The Garage Group helps established companies tap entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurship isn't just for startups.

That's the tagline and philosophy behind The Garage Group, a Cincinnati-based consultancy that helps large, established companies tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.

The Hyde Park-based company was co-founded by Jason Hauer and Ann Lauer, two business colleagues who left their jobs at a small innovation firm to start their own businesses.

"The concept for The Garage Group reflects what we've liked to do across the lifetime of our careers, unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup, along with the discipline and focus of a larger, established organization," Lauer says. "Our skill sets complemented one another."

Lauer spent 17 years working in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. She's experienced in strategic planning, leadership and business development in addition to marketing and research. Hauer's experience lies in business model creation and scale up, entrepreneurial and growth strategy, idea creation and project movement.

More companies are turning to this type of internal entrepreneurship to create new products and services, as economic pressures force them to do more with less, Lauer says.

The Garage Group offers one-on-one business consulting as well as workshops that help companies address specific innovation challenges.

"We work in three main areas: strategy, ideas and organizational development," Lauer says. "We help organizations develop a platform to support innovation. We look at how the organization assigns roles, how people interact with each other and company culture. There are seven different elements we look at in developing an entrepreneurship structure within a company."

The company's clients have included Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Greater Cincinnati Health Council, Nationwide Insurance, Kantar, a consumer insight company and LPK.

"Most companies don't have an entrepreneurial strategy, or if they do, it's too short-term or too experimental," Hauer says. "We can help them come up with a pipeline of ideas, drive focus and create a process for testing those ideas."

The Garage Group's ultimate goal is to help its clients create a process that allows a constant stream of innovation, tapping internal talent to grow.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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