed the “Water on Wheels” mobile unit to provide a rapid response mini-water treatment solution in the case of emergencies or disasters

Demo Day will be held at Union Hall in Over-the-Rhine. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the program will begin at 6 p.m. Pitches will be followed by light snacks, drinks and networking until 8 p.m.

 

Tickets are free, and can be reserved here.

 

Pipeline H2O’s Demo Day is presented by The Hamilton Mill, Cintrifuse, #startupcincy and Village Capital.
 

 

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