Sneakers and jeans mixed with three-piece suits, as a cross section of new entrepreneurs gathered in Cleveland, yesterday. The goal was to make Northeast Ohio more hospitable to High Tech. ideastream®'s David C. Barnett reports.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown convened the roundtable discussion at the Idea Center and the participants included business software designers... I.T. experts... and game inventors. They shared a concern that Northeast Ohio isn't doing enough to foster young companies. One point that most attendees agreed on was the need to diversify funding. In too many cases, they argued, established firms are able to get financial backing for a project, while a request from a new company for seed money is rejected. Business consultant Valdis Krebs suggested that funding agencies could learn something from third world countries.
KREBS: All over the world there are these "micro-finance" opportunities, where people get fifty dollars, a hundred dollars to buy a sewing machine so they can start doing something. We need a little bit more here, but we need that kind of thinking.
Digital Designer David Moss said the young high tech community is hungry to hungry to help it's hometown, if it's hometown would just toss it a bone.
MOSS: You talk about energy? Every company in this room could get involved in some way. We've got to think of it as an ecosystem of the economy. We're all in this little stream. And we just want it to be healthy again.