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Electric cars welcome at new dunnhumby garage


A new 3CDC development in Cincinnati's Central Business District is making a name for innovation, and it's not a new residential building or office space. It's a garage.
 
The new dunnhumby Centre Garage, located at the corner of Fifth and Race streets, is the first of its kind to include charging stations for electric cars in its design.
 
The 1,000-space garage features three Level 2 charging stations that will allow six cars to charge at a time. Electric car users will pay the same parking rate as other drivers and will have access to the charging stations on a first-come first-served basis.
 
The "green" garage idea is a response to city reports of doubling electric car usage over the past year. The reports estimate that nearly 3,000 electric vehicles requiring plug-in access are now registered in Southwest Ohio.
 
"We plan to integrate charging stations into any of our future developments that involve the construction of a new parking garage," says Joe Rudemiller of 3CDC.
 
With the construction of dunnhumby's new office space still ongoing, dunnhumby employees are not expected to use the garage until the company moves in April. At that time, about half of the garage will likely be used by dunnhumby employees. At the moment, the garage is mainly public parking and is used by valet services at the Hilton at Netherland Plaza, 21c Museum Hotel and Metropole Restaurant.
 
According to a recent 3CDC inquiry, three or four dunnhumby employees currently drive electric cars to work.
 
If the number of electric car drivers in the city dramatically increases, this garage and others like it will be ready for them.
 
"The (charging) stations are very easy to install," Rudemiller says. "We'll be able to keep up with the demand quite easily."
 

Two Hamilton Mill companies attract investor attention


In mid-December, the Hamilton Mill announced a partnership with Queen City Angels, a group of over 50 investors who are strong believers in supporting the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
 
The group's attraction to the Hamilton Mill had a lot to do with the fact that many of the Mill's manufacturing and clean tech projects fit nicely into the fund requirements set by Ohio Third Frontier. Two companies in particular that attracted QCA: kW River Hydroelectric and WaterOxyChem.
 
Founded by Paul Kling and Fred Williams, kW Hydroelectric is working on creating a micro-turbine for low-head dams. Since the city of Hamilton and the Great Miami both have low-head dams, the company has found an ideal location at the Hamilton Mill.
 
WaterOxyChem, founded by Kerry Jackson, has created a unique wastewater treatment solution that uses an aerobic environment to algae and other contaminents from forming in sewers. The solution promises to save thousands of dollars for city water treatment.
 
By investing in companies such as these, Queen City Angels is adding to their network and bringing attention to Butler County.
 
"We chose to focus on areas that made the most sense for our base of business," says QCA Executive Director Scott Jacobs. "We have so much expertise within our group that I can find Angels that will immediately know and understand the types of business the Mill is trying to attract."
 
The lead angel on this project, John Bruck, happens to be the owner of an environmental engineering firm, BHE Environmental. With a career focused on renewable power consulting, Bruck has worked as a project manager for both the EPA and the Federal Energy Administration (FEA) and has been active in groups such as the American Wind Energy Association. With his skill set behind them, the Hamilton Mill's clean tech emphasis will likely grow considerably over the next several years.
 
"His background in perfectly suited for Hamilton Mill," Jacobs says.
 
CB Insights recently recognized QCA as one of the top two private seed-stage venture capital investors in the United States. With this new partnership secured, the Mill will now have access to numerous mentors like Bruck as well as other regional resources.
 

Hamilton County Development Center changes name, honors champion of minority entrepreneurs


The Hamilton County Development Company has rebranded once again. The Norwood center, which encompasses an incubator (the HCDC Business Center) as well as economic development and lending service providers, will now be known as HCDC, Inc.
 
"We are branding as a single entity instead of having three names for our three different economic development programs," says Bridget Doherty, marketing and communications director.
 
On the same day they announced the rebranding, Jan. 16, HCDC, Inc. honored Mel Gravely, longtime supporter of minority entrepreneurs, with the Larry Albice Entrepreneurship Award. The award is given yearly to successful entrepreneurs who have given back to the community and is named after former HCDC chairman and board member Larry Albice, who played a considerable role in the expansion of the Business Center and received the award in 1998.
 
Gravely, who is responsible for starting the Minority Business Accelerator, is a published author on the topic of race in business. His passion for supporting women and minorities in their business ventures has characterized his work for decades. He's currently the majority shareholder, president and CEO of TriVersity Construction Company, which specializes in construction management, contracting and design. He also founded the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, a think tank for minority business initiatives. And he's the immediate past chair of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce. The list goes on.
 
"Mel is the type of leader who puts others in the limelight," says David Main, president of HCDC, Inc. "We thought we would shed some light on him and his outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship. He has dedicated his life to helping others innovate and achieve."
 
Gravely's recognition came at HCDC's annual meeting, where the organization presented its annual business awards, including awards for lending, economic development and HCDC resident company of the year. Startup Get Noticed Get Found received the resident of the year award, with lending awards going to Fifth Third, Huntington and Listermann Brewing Co.
 

New Findlay Market public art project seeking artist proposals


Findlay Market is next in line for a major public art installation.

The site is the western plaza and esplanade of Findlay Market, next to Elm Street and steps away from the site of a future streetcar stop.

An artist for the permanent work is expected to be selected this summer, with installation in Spring 2016.

"Hopefully it will become something that people everywhere will recognize as Cincinnati’s icon, something we’re all proud to share with the world," says Tim Maloney, president of The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

In late 2013, Maloney announced the Haile Foundation would spend $600,000 for three public art projects over three years. He was inspired  by public art he had seen in other places — Denver’s "I See What You Mean" by Lawrence Argent, a large blue bear peeking into that city’s Convention Center, and Chicago’s Millennium Park "Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor, also known as "the Bean" — and believed Cincinnati needed public art that would be a strong symbol for the city.

The first of the three Cincinnati projects, Tony Luensman’s neon "CAMPGROUND," was installed on the western wall of the Cincinnati Art Museum last fall. It was supported by both the Haile Foundation and Macy’s.

ArtWorks Cincinnati, which is administering the Haile Public Art Fund, has put out a call for artists’ concepts for the $150,000 project, with proposals due Feb. 15. Two to three artists or teams of artists will be selected as finalists and paid $500 to develop design proposals. 

Criteria for the Findlay Market project: It should complement the market and its iconic status in Cincinnati, it should delight and leave a lasting impression, it should have "visual gravity" and it should be made of durable materials. The chosen project will have a budget of $140,000 for full design, fabrication and installation, plus $10,000 in a maintenance fund.

See the project's "call for artists" website for more details.
 

City's new CPO to bring Baltimore's city innovation lab model to Cincinnati


Cincinnati's new Chief Performance Officer has had the public service “bug” since he was a kid.

Chad Kenney grew up in Pennsylvania, where his dad worked for both the local township and county. When Kenney left home to study math at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he found that he shared his father’s passion for public service. He started tutoring local kids for the SATs and became enamored with a local school there.
 
“I was interested in Baltimore as a city with a lot of issues,” Kenney says. “I realized that education was at the center of it.”
 
Johns Hopkins had a partnership with Kenney’s school, called the Academy for College and Career Exploration, so he found himself there quite often. After he graduated, he knew he wanted to work there full time. He taught math at the school for two years through a local Teach for America program.
 
“It was incredibly challenging,” Kenney says. “I knew I couldn’t work there for a third year, but I still wanted to be involved in service of some sort.”
 
Fortunately, the Baltimore CitiStat office was hiring. Tasked with making the city faster, cheaper and better in general, Kenney found himself overseeing city functions like transportation, housing and the police force.
 
“I loved that job,” Kenney says. “To be able to learn about a variety of city operations and add my mathematical and analytical capabilities … it was a great experience.”
 
When Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black was hired in 2014 from Baltimore, where he served as Finance Director, he decided that he wanted Kenney to be a part of his plan for our city. So Black created Cincinnati’s new Office of Performance and Data Analytics and brought Kenney to town.

“(Black) has a comprehensive vision for how (performance management) should look,” Kenney says.
 
Unlike Baltimore, which already had differing, hard-to-integrate systems in place, Black and Kenney came to Cincinnati and were able to start from scratch. The Office of Performance and Data Analytics’ primary role will be to provide city residents and businesses with better customer service, faster services, cheaper services and efficient and effective city services.
 
On Kenney’s plate over the next few months is designing and building the city’s new CitiStat Innovation Lab. The lab, modeled after the one Kenney worked with in Baltimore, will provide analysts, researchers and city problem-solvers with dedicated space to confront real city problems — from trash collecting to efficient permitting services.
 
“We’re going to take different processes and get everyone in a room together and deconstruct the problem, then put it back together and streamline it,” Kenney says of the lab.
 
The space should be fully functioning by spring. For now, Kenney is spending his time creating a professional foundation with the other 18 departments and familiarizing himself with the 122 city programs already in place.

Outside of work, he and his girlfriend are enjoying their East Walnut Hills home and getting to know the city one recommendation at a time.
 
Findlay Market has become a part of our weekly routine,” he says. 
 

New accelerator Ocean sets the record straight on religious affiliations


Since Cincinnati accelerator Ocean announced its flagship class of startup companies in December, the phrase "faith-based" has been bounced around quite a bit. Though the accelerator's website uses the term and local media have deemed them a "faith-based venture," co-founder Tim Brunk says that the term may be getting more attention than it should.
 
"This is a high-tech accelerator," Brunk says. "This is not a mission. We are here to bring jobs. We're here to help the kind of people who are going to build hospitals and create jobs."
 
If anything, Ocean seems to be more of a faith-integrated startup accelerator. Though the founders — Brunk, Tim Metzner and Chad Reynolds — are all Crossroads church members, Ocean isn't a church program. The accelerator has partnered with Crossroads due to the overwhelming support the three got from the 25,000-plus congregation members and the organization itself. Ocean also uses space on the Crossroads campus in Oakley to conduct its operations.

Though the founders may feel a theological tie to Crossroads' mission, such a tie or connection isn't required when recruiting startups and definitely not when recruiting investors.
 
In fact, Ocean's new class actually includes two self-proclaimed agnostics.
 
"All we ask is that they are willing to explore," Brunk says. "Religious involvement is not a requirement."
 
The accelerator's main goal is to create startup founders with character — ones that investors can truly trust with their money. Generosity, honor, intelligence and integrity are all qualities Ocean hopes to foster alongside their business-related curriculum.
 
"Faith is a foundation, not a guarantee," Brunk says. "We foster a belief in respect, of not taking advantage of or exploiting others."
 
When asked if the companies that come out of Ocean would perhaps be at a disadvantage without the dog-eat-dog mentality that can lead to Fortune-500 status, Brunk shakes his head.
 
"There's a perception that good people are naïve, and a lot of times, unfortunately, that assumption is true," Brunk says. "But I see (our program) as putting our companies at a significant advantage, not a disadvantage."
 
To the Ocean team, success is measured by more than money. If its startup founders can find a way to build balanced, successful personal lives alongside their steadily-growing businesses, the accelerator will have done its job.
 
The thing that makes Ocean unique from other accelerators — and the part that earned the term "faith-based" — can be found in its supplemental curriculum. The session speakers include CEOs who have gone through tumultuous marriages due to their never-ending hours at work discussing faith, family and community with startup founders. Some members of the Ocean class go to church, others do not. As for the Ocean founders, all they want to do is open doors.
 
In the meantime, Brunk is tasked with finding the types of investors who are looking for a well-rounded, likable, trustworthy individual or team. He spends his time connecting with investors and making sure that the companies who have signed on are receiving the highest quality business education possible.
 
Though Brunk did quote the Gospel once during our interview, it's apparent that the label following Ocean may not be entirely accurate. Right now, the accelerator is in its second week of what is best described as "business boot camp," getting their companies ready for any investor that could walk through the door.

Just like any accelerator, they're most interested in making sure their companies are poised for success. The accelerator plans to have weekly practice runs with potential investors to make sure their companies stay on their toes. If they emerge as better people, that bodes well for the future.
 
"This is still an experiment," Brunk says. "We still don't know if it is going to work. But if we can succeed in creating a dialogue, well, that's all we can ask for."
 

Mt. Notre Dame students named "Best in State" in national mobile app challenge


A team of young women from Mt. Notre Dame High School in Reading was recognized last week for creating a mobile app concept that helps students with productivity.

Out of 90 teams across the state, the "Do It" app — designed to combat student procrastination and disorganization — proved best in show in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. In conjunction with the Technology Student Association, the challenge aims to bolster student interest and involvement in science and technology while bringing the winning student-designed apps into the Google Play marketplace. With the constantly growing market for tech-related jobs, Verizon is targeting middle school and high school students in order to pique their interest early on.
 
Mt. Notre Dame's state title earns them a ticket to the regional competition. Winners will be announced Jan. 16 and will each receive $5,000 in grants to allow their respective schools to continue to develop their science, technology, math and science programs.

"Best in Nation" teams will be recognized in early February and awarded with the opportunity to learn coding and app development from MIT App Inventor Master Trainers. The cash prize for the "Best of Nation" teams is $15,000, plus the chance to make their vision a reality.

 

UpTech event to connect startups with jobseekers


For many Cincinnati jobseekers, finding a coveted position at one of the many growing startups here could begin with a simple trip across the river.
 
On Feb. 9, Covington-based UpTech will host an event that everyone at the accelerator hesitates to call a "career fair." Instead it's dubbed UpLink, which will attempt to bring together enthusiastic job seekers and the startups that desperately need them.
 
From 4-7 p.m., attendees will snack on appetizers and wander from booth to booth, checking out what each startup has to offer. Most of the companies are seeking freshly graduated developers, tech specialists or marketing gurus; all of them are looking for creativity.
 
"We want the doers and the innovators," says Abby Ober, Program Associate at UpTech who's organizing the event with Alyssa Jones. "We want the kids who take initiative."
 
The list of startups in attendance in still growing, and UpLink will likely accept company applications until the day of the event. Though several UpTech startups have signed up — Tixers, linkedü?, Seesaw — UpLink hopes to recruit companies from accelerators across the area. Specifically, they're looking for companies in their first five years of existence with a need for paid help.
 
As for the startups themselves, leaders are looking for the kind of people who are moldable, willing to learn and ready for a slew of different responsibilities.
 
"If you can't take punches, then this isn't for you," says Alex Burkhart of Tixers. "You have to have an appetite for risk."
 
Candice Peters of Seesaw is looking for a similar type of candidate. "We want someone outgoing, a jack-of-all-trades who is able to switch gears every 10 minutes," she says.
 
Since the event takes place on a Monday, UpLink organizers say they're catering specifically to students in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.
 
The event promises a casual atmosphere that reflects the startup vibe. That said, students and other jobseekers should dress for an interview. There will be a photographer in attendance offering free LinkedIn headshots.
 
All available jobs are paid but not necessarily full time. Most positions are hourly without benefits, though that's not always the case. Many startup associates, like Ober and Jones, have other jobs on the side. That said, the experience at a small, growing company is invaluable.
 
"Startup culture is awesome," Jones says. "There's really nothing else like it."

UpLink is located at 112 W. Pike St. in Covington.
 

Thinking outside the sandbox: Startup Cintric's journey through The Brandery


Cintric, the Cincinnati-based startup that's created a platform for mobile integration of location services, is a prime example of how much can change when a company joins an accelerator.
 
When Cintric founders Rhett Rainen, Connor Bowlan, Joel Green and Erwan Lent first entered The Brandery last summer, they had two different companies with slightly overlapping goals. Rainen and Bowlan were working on a fashion and beauty advice platform called Lookit that eventually transformed into a location-based notification app; Green and Lent hoped to create an app for location-based chatrooms called Shoutout. When the four creative brains met at The Brandery, it became clear that something bigger was possible.
 
"I think the value of The Brandery for us was less about driving our vision forward and more about providing a sandbox to experiment and clarify what that vision was," Bowlan says. "There’s a pretty unique opportunity to explore when you’re given a small chunk of funding and are surrounded by some of the most creative and intelligent people you’ll ever meet."
 
Rainen and Bowlan were impressed with Green and Lent's remarkable enginnering capabilities and began collaborating on a few side projects. Before long, their friendships evolved into a well-oiled idea machine, and out of that Cintric was born.
 
Cintric's initial goal is to solve the problem many smartphone/mobile device users have when using location services: a draining battery. By using an innovative drag-and-drop interface, Cintric's platform allows developers to build location components into their apps with minimal effort.
 
Cintric is also focused on making it easier for companies with applications to track who and where their users might be by building the apps in a much more efficient way.
 
As for the team itself, Cintric is made up of a French whiz-kid (Lent), an iOS engineer with incredible dental hygiene (Green), a bearded behemoth with mad financial projection skills (Rainen) and Bowlan, who is "terrible at describing himself."
 
"I tend to think of our team as a bunch of mavericks," Bowlan says. "I think a lot of folks were unsure of us at the beginning of The Brandery program due to our age (the oldest is 25) and willingness to take big swings and throw things out if they weren’t working."
 
The company is in the process of closing out its seed round of funding. Over the next few months, the Cintric name is likely to make its way to the forefront in Cincinnati's startup scene.
 
"We’ve got some pretty ambitious and unorthodox projects launching in the next few months that should do a good job of showcasing how we’re not afraid to think outside the box," Bowlan says.
 

Xavier's new Center for Innovation opens for students this week


On Thursday, Jan. 8, Xavier University students will get their first peek at the newly-completed XU Center for Innovation.
 
Over the past several months, the Physical Plant at Dana and Woodward on Xavier's campus has been transformed into a functioning cross-disciplinary space. This week, Xavier RA students will be the first to use the remodeled building as part of their RA training curriculum, which involves an innovation/problem-solving workshop.
 
The Center's purpose is to provide a home base for a newly rebranded and refocused innovation program at Xavier. The center will include classrooms for students as well as workspace for corporate clients and startup companies who come to Xavier to learn how to make their businesses more innovative.
 
The Center's Executive Director, "man on fire" Shawn Nason, is responsible for creating the training program, which is geared to helping organizations up their game.
 
"Shawn is a black belt in innovation," says Mary Curran-Hackett, Innovation Curator at the Center. "Companies that want to learn how to be more innovative are in good hands with him."
 
These programs aside, the Center will also provide open workspaces for professors and staff who are involved in the new School of Arts and Innovation, directed by Tom Merrill, a longtime Xavier faculty member. As a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Arts and Innovation will offer classes in Innovation, Art, Digital/Video/Film, Music and Theater and Rapid Prototyping/Human-Centered Making. They also offer a minor in Innovation Engineering for students majoring in other fields.
 
As for the space itself, the Center maintains the minimalist, industrial character of a warehouse. High ceilings, exposed pipes (painted navy blue, white and gray of course) and a utilitarian feel make it ideal as a center for thinking and development. The modern décor includes Ikea furniture assembled by the Center staff themselves. The team's willingness to quite literally put their sweat and tears into this building only further evidences the passion and determination each member feels for the cause.

When all students return to campus on Jan. 12, the Center for Innovation will be ready for them. An Open House for Xavier students, faculty and community members will be held 2-6 p.m. Feb. 4 to provide a formal introduction to what the space has to offer.

 

Cincinnati Children's to host its first-ever Innovation Showcase Jan. 6


On Tuesday, Jan. 6, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association kick off the new year with a glimpse into the hospital's numerous contributions to the buzzing innovation scene in Cincinnati.
 
The Cincinnati Children's Innovation Showcase is an all-day event set to take place on the medical center's main campus in Avondale.
 
The event hopes to bring together the hospital's innovators, including researchers and clinicians, with people in the startup and venture capital community. The showcase will announce three separate funding opportunities for inventors and innovators who are looking for a way to get their ideas off the ground.
 
"This is our first year doing anything like this," says Children's Hospital's Michael Pistone. "In terms of innovation and commercialization, we're continuing to strategically partner with (the medical) industry and the venture community to form smart collaborations that allow our promising discoveries to advance toward a commercial endpoint."
 
Cincinnati Children's already boasts three successful startups: Assurex, Airway Therapeutics and Enable Injections. The CEOs from these companies will be speaking at noon during the Innovation Showcase, discussing the relationship between startup CEOs and the inventor. A number of other interactive sessions held throughout the day will feature hospital staff along with a number of leaders in scientific impact from across the country.
 
As for the upcoming year, Children's is currently focused on gene therapy as a treatment for sickle cell disease. Cincinnati Children's Punam Malik developed this specific type of gene therapy in 2014, and it will be entering its clinical trial in the coming months. Genomics, which focuses on gene variations, the human genetic code, our surrounding environment and the variety of diseases we contract, is also a significant focus area with room for innovation.
 
"We see Children's as both a research engine as well as an innovation hub," Pistone says. "We're seeing more and more health IT, which presents new opportunities for the region."
 
Cincinnati Children's, Pistone says, is an ideal partner for IT companies, as the hospital can offer the innovation scene a variety of collaboration opportunities.
 
The showcase's emphasis on bringing "the bench to the bedside" is made possible by the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, which is promoting the event. GCVA is an active participant in the startup community, regularly hosting networking events and meetups for players in the Cincinnati startup scene.
 
"The mission of GCVA is to connect funders and founders," says Vance VanDrake, president of the association. "We are excited to promote Cincy Children's first Innovation Showcase as it fits perfectly with our mission."
 
The event will take place 8 a.m.-7 p.m. in the medical center's "S" building. Both breakfast and lunch will be served, and registration is required for many of the day's sessions. Prospective attendees can sign up for specific sessions here.
 

Son of legendary Cincinnati barber opens upscale men's grooming shop

For over 60 years, the Salzano family has cornered the men’s grooming market in downtown Cincinnati. After emigrating to the U.S. from the Abruzzi region in Italy, Nicolino Salzano built a strong following at his Fourth Street barber shop, Salzano’s. Sons Guido, Angelo and Domenico have all been in the business since they were kids.
 
This week, in the recently-vacant space next to the barber shop in Atrium 1 of the Omnicare Center at Fourth and Main streets, one of the Salzano boys is taking a swing at cornering another market: men’s grooming products.
 
Industry-savvy Guido Salzano is set to open G. Salzano’s, a men’s grooming product retail store where his father’s customers can find the high-quality products the Salzanos use for their hot lather shaves and hair cuts.
 
With the help of his father, Nicolino, and his two brothers, Angelo and Domenico, Guido hopes to provide a hip, swanky space for men to find everything they need to look sharp. Hoping to give the place an “old world feel,” Guido’s retail space will feature a chandelier, comfy leather chairs and an old antique barber chair as a centerpiece.

The products on the shelves will include skincare and hair care products from Baxter, a California company, as well as German-made brushes, razors, after-shave and shaving cream from MÜHLE. The store will also feature products from Taylor of Old Bond Street out of London, the only retailer in Cincinnati to do so.
 
Eventually, Guido plans on releasing his own line of men’s care products to sell on the shelves. For now, it’s about creating an experience for his customers that goes far beyond that of Art of Shaving or any other retailer in the category.
 
“I want this place to be for every guy,” Guido says. “Athletes, CEOs, teenage hipsters, common folk like myself. Everybody.”
 
The shops hopes to attract customers of all ages who want more from their grooming experience. In addition to selling men’s hygiene products, G. Salzano’s will also feature items like pocket squares and cufflinks. It’s a shaving store, but with a twist.
 
In addition to drawing in shaving enthusiasts, barber shop customers and Christmas shoppers, Guido also sees his shop as the perfect venue for a groomsmen’s party.
 
“We’ll feed them, drink them, give them a great razor shave and have them check out the store,” Guido says. “I mean, a real badger hair shaving brush? That’s a great groomsmen’s gift.”
 
More than anything else, Guido sees his store as a product of the decades of hard work the Salzano family has put into their business. Though he's opening the store in his name, his brothers, father and uncle all played an important part in making his vision a reality.
 

Local tech company enosiX raises $4.25 million to simplify mobile app development

Another Cincinnati company is taking full advantage of the tech development market, working to fix a key mobile app downfall.
 
enosiX, a Cincinnati-based software company known for their developer-friendly "Framework" for mobile app creation, has a $4.25 million price tag on their first round of funding. Just last week, the company announced its success at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Las Vegas. The company was formed in August at the Chiquita Building, 250 E. Fifth St., downtown.
 
enosiX's software solves the primary problem many modern mobile application developers face: integrating SAP (systems, applications, products). Many Fortune 500 companies use SAP for data inventory and inventory management, among other things, but many modern social applications for your smartphone and other devices don't connect to SAP. If a company wants to access their SAP data system, they can't do so on a mobile app — enosiX is trying to fix that problem.
 
By creating this Framework solution, enoisX is allowing big companies to connect their apps to SAP, therefore eliminating the need to train SAP specialists or pay to hire a SAP-knowledgeable employee. In essence, it's a heaven-sent solution for the development community.
 
The $4.25 million investment came from a variety of sources, including Allos Ventures and Mutual Capital Partners Funds. With the money, the company hopes to increase its staff (now at 15) and expand globally. The solution already has clients in Europe, and founders Gerald Schlechter and Philippe Jardin are currently talking with potential clients in the U.S.
 
Schlechter is a native of Austria who moved here in 2005 to work for Swarovski Crystal. He met his wife, a Cincinnatian, in 2006 and continues living here today. With a background in SAP and experience that crosses international borders, Schlechter decided to start building enosiX's framework after running CNBS, his own consulting company, for a few years.
 
Jardin hails from South Africa and was put in contact with Schlechter when the idea of the enosiX Framework was in its infancy.
 
"Philippe knew the right people, he knew how to start this kind of business," Schlechter says.
 
The company is constantly hiring, Schlechter says, particularly those knowledgeable in SAP and .NET developers. They hope to reach 40 employees over the next year.
 

Making moves: NKU launches startup resource center for young entrepreneurs

Over the past month, Northern Kentucky University has been quietly expanding resources for students interested in innovation. The iNKUbator, a summer program that provides mentoring, financing, workspace and connections to the startup community for select entrepreneurship students, is now in its third year of operation; the first class raised over $1 million in investments.

The program's success aside, founding director Rodney D'Souza wants the university to do more for startup hopefuls.
 
After starting NKU's innovation program in January 2014, D'Souza's emphasis on applied programs is what has led the university to bring in yet another resource.
 
Called "iNKUreka," NKU is now providing a year-round space for students and community members who want to jumpstart their startup idea. The space features a tool called IPAC (the Intellectual Property Awareness Center) that allows individuals to search a large database to discover if their idea is worthy of a patent.
 
"Instead of hiring a lawyer, which can get expensive, they can do this for free right here on campus," says D'Souza.
 
iNKUreka also features a law clinic staffed by students and faculty from NKU's Chase Law School that offers legal help focused on small business development. Kentucky's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is also a part of the equation, specifically when it comes to involving the community. In addition to these features, the program features a physical space where students can work to develop their ideas.
 
Beyond iNKUreka, D'Souza's involvement has also led to programs like iNKUbiz, which links students to in-school jobs that actually relate to what they're studying.
 
"Small companies need interns," D'Souza says. "We put students on those projects and make sure they're getting paid, just like any other in-school job."
 
NKU is also trying to expand their influence by offering three-day entrepreneurship camp over the summer for high school students. In doing so, the university has found a way to bring students to campus who may not otherwise consider NKU as an option.
 
"Not many people know about what's going on here," D'Souza says. "There's been a big push to inform (the tristate area) of NKU's potential."
 
At the very least, iNKUreka and the other developing entrepreneurship programs send a message that NKU means business.
 

Cincy Startup Store brings local online retailers to Over-the-Rhine


The Cincinnati startup community is riding to the rescue this Saturday to save last-minute shoppers from their holiday woes.
 
Seven companies will post up on 13th Street in Over-the-Rhine that day, their tangible products in hand and ready to sell. The event, called the Cincy Startup Store, is the first of its kind in the area and takes place at Simple Space, an all-purpose, revolving use venue designed to be the "Airbnb for retail space." The 600-square foot venue was recently remodeled by Levi Blethune to accommodate these types of collaborations and make them affordable to just about anyone who hopes to use them. The Cincy Startup Store is one of the first few events to put the space to use.
 
Kapture, Cincinnati's audio-wristband startup, will be hosting the shopping event. The company has recently gained attention for its appearance on The Price Is Right for its new wearable technology. Kapture's product helps consumers record audio after-the-fact by constantly recording audio data on a 60-second loop wherever the wearer goes. The Kapture wristband, in its many different colors, will be just one of the items on sale at the Startup Store.
 
Other companies expected to appear are Artfully Disheveled, a local tie, bowtie and pocket square designer and retailer; PlusBlue, who will be selling custom engraved mobile battery packs; Frameri, an online eyewear retailer that came out of The Brandery; Petbrosia, a custom pet food company who recently opened an office in Over-the-Rhine; Beluga Shave Co., the one-man company responsible for an easy-to-use single blade razor; and GoSun, makers of portable solar stoves that have already gained international attention.
 
This year marks the fifth anniversary of Small Business Saturday in Cincinnati, but it's the first time startups have been included in the equation.
 
"We're hoping there will be many more like it," says Stephanie Johnson, marketing and business development manager at Kapture.
 
Cincy Startup Store will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at 16 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine. The event is sponsored by several well-known Cincinnati startup supporters, including Cintrifuse, CincyTech, Hamilton County Development Co. and The Brandery. 
 
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