It’s all about entrepreneurship

It’s all about entrepreneurship

By Steve Paquette
Special to The Repository
Posted Dec 26, 2012 @ 01:00 PM

In early 2013, the Stark Development Board will be helping to launch a new economic development partnership, the Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance. The alliance will coordinate and provide assistance to small technology-based companies that are seeking to grow their businesses, or to potential entrepreneurs who are judged to have high potential to start new companies.

The Entrepreneurship Alliance represents a new working partnership with a number of key organizations throughout the county, including Stark State College; the Small Business Development Center at the Kent State University Stark Campus; Techalliance 2, a new incubator organization on the campus of the University of Mount Union; the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce; YStark!; JumpStart, a regional business development group based in Cleveland; Walsh University; and the Stark Development Board.

Funding to help establish the new alliance is being provided to SDB over the next three years by the Stark Community Foundation. At the same time, the group has been working to identify capital, in the form of low-interest loans and grants, to help to jump-start companies that are looking to grow their business.

The Entrepreneurship Alliance is being launched early next year as a result of successful events and activities that have take place over the past two years. We believe these activities demonstrate positive momentum for entrepreneurship in general and the need for the new program.

NEW PROGRAMS

These activities have included:

  • A series of new entrepreneurial programs hosted by the Kent Stark Small Business Development Center and Stark Development Board that have attracted more than 200 people
  • A Homegrown Entrepreneurs Program at Stark State College that has brought in a number of Stark County’s successful business executives to talk to students and guests of the college about entrepreneurship
  • Construction and opening of a Business & Entrepreneurship Center at Stark State
  • Creation of a new technology incubator program, Techalliance 2, sponsored by the City of Alliance, the Alliance Area Development Foundation and the University of Mount Union
  • Canton’s Entrepreneur Launch, created by the city of Canton in partnership with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Ystark!, JumpStart and the Kent Stark Small Business Development Center. The Canton Entrepreneur Launch was successful in identifying more than 60 companies that were seeking seed capital to help grow new businesses.

It awarded $50,000 to a start-up company, Jack Hooks, which developed a new line of easy-to-tie fishing hooks that are being manufactured and marketed worldwide.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

Another activity involves a Massillon company, Tesla Nanocoatings. The company has been in business for five years, working out of the owner’s home. Corrosion is a major problem, and Tesla Nanocoatings, in conjunction with the U.S. Army, has developed a highly effective corrosion-control coating for structural steel utilizing carbon nanotubes. Tesla is seeking to significantly grow its business.

Tesla Nanocoatings came to SDB as a referral from a Massillon business leader who felt we could help. Through assistance by Stark State College; ECOTAF, a technology “angel fund” in East Central Ohio; and the development board, the company has been awarded $100,000 by the Innovation Fund, a 21-county Northeast Ohio regional fund focused on supporting technology-based entrepreneurial endeavors and emerging technology-based businesses.