Main Street Ventures forges path for aspiring entrepreneurs with 1819 Innovation Hub

Student teams from University of Cincinnati, Miami University, and the University of Dayton converged on Union Hall in early February. They showcased their business ideas in the third annual Launch It: Cincy pitch competition, sponsored by Kao USA Inc. Kao USA Inc has been the main partner/sponsor of the competition from its start. PhizzIO, The Recipe Book, and Silux snagged the top spots, earning themselves a prize package worth over $28,000.

Over the course of two summer months, the founders of these three businesses will be in a Main Street Ventures Accelerator program designed to allow them to focus on their work. From office space to mentoring and finance support, they'll have everything they need to turn their dreams into reality.

MSV’s mission of nurturing talent and fostering innovation fit hand in hand with 1819 Innovation Hub and helped lead to collaboration between the two.

Abby Over, Main St. VenturesAbby Ober, Director of Engagement at MSV, described this partnership as an answer to two questions at the heart of MSV’s work. ”How do we keep great talent from our regional universities in the city for years and decades to come? How do we build a strong pipeline of entrepreneurs?”

They’re questions that impact much more than the undergraduates at our regional universities. The local economy, businesses, neighborhoods, and communities are all impacted when a young adult with great potential decides to stay or leave the city.

In addition to being a geographically centered location for their grant recipients, the 1819 Innovation Hub offers MSV access and opportunities to partner with students as undergraduates and immerse them in the vibrant Greater Cincinnati startup ecosystem.

“We are inspired and energized by the innovation and talent we have seen from student entrepreneurs in our region,” said Sean Parker, executive director of Main Street Ventures.

The three winning teams of the pitch competition will be rubbing elbows with the best and brightest in Cincinnati's business community, thanks to MSV's recent partnership with 1819 Innovation Hub at the University of Cincinnati. Main Street Ventures joins powerhouses Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Fifth Third Bank, and Kao USA Inc. in the heart of innovation, bringing their expertise right to the doorstep of aspiring entrepreneurs.

Main Street Ventures (MSV), the regional funder is well-known for giving startups the funding they need, with no equity taken from their founders. “We look at the region as a whole and focus on getting resources to businesses that will have a significant, positive impact.”

The organization has three focus areas: Manufacturing, Technology, and Retail.
  • Learn more about Main Street Ventures here.
  • Learn more about 1819 Innovation Hub here.
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Read more articles by Miyah Byrd.

Miyah Byrd is a storyteller and advocate based in Ohio. Her work has been featured in KIIONA Magazine, Forge, Human Parts, and ThriveGlobal. She is a former educator whose interests include food insecurity, green energy, and the self-sufficiency of the black community.