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TechStars Recommends a Cultural Shift in Northeast Ohio's Startup Ecosystem

Cleveland’s startup community received direct feedback on the entrepreneurial ecosystem last week at the Cleveland City Club.

TechStars’ Chris Heivly and team analyzed different aspects of Northeast Ohio’s entreprenuership environment. They analyzed five different categories comprised of culture, density, talent, capital and institutional support. 

Cleveland scored high on capital and institutional support, but low in every other category. Heivly cites JumpStart as a great resource for entrepreneurs in the area, and emphasized a greater trust in the organization. As far as capital goes, angel investors and venture capitalists are abundant in Northeast Ohio, according to Heivly. 

He recommended a focus on culture.

“We need to bring people and cultural aspects — the way that we go to business, the way that we interact with each other — back into the fold. Those attitudes … serve as the basis and the foundational of what makes a great startup community.”

In this case, culture means a tighter community. Heivly says that with a closer community, other aspects such as density and talent will improve as well. 

Heivly and the TechStars team recommend being more open to new leaders and new ideas. That would mean a shift in the general cultural attitude of the region. They also recommend sharing successes more often, to build stronger storytelling in the area. 

As far as talent goes, they say the key is to encourage development programs and to invest in mentors. 

Kellie Nock is freelance journalist who has previously interned with WKSU. As an intern, her focus of stories were centered around entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a Bachelor's degree in journalism. As a student, she wrote for various student media and hosted radio shows through the university's radio station.