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Hacking Heroin winners embarking on real-time implementation


The Hacking Heroin winners recently updated the Cincinnati City Council's Education & Entrepreneurship Committee and IX Health attendees on the status of their projects.

“It was fantastic to see these two teams share their tireless work with their elected leaders,” says Colleen Reynolds, director of community affairs, Office of Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld. “I'm a big believer in the collaboration between government and the tech community, especially when a tech-based solution can help us make a dent in solving a real, challenging problem such as the opioid epidemic.”

Two of the winners, Give Simply (formerly Give Hope) and Crosswave Health (formerly Window), are actively preparing their products for market. Give Simply uses crowdfunding concepts to connect individuals with local organizations fighting the heroin epidemic; Crosswave Health created a platform to match individuals with community resources for treatment.

The third Hacking Heroin winner, Lazarus, is on hold but hopes to continue working with its on-demand service platform soon.

“These teams are building tools focused on fixing local problems, but that could also be useful nationally,” says Annie Rittgers, 17A founder and one of the Hacking Heroin organizers. “Now that they are real organizations, they have much more tailored needs and are looking for mentors, funders and partners who know the markets they are building in.”

The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County recently announced each entity would commit an additional $200,000 to fighting the opioid epidemic. These funds will be allocated to building the capacity of the Addiction Services Hotline, expanding Quick Response Teams, increasing community education and training and Narcan distribution. The City also allocated $5,000 to support further development of the Hacking Heroin solutions.

“I don't think this will be the last of a city investment in ensuring the success of these projects,” says Reynolds. “As the epidemic continues to plague our community, our Council office — along with our many community partners — believes an all-hands-on-deck response is required.”

“The June hackathon is proof that a small push like a weekend event can have enormous impact,” Rittgers adds. “The world now has two more businesses focused on making a dent in the problem, and we have a whole community here in Cincinnati collaborating in new ways that will contribute to better outcomes for everyone.”

Hacking Heroin successfully engaged the business and tech communities in the fight to end the opiate crisis. With two of the winners ready to implement their solutions, 17A is focusing on how to leverage the momentum from the June event to magnify the impact of Hacking Heroin locally and nationally.
 


LADD strengthens community with new health and wellness initiative


Last month, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled partnered with Hamilton County Special Olympics and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission to present its first ever FitFest.


The event featured fitness instruction, group exercise classes, health screenings and presentations on health and wellness. Open to the entire community, FitFest allowed LADD to showcase and expand upon its new Health & Wellness Program that launched earlier this year.


“LADD began its Health & Wellness Program as an initiative to support our staff in lowering stress and leading healthier lifestyles, and our adults with developmental disabilities in leading fuller, more connected and more independent lives,” says Kristin Harmeyer, LADD's health and wellness coordinator.


As a result of LADD's ongoing commitment to health and wellness for its employees and clients, Fit For Life (light workouts) and High Intensity Circuits, in addition to Lunctime Yoga and Evening Yoga are offered 1-2 times each week.

 

Harmeyer says she’s already seeing an impact — an impact that’s both positive and exciting.


“People who, prior to our program, got minimal physical activity are now coming up to me regularly and asking, ‘When is the next class?’” she says. “I am seeing strengthened overall confidence and life skills as a result.”


For a program that’s already seeing success, the hope is that it can continue to grow. FitFest was the largest and newest initiative for LADD, and Harmeyer says it was important for the nonprofit to host an event for the entire community because it allowed for building connections and new relationships.

“Not only was it an opportunity for diverse people to come out, learn and be active together,” Harmeyer says, “but it was an opportunity for us to forge relationships with other organizations with shared visions who have expressed interest in more involvement with LADD’s health and wellness initiative.”
 


WordCamp returns for second year, aims to provide training and networking for Wordpress users


For the second year in a row, volunteers have come together to make WordCamp a reality. WordCamp is a volunteer-run, grassroots business seminar that focuses on website development in WordPress.

According to Marce Epstein, part of the award-winning marketing strategy team for WordCamp, WordPress is responsible for hosting about 29 percent of websites on the internet, which is why it makes sense to learn about the free and open platform.

At WordCamp, attendees are able to choose different tracks to learn more about WordPress and website development. This year’s schedule includes topics like WordPress 101, search engine optimization, code review and more.

WordCamp takes a different approach than most business seminars. Epstein says one of the main differences is its affordability. “Whereas you might pay $400 for a multiple day conference, WordCamp is intentionally financially accessible to the masses."

A $40 entrance fee grants attendees access to the weekend's events, including lunch and a T-shirt.

Financial accessibility means a diverse population of people are able to attend WordCamp. Entrepreneurs, bloggers, website development teams and anyone curious about Wordpress are encouraged to attend.

Epstein says the conference is a great place for those who often work within their own silos of expertise to "geek out" with one another.

“The benefit of WordCamp and business conferences like this is the gargantuan benefit of networking. The face-to-face time is invaluable, and I find it’s a great catalyst for sparking ideas and facilitating relationships.”

Susan Rodgers, an independent website developer, agrees. “It’s a little like going to Comic-Con. WordCamp has done a really good job of getting users together to make a community. It’s unusual to have users together to share insights and advice.”

Fellow 2016 WordCamp attendees Guarav Srivastava and his sister Shweta DuMont were inspired by the energy surrounding the WordCamp community.

“It was more like a family,” says Srivastava, who runs the blog unvrslminds.com. “I could approach speakers and ask questions. Everyone was excited to be there and were very friendly."

DuMont says she hopes to be a writer someday, and WordCamp has helped her learn the tools to create and sustain her own blog. “I wanted to get into blogging but was pretty intimidated by the idea of creating your own website. It seemed pretty complicated."

This year’s WordCamp will be held Nov. 11 and 12 at the University of Cincinnati. Click here to buy tickets.
 


CincyTech's Big Breakfast not about food but startup showcases


On Nov. 8, CincyTech’s Big Breakfast + Startup Showcase will return to the Duke Energy Convention Center.

“We offer something that you won't find at any other event on the Cincinnati startup ecosystem calendar: It puts all of our portfolio companies, as well as other startups connected to our ecosystem partners, including HCDC, Cintrifuse and The Brandery, in one room tradeshow-style,” says Peg Rusconi, CincyTech's director of communications. “You can get a great sense of the regional startup landscape and meet the entrepreneurs who are building promising digital and life science companies. In some cases, you feel like you're seeing the future.”

The Big Breakfast has expanded from a hallway of displays into one of the large ballrooms, representing not only the growth of Cincinnati’s startup sector but the number of people interested and invested in it.

“We've drawn about 700 people in each of the last couple of years,” says Rusconi. “It's really a celebration of our startup community. It's great energy and it's a great way to plug into the startup scene in one location.”

The Big Breakfast is not a sit-down, keynote speaker event. Although there will be plenty of coffee and portable breakfast food, attendees spend their time in the Startup Showcase.

“We encourage people to walk around, learn about our portfolio companies, their technology and the people behind them, and also network with others, whether they're investors, business leaders or interested members of the community,” Rusconi says.

There will be a brief presentation at 8:30 a.m. to reveal CincyTech’s annual video, highlight event sponsors and hear from an entrepreneur. Mike Venerable, president of CincyTech, will share the organization's recent accomplishments and upcoming plans.

“CincyTech was created to help entrepreneurs get access to capital, to build their businesses here and to grow the regional tech economy,” says Rusconi. “We'll share our metrics and highlights from the past year, but as an organization, we are always looking ahead. As a seed stage investor, we always have an eye on the future.”

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and is free and open to the public; pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

“This is a fun, high-energy mingle-fest,” says Rusconi. “It’s a great opportunity to see how much promise there is in these startups, and that our region is home to companies working on real problems and developing solutions that will improve our world.”
 


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.
 


Fifth Third adds innovation center to break down walls within the workplace


A buzzer echoes from a circular gallery space near the entrance of ONE67, Fifth Third Bank’s new innovation center. A group of men and women — the top 100 leaders in the company — aren’t sitting around a board table muttering over “the numbers."

Instead, they’re playing a game.

Incorporating a sense of freedom and fun into the workplace is the idea behind the avant-garde workspace in Fifth Third’s downtown skyscraper. Michael Crawford is the product manager for Momentum, a free app from Fifth Third aimed at millennials to help pay down student loans. Crawford works in ONE67 every day and says the space is meant to stimulate creativity and build community.

Before its opening at the end of August, Crawford describes the space as very 1970s. “You would’ve seen a lot of offices that democratized all of the window space,” he says. “Your position in the company could’ve been determined by how close you were or how much window space you had.”

Partnering Nelson Architects with Fifth Third’s Enterprise Work Services team, the newly designed 15,000-square-foot space redefines what it means to work in an office.

“We wanted to open the space to make it feel welcoming to all, and make it an area where you can always find your own corner based upon your day, your mood, your job and who you’re working with,” Crawford says.



Everything is designed to be mobile. Movable walls run along ceiling tracks in the gallery and can conform the space to fit the needs of employees.



A large barn door closes off the gallery from the "garage space" where employees are free to work, explore, create and even play.

“From here back, all of our walls are white board walls,” Crawford says, stepping through the door. “The team is all about being raw and not about being afraid to make mistakes, which is the whole notion of a white board wall.”

ONE67 has a variety of workspaces, including private nooks with expansive views of downtown, smaller breakout rooms for 2-4 people and “scrum rooms” for larger meetings.



In addition to the unique workspaces, there are approximately 45 traditional standing and sitting desks.

“To be innovative, you have to be edgier,” says Crawford. “On this floor, we’re purposely buying more furniture so people can put their feet up. It’s all designed to conform around you rather than you around the space.”

ONE67 features various “stimuli” throughout the office like mini corn-hole, a sandbox and a foosball table. The stimuli encourage play, teamwork and creativity throughout the day.



“You don’t see people playing for hours on end, but you do see people play foosball for 20 minutes,” Crawford says.



“We’re the only part of the building experimenting with no assigned seating,” Crawford says. While employees don’t have their own desks, everyone has a locker to store personal belongings.



“Having communal places like this where teams can come together and break bread is really important,” Crawford says.



“We’re also using this space to pilot new technology,” says Crawford. “We’re working with some startups in Cincinnati, as well as some large tech firms to say, ‘What will the office of the future be like?’”



ONE67’s library is a dimly lit, quiet area with a more down-tempo atmosphere than the rest of the space. “People can come here to think,” says Crawford. “It has a lot less stimuli and is more devoid of color so it’s supposed to be calmer.”

Though ONE67 is limited to Fifth Third employees for now, Crawford says the company hopes to expand its use in the future. “The vision is to be a space for our partners to come in and co-create with us.”

Photos by Allison Smith Cohen; others provided by Fifth Third.
 


Ohio Innocence Project works with UC law students to exonerate those wrongly convicted


The Ohio Innocence Project, based at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, marked International Wrongful Conviction Day on Oct. 2 with a week of events across the state.

The expansion of programming comes on the heels of an announcement that Ohio Representative Bill Seitz introduced legislation to provide compensation to individuals wrongly convicted due to prosecutors withholding evidence.

“This will have a tremendous impact on the lives of some of our exonerees who were released from prison with nothing and with no hope for compensation for the several years of their lives lost to wrongful imprisonment,” says Rashida Manuel, outreach manager.

Among the nearly 70 organizations that make up the Innocence Network, which is a collective of projects around the country working to exonerate wrongfully convicted men and women, OIP is unique for several programs.

“While many projects use law students to help investigate their cases, OIP’s one-year fellowship allows students to have a more in-depth view of innocence work and gain substantial hands-on experience,” Manuel says.

OIP is also the only program in the country to work with undergraduate students.

“We introduced OIP-u, a program for undergraduate students, two years ago,” says Manuel. “A core group of students from six universities in Ohio — UC, Xavier, the University of Dayton, OSU, OU and John Carrol University — work closely with us to host events on their campuses aimed at raising awareness about wrongful conviction.”

One of the UC events is the annual Dash and Bash and Freedom Walk. The race raises awareness of wrongful convictions, with exonerees participating in the Freedom Walk, as well as funds for OIP’s work.

Although focused on overturning wrongful convictions in Ohio, OIP works with organizations in Europe and Asia to start their own innocence projects through its Center for the Global Study of Wrongful Conviction and the European Innocence Network conference.

In September, OIP director Mark Godsey released a book, Blind Injustice, about his transition from prosecutor to innocence attorney and the causes of wrongful convictions. The Mercantile Library will host Godsey and several OIP exonerees for a reading and talk on Nov. 8.

“A central tenet of our mission is to inform the public of criminal justice system flaws, and our hope is that as communities become more educated on wrongful conviction, substantial change can be made,” Manuel says.

As OIP approaches its 15th anniversary next year, it is celebrating its work in freeing 25 Ohioans who were wrongfully convicted, and anticipate more exonerees in the future.
 


RSCI to host first Smart Regions Conference to showcase smart cities technology


The first Smart Regions Conference, organized by Cincinnati’s Regional Smart Cities Initiative, will take place Oct. 25 at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University. The conference is open to both stakeholders and the public who are interested in exploring new technologies.

“This is a great opportunity for people unfamiliar with smart cities to learn about the foundations, hear from who is involved now and find out how to get involved,” says Zack Huhn, director of RSCI. “We’ll have an Internet of Things playground with autonomous vehicles, Hyperloop UC’s capsule and drone races. People will be able to experience things they may have only read about.”

Vendor demonstrations will also take place at the IoT Showcase, and cities from around the country will share their smart city projects. To encourage the general public to attend and experience smart city technologies, a $10 general admission ticket is available for the day (all-access tickets are $50).

“We want to show the public what we are already doing and what we could be doing,” says Huhn. “Smart city initiatives will improve social mobility, drive economic growth and make the region a more desirable place to live and work.”

A full conference ticket includes focused workshops targeted toward startups, community leaders, academics and others working in the smart cities arena. Industry insiders are also the audience for RSCI’s event during Techstars Startup Week Cincinnati (the five-day conference is free).

“Smart Cities Day really focuses on the startups working on smart cities solutions and for people interested in working with those companies or developing new solutions,” Huhn says.

The foundational areas of smart city initiatives — connectivity, mobility, security and sustainability — are already being addressed on a small scale by the private sector. RSCI hopes that by increasing public interest in smart city technologies, new investments will be directed to the Tristate, accelerating the pace of implementation.

“The Greater Cincinnati region is unique in that stakeholders in all three states are collaborating to create interoperable solutions that will work across state lines,” says Huhn. “This will set the precedent for policies related to smart region infrastructure and attract resources here.”

Smart cities solutions not only offer businesses, utilities and municipalities technology to optimize infrastructure and reduce costs, but have applications for the public as well.

“We can create better neighborhoods and communities by having regional conversations and implementing solutions that will improve the experience of residents and visitors,” says Huhn. “It could be something simple like reserving a parking space downtown or address complex issues like the heroin epidemic. The Smart Regions Conference will be a catalyst for regional collaboration.”

You can register for the Oct. 25 Smart Regions Conference and for Smart Cities Day on Oct. 12 now.
 


Cincy hosts nationally recognized TechStars Startup Week Oct. 9-13


During the week of Oct. 9-13, #StartupCincy will host Techstars Startup Week Cincinnati powered by CincyTech — a first of its kind for the city. The five-day event is free and open to the public. Denver-based Techstars is a worldwide network that helps cultivate relationships among entrepreneurs, bigcos and startups in order to help them all succeed.

In years past, NewCo and FounderCon have showcased Cincinnati’s capability and talent as a startup hub, but for Cintrifuse’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager Henry Molski, the local startup scene has never seen an event quite like this.

“This year's event rides on the momentum of last years’ successes and pushes us into a new territory, but now we're telling our own story — that #StartupCincy has some of the best tools in the Midwest for you to launch a successful business,” says Molski. “Five full days of events: more than 60 speakers, 50 sessions, five happy hours, two demo days and a pitch competition. It's a big week.”

Each day, the public is invited to see what the local startup community is all about. The entire week is free and open to anyone who is interested. It’s a time to engage with others, source talent and learn best practices, all while creating opportunities for collaboration and growth.

And it’s all happening the same week as BLINK and Music Hall’s grand re-opening, which is no coincidence, says Eric Weissmann, Cintrifuse’s director of marketing, as the arts and innovation go hand-in-hand.

It was just a few years ago that event organizers were encouraged to space things out in the city, but Molski says the concentration of events this year “is a function of how much our city has grown and continues to work together.”

One of the 60 speakers at Startup Week is Alicia Kintner, CEO of ArtsWave, who will be speaking about the arts’ role in the innovation and entrepreneurship community.

“It was our intent to overlap with the [various arts-related] openings because it shows the energy that is pumping through our arts and innovation district in Over-the-Rhine,” Molski says. “It's very vibrant.”

For him, it’s impossible to walk the sidewalks of OTR without bumping into members of the arts and entrepreneurial communities every few steps, but there are still individuals he says who may not be in-the-know when it comes to the other community.

“With all of this happening at once though, it's impossible to miss out on the connection,” Molski says. “If you're involved in one, you're involved in the other.”

Check out Startup Week’s complete schedule of events, and read about another startup-related event in this week's issue that's happening later in October.


ArtWorks "Big Pitch" finalists: Brookes & Hyde and Ohio Valley Beard Supply


Brookes & Hyde

Brookes & Hyde is an accessory brand that was started and founded on crafting the finest leather goods from the best materials in the world for life’s everyday adventures. It's a brand that sells quality and aesthetically pleasing designs to enrich the lives of each of its customers, all while creating a sense of ownership and pride when the products are used or worn.


Brookes & Hyde began as the college senior thesis of founder Connor Sambrookes, who was then studying at UC's DAAP program.

“During my final year of school, I returned to Chicago for a second internship and started to develop my senior thesis: a small batch brand focused on sourcing the highest quality leather and materials to create a product line of premium goods, made in-house, that gave the consumer a product worth their money,” Sambrookes says.

The brand was launched in 2015 and still operates out of the family garage, but Sambrookes is slowly growing and expanding the operations, constantly designing and innovating new products.

Brookes & Hyde is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where Sambrookes will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.

During the Big Pitch process, Brookes & Hyde will be mentored by Allison Pape, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Django Kroner from the Canopy Crew.

“I plan on growing the brand locally and becoming a staple within the city of Cincinnati,” says Sambrookes. “I believe that Cincinnati is home to some of the greatest makers and artisans in the country, and I want to be part of building upon that.”

Sambrookes would use the prize money to move into a larger space that would ultimately allow him to increase production capabilities. It’s currently the biggest obstacle holding the company back.

“Instead of making one belt every hour, I would be able to produce 3-4 belts every hour,” he says. “It would allow me to increase my manufacturing, which in turn would lead to more sales, which in turn would lead to hiring of local talent and the growth of the brand.”

Brookes & Hyde makes a variety of products, including belts, wallets, toiletry kits, valet trays, coasters, dog collars and some smaller lifestyle accessories. Sambrookes plans to launch a women’s line later this year and will release a bag line in 2018.

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Ohio Valley Beard Supply

Patrick Brown and Scott Ponder, the co-founders of Ohio Valley Beard Supply, have created a line of natural beard products comprised of beard elixirs, finishing balms, washes and conditioners — oh, and mustache wax.

They will tell you that they are turning porcupines into kittens, one beard at a time.

“We want men with beards to be 100 percent more attractive to whoever they want to be attracted to,” Brown says.

Ohio Valley Beard Supply is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where they will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.

Throughout the Big Pitch process, Ohio Valley Beard Supply will be mentored by Reuben Johnson, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Matt Madison of Madisono’s Gelato.

According to Brown, the business' current challenge is distribution and all that goes with shipping product and creating retail relationships. Ohio Valley Beard Supply products are in dozens of Fresh Thyme locations in the Midwest, plus a number of local boutiques.

“Our company has the potential to become something much larger,” says Brown. “We want to be in every single beard we can be in.”

With a win at the Big Pitch, the duo would be able to hire another employee to manage the distribution process so they can work on creating new retail relationships and opportunities.


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How to Attend ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank:

ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank returns for a fourth year at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Memorial Hall. Seven of Greater Cincinnati's up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs will each deliver a five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges and a live audience to compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award.

Tickets start at $10 and are available here
.

Read about the other five finalists here, here and here.
 


Hacking Heroin leaders to present ideas at IX Health event on Sept. 29


The Innovation Xchange fall program, IX Health 2017, will explore civic health technology on Sept. 29, which is organized by Cintrifuse and The Health Collaborative. Organizers expect over 175 attendees from local and national heavy-hitters in the healthcare and technology industries, such as Humana, Microsoft, P&G, Mercy Health, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Johnson & Johnson and the City of Cincinnati.

“A healthy city equals healthy people,” says Emily Geiger, managing director of Spry Labs. “So how do we get people to the right resources to address social determinants of health like transportation, substance abuse, safety, food and housing? IX Health starts that conversation across the community between civic leaders, healthcare and others about these issues.”

Previous IX Health events have been less focused on a single theme, instead exploring innovation around multiple health topics. The Hacking Heroin event earlier this summer, and its success at bringing together disparate sectors around a single issue, prompted this year’s focus on civic health.

“What Hacking Heroin showed us is that by focusing on one issue, you can address the many social determinants contributing to the problem and the technology that offers solutions,” Geiger says.

Following a kickoff talk by Ted Smith, former chief civic innovation officer at Louisville Metro, attendees will break out into three civic health salons, presented by Spry Labs, the Health Collaborative and 17A.

Spry Labs will explore on-demand, consumer-focused models in healthcare. The Health Collaborative will look at an innovative model being tested in Cincinnati that connects healthcare providers with the social service sector. 17A’s salon will feature an interactive panel on the opioid crisis.

“We are excited to have representatives from regional health systems, social services and the tech community all in the same room,” says Geiger. “Startups will demo and get exposure, and they will hear what the community needs, which could spark new ideas.”

Over lunch, keynote speaker Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Chicago’s director of civic technology and innovation, will talk about his work partnering with public organizations and nonprofits to apply tech solutions to civic problems.

After lunch, startups working on civic health issues will pitch and demo their ideas. “We put out a call to action to local and national startups that are increasing the accessibility of services,” says Geiger. “The pitches will be problem-focused using a civic health mindset to provide solutions.”

To wrap up the day, the three Hacking Heroin winners will offer progress updates and demos of their projects. The final session will be followed by a networking happy hour.

“People in the tech industry are looking for a purpose-driven opportunity in the work they do, even if it is a side project,” says Geiger. “IX Health can flip the pitch by connecting the problems with the resources and help to solve it.”

IX Health will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Union Hall in Over-the-Rhine. Click here to view the day's schedule of events and to purchase tickets (range from $50-99).


ArtWorks "Big Pitch" finalist: Circus Mojo


Circus Mojo’s Paul Miller says “there’s no business like show business,” and he should know. He has performed as a clown with the “Greatest Show on Earth,” also known as the Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus, as well as Off Broadway shows and soap opera gigs.

He is now channeling his inner (and outer) PT Barnum to start a new venture called BIRCUS Brewing Co., which is located in Ludlow. This idea is about 20 years in the making and dates back to when Miller first arrived in Cincinnati.

In 2009, Miller relocated to Ludlow and founded Circus Mojo to offer circus classes, corporate team building opportunities and special events, and to create and run the Circus Wellness Program for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

That same year, Miller also bought a former Ludlow movie theater built in 1946 to provide a home base for Circus Mojo and a venue for homegrown, non-site-specific events and productions. Now known as The Ludlow Theatre, a venue for music, comedy, plays and circus, it was recently named to The National Register of Historic Places.

From 2009-2014, the space was successful as a venue for showcases and events produced by Circus Mojo, as well as a space for private rental until it became the temporary incubator/brewing space for BIRCUS. Today, the space is under construction to better accomodate BIRCUS.

Circus Mojo is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where they will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.

The "Big Pitch" that Circus Mojo is making is to use the potential $20,000 award to take the plastic kegs that BIRCUS is made in and have them shredded, melted and poured into a mold that will be converted into spinning plates. These plates will be distributed during Circus Mojo's performances and classes, as well as to its nursing home clients and the kids at Cincinnati Children's. 

“The concept of taking our own plastic kegs and recycling them into a product that I have been buying for 20 years is gigantic,” says Miller. “Our kegs that hold our fantastic beer will be transformed into circus props and given away to people who will be entertained by our performers.”

During the Big Pitch process, Circus Mojo will be mentored by Vance Marshall, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Mike Zorn.

“Oh and another thing: Don't be afraid of clowns,” Miller says. “We have existed since the dawn of time and our goal is to make people laugh while subverting authority.”


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How to Attend the ArtWorks Big Pitch Presented by U.S. Bank:

ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank returns for a fourth year at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Memorial Hall. Seven of Greater Cincinnati's up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs will each deliver a five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges and a live audience to compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award.

Tickets start at $10 and are available here.

Read the previous profiles of 
Waterfields LLC and Handzy Shop + Studio and CGCERAMICS and Untold Content LLC.
 


Creativity and innovation to be highlighted at upcoming Maker Faire


Cincinnati prides itself on local talent, craftsmen and creatives who make, create and hone their craft all over the region. There are designers, artists, homebrewers, screenprinters, textile makers and writes a-plenty, and on Oct. 7 & 8, the Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire will highlight many of these individuals at a "show-and-tell" type event.

The Maker Faire is organized by the Cincinnati Museum Center as part of the global Maker Faire network, which was created by MAKE Magazine. Maker Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and is a celebration of the greater Maker Movement. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community by incorporating local crafters, collectors, tech enthusiasts, scientists and more.

In sharing their skills with other community members, makers not only enhance the variability of their craft but also the reach. Maker Faire uses the opportunity to showcase individual crafts among amateurs and professionals alike so that they may continue to pass those skills along to others.

Some of the makers included in this year’s festival are Careers in Welding, Choitek Megamark, OKILUG, OpenHeart Creatures, Project Build It (via the CAC) and Shari the Bag Lady.

For the second consecutive year, the fair will be held at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, and the Cincinnati Museum Center's media relations manager Cody Hefner hopes that the event will push the limits of the location this year and use it to its full potential.

Makers can still apply for a booth to showcase their chosen skill and share what they have learned through their craft. There's a separate event for filmmakers, the CurioCity Series: ShakesBEERean Film Festival, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7. 

For ages 21 and up, this includes a Shakespearean film festival, opportunities to meet with some of the festival’s makers and some of Cincinnati's finest beers.

Tickets for Saturday and Sunday, the ShakesBEERean film festival or all three can be purchased here. For more information, visit the Maker Faire homepage or Facebook page.
 


ArtWorks "Big Pitch" finalists: CGCERAMICS and Untold Content LLC


CGCERAMICS, a company started by Christie Goodfellow, creates wheel-thrown pottery with an appreciation for design, materials and process. The functional pottery, such as dinnerware and planters, can be found regionally at top-rated restaurants and well-curated shops.

“I think I realized I was passionate about making pottery because I kept finding it,” says Goodfellow, who turned her passion of pottery into her full-time profession just four years ago. “I was drawn to the process and connected with the idea of making something that is just itself.”

Goodfellow, a Pittsburgh native, moved to Cincinnati when she was working in retail merchandising a few years ago. Serendipitously, her apartment was just five minutes from a large ceramics studio where she began spending evenings and weekends honing her craft of wheel-throwing. In 2009, she began selling her work online and at local art fairs and shops.

She makes custom tableware for restaurants and individuals, as well as garden and home décor for direct orders and wholesale. Each piece is crafted with mid-range or high-fire stoneware that has a warm, earthy palette. The straightforward designs and warm tactile feel of the wares complement an artful, farm-to-table approach, just as the ware’s meditative attention to detail and minimal finishes appeal to those who fill their spaces intentionally and highly regard the beauty and purpose of simplicity.

CGCERAMICS is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where they will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.

During the Big Pitch process, CGCERAMICS will be mentored by Kaylyn Gast, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Steve Doehler, an industrial designer.

CGCERAMICS has been working out of a small backyard studio for the past five years and is looking to move into a larger space to support increased production. The $20,000 prize from the Big Pitch would enable CGCERAMICS to increase production capacity through the purchase of equipment, hiring employees and moving into a larger space. With the ability to create additional inventory, CGCERAMICS could take on more accounts and begin to create a more sustainable workflow.

“CGCERAMICS has grown organically over the past several years, and last year’s sales impressively doubled those in 2015,” says Goodfellow. “With 25 percent of inquiries discouraged with long lead times, now is the time for us to expand.”



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Untold Content, LLC


Untold Content, LLC, created by Katie Trauth Taylor, is a national writing consultancy that helps innovative organizations share their insights and establish their thought leadership through clear, thought-provoking content.

It serves government agencies, healthcare systems, scientific and technical companies, academic and research institutions and other innovative organizations that seek to establish fan bases to follow their thought leadership. Its team of expert writing consultants collaborates together with clients to think strategically and creatively about content development.

Two years ago, Trauth Taylor left her tenure-track teaching position at Miami University to focus on building Untold. Today, the Untold team creates everything from white papers and research reports to website content and book manuscripts. The range of its professional writing capabilities allows it to reach many disciplines and industries.

“This time last year, Untold was a one-woman company serving one major client,” Trauth Taylor says. “Now, we are a five-woman company serving more than 20 clients. We have proof-of-concept for our idea of a writing consultancy. There’s a definite need for writing consultants in Cincinnati and beyond.”

Her vision is to establish the company as a well-loved brand of storytellers here in Cincinnati and to work with clients at the national level. Five years from now, Taylor believes Untold will be a 10-15 member company serving clients within key centers of innovation across the United States and locally.

The emerging company is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where they will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.

During the Big Pitch process, Untold will be mentored by Robert Sparks, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Jim Stahly of Score.

The real opportunity for Untold is to tell great stories of the work being done by experts and innovators.

“It’s simply incredible to see the number of scientific and tech startups forming here in Cincinnati,” Trauth Taylor says. “So many wise, hardworking innovators are popping up in our community, and yet many of them aren’t taking the time to pause, look up from their work and tell the world about it. My strong belief is that there are endless good stories that need telling. That’s what Untold is here to do.”


Winning the Big Pitch would allow Untold to invest in a local “home” office space and to start a focused marketing campaign to inform the Greater Cincinnati business and nonprofit communities of its creative, strategic approach to organizational storytelling.

“We need an energetic, collaborative space to call home,” says Trauth Taylor. “Underwriting on WVXU, pushing a brand video on social media and hosting brand storytelling meetups in our new space will all help us inspire more innovation within and beyond Cincinnati.”

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How to Attend the
ArtWorks Big Pitch Presented by U.S. Bank:


ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank returns for a fourth year at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Memorial Hall. Seven of Greater Cincinnati's up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs will each deliver a five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges and a live audience to compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award.

Tickets start at $10 and are available here.

Read last week's profiles of Waterfields LLC and Handzy Shop + Studio.
 


New program from Freestore Foodbank provides job training in logistics, facilities management


LIFT the TriState, an innovative new Freestore Foodbank program, provides free job training to individuals interested in logistics, inventory and facilities management and transportation.

“Our goal is to end the line of people who need assistance by training individuals to get jobs in a growing field and become self-reliant,” says Kurt Reiber, president and CEO of the Freestore Foodbank.

One of the unique aspects of the program is Freestore Foodbank’s partnership with Gateway Community and Technical College, the Life Learning Center and BelFlex Staffing Network.

“Students are earning a Certified Logistics Associate Certificate while learning life skills and making industry connections,” says Reiber. “As the logistics and warehousing industry continues to grow in our community, this is an ideal time to help 'lift' the economy and Tristate families.”

The free 12-week LIFT program is geared toward under- and unemployed individuals with barriers to employment. Students spend the mornings in the classroom at Life Learning Center, where they work on soft skills like interviewing and conflict resolution, as well as prepare for the CLA Certificate exam with instructors from Gateway. In the afternoons, students move to Freestore Foodbank’s Wilder distribution center for a hands-on learning experience.

“Our staff has been a tremendous asset in working with students and sharing their knowledge,” says Will McAleenan, LIFT the TriState manager. “It’s a great opportunity to train inside a working warehouse.”

In the training area at the distribution center, students learn to operate forklifts and other warehouse machinery. The program also includes field trips to other regional warehouses, including those at Amazon and DHL.

“It’s important to expose students to the world of this industry,” McAleenan says. “There is such variety in scale and work, and getting into Amazon and DHL gives students a sense of the expectations and culture.”

Industry partner BelFlex has leveraged its contacts to bring in human resource staff to conduct mock interviews with the students. In the second half of the program, students will also attend job fairs.

LIFT is Freestore Foodbank’s second workforce development program. Since 2001, Cincinnati COOKS! has offered a free 10-week culinary training program for students who are interested in the food industry. Graduates receive free advanced culinary training through Freestore Foodbank’s Second Course program and then enroll at Cincinnati State with credits toward a degree.

COOKS! and LIFT students receive wrap-around services to support them as they complete their respective programs, including transportation, benefits enrollment and rent assistance. Graduates of both programs also receive regular follow-up from Freestore Foodbank.

“There is a clamoring for people with equipment training to work in this industry but it’s not just about getting them a job,” says McAleenan. “It’s about following up to see where they are and making sure they have the skills to keep the job.”

The first class of LIFT the TriState students graduates mid-October. Applications are now being accepted for the second LIFT class, which will begin in January.
 

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