What strategy should the region pursue to increase job growth through entrepreneurship?



# Submitted by cthompson on Sat, 10/25/2008 – 18:28.

You can access the white paper from CWRU Professor Scott Shane that this poll is based on here.

# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/10/2008 – 16:10.

The single largest reason NE Ohio continues to suffer from an anemic economy, stems from the inability of lower to middle income workers to access affordable public transportation. I live in SE Ashtabula County where jobs are as scarce as a decent wage. The Cleveland / Akron / Youngstown areas are missing out on a limitless workforce that would gladly utilize a rail and or bus line to access better paying careers. Most of my acquaintances are held hostage and forced to work locally due to high fuel and vehicle costs; something that a reliable rail/bus system servicing this area would eliminate. Large corporations need to recognize this untapped resource and lobby local and state policy makers to focus on this issue. Also of note would be the positive impact on the environment.

# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 12:47.

I think working with NOACA and finding out if ther is a transportation pool available is oen of the first constructive steps that one can take given your situation in Ahtabula. Seeing if there is a Ohio Ride Share program may be something that is missing, yet easy to poll for interest within your community.

I’d also work with your local government representatives to let them know of this need and interest. If the officials do not know there is a problem, solutions are not going to be forthcoming.

# Submitted by BillB (not verified) on Tue, 12/16/2008 – 11:13.

While public transportation is certainly a worthwhile goal, using it to enable people to live in rural Ashtabula County and commute long distances is one of the things I thought we were trying to prevent with anti-sprawl programs. Moving to some urban area where sustainable public transportation might be possible both supports those attempts to build the densities necessary for public transportation and cuts down on the problems of people living way out in the country and commuting long distances to jobs. So isn’t your suggestion counter-productive?

# Submitted by Jessie Mueller (not verified) on Mon, 11/17/2008 – 22:47.

Helping young professionals teach each other what they have learned on the job, throughout life experiences, etc.
Diverstiy of experience is one of the best aspects of my industry.
Education is key, however, setting up alternative avenues of education (until most people don’t have to spend half of their lives paying off debt from college)is and has been key to my success and growth.
Making these opportiunities more transparent to more people is vital.

# Submitted by Doug Craver (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 12:04.

I think it is all of the above. In addition we need a strategy for tech training and attracting tech workers from other countries. I also think we need to look to other regions for ideas on what works. The region as a whole needs to come up with a better way to solve our problems.

# Submitted by Chet Bowling (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 12:24.

My answer to the question of which strategy we should use to increase job growth through entrepreneurship is “yes.” We need to work on all of the above and more. I know it seems overwhelming and I know that we are up to the task. The other things I encourage us to do are:

• Grow more of our own entrepreneurs by teaching young people, age 10 and up, how to be an entrepreneur. We need more youth who have businesses as they grow up and therefore grow up thinking of themselves as business owners instead of employees.
• Help more people of color start small businesses through mentoring or enterprise facilitation. Even if these are micro-enterprises it will help shift the tide.
• Make it easier for people in the region to know what is produced locally so they can buy locally. Is there a “Products Produced in NEO Directory”?
• Get people from Holmes County, Ohio to come to NEO and tell their story. Holmes County consistently has the lowest unemployment rate in Ohio and the highest business ownership rate.
• Get the community and technical colleges in NEO to create an innovative curriculum that would include the formation of a new business so when a student graduates they have both a degree and a business. When you graduate from Tri-C you not only have an Associates Degree in Renewal Energy you also have a business in renewal energy.

I’m sure there are other strategies out there. What other ideas do you have that will build our entrepreneurial population?

# Submitted by cthompson on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 20:53.

Chet thanks for the support and input. You have raised some very interesting ideas.

# Submitted by Doron Kutash, President, Go2Go Taxi (not verified) on Wed, 11/19/2008 – 04:38.

Great job Chet…

My name is Doron Kutash, President of Go2Go Taxi in Kent, Ohio. www.mygo2go.net

Here are a few notes:

1)Lower taxes on new businesses would help
2)More tax benefits for every job created
3)More tax benefits for every employee-hour worked
4)Lure entrepreneurs from just outside the region, then just outside the state, then across the country – offer them amenities, tax incentives, write up the business plan for them with your location in mind, etc
5)More business advisors, incubators, small business development centers – utilize retired entrepreneurs like SCORE does
6)As soon as the child says “I want to be a business man/women”, start asking questions, slowly ease them into thinking like a business man, help them start a small company to pay for toys, etc
7)More focused high-school curriculum, if they know what they want to do, encourage them to start in HS
8)Easier access to financing – microlending. 1 financier to 1 financee, and hand-holding, even helping them get the business to be viable. Talk about return on investment! Lender can ensure they get their money back if they are doing some of the work.

These are just a few ideas. Discuss…

# Submitted by James King (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 12:35.

Read my article on Ohio’s waterway: “Amber waves of grain” which I submitted a few months ago…
If you missed it, I can email it to you again, thanks…

# Submitted by cthompson on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 20:54.

James, Please email me the article again…and I will make sure it gets posted. Chris

# Submitted by Ron Kessler (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 12:51.

Although all of the above actions are needed, I believe still that we need to get the manufacturing sector going again! We CAN do this despite what some “experts” say. There are many people willing and able to work in these jobs and can be trained for almost anything if done properly.

Manufacturing electronics, textiles, construction equipment and supplies, energy, environmental, etc. can be accomplished using people willing to work for competitive wages and terms. These can and should be “legal” workers.

These steps can make us self-sustaining and competitive once again!

# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 15:54.

NE Ohio has many, many laid-off or semi-retired engineers, and other folks, who know a lot about creating a product (the intellectually hard part), but nothing about starting a business (the intellectually easier part). I think a HUGE obstacle for many would-be entrepreneurs is not knowing the basics of starting a business.

I think the state would reap huge dividends if it subsidized short seminars to give residents some basic ideas on how to start a business, raise capital, etc. The most important part of these short seminars would be connecting people with the other resources out there. Let them know about mentoring opportunities, business incubators, grant sources, and what they’d learn in certain business courses in the area.

# Submitted by cthompson on Tue, 11/18/2008 – 20:52.

Both JumpStart and the incubators of NEOinc offer advice and direction for would-be entrepreneurs with business ideas. I encourage you to visit their web sites and see what services they have that could help you or others looking to turn a great idea into a business.

# Submitted by Mike (not verified) on Wed, 11/19/2008 – 13:28.

We need a top down program to generate pride in our city.

There are many economic areas in this city that need action- taxes, education, public transportation, jobs, home reposessions, and so on. These are the same problems that Cleveland had when I moved here in 1996. If anything those problems have only gotten worse.

I think the single most important thing we need is… HYPE!!

We need some excitement and pride in our city.

I remember in the middle 90’s when I lived in Charlotte, N.C. there was a buzz associated with Atlanta. All you heard about anywhere was Atlanta this and Atlanta that. The buzz created interest, the interest created action. Companies started transplanting to Atlanta. Other companies took notice and followed.

Now Atlanta is thriving. That is what we need – Hype.

Cleveland has many positive things going for it. We need a lot more!!

Those young professionals every city wants – they need something to do.

A casino on the lake with the shops, hotels, and entertainment that accompany such a facility would go a long way.

We have the most loyal sports fans in the country. If we had some winning teams for them to support that would generate a huge amount of excitement as well.


Why does every issue of Cleveland Magazine have a 5 page spread talking about how great some other city or state is? Cut it out.

# Submitted by Gretchen White (not verified) on Mon, 11/24/2008 – 06:38.

I would like to see a new retirement account created where people could invest a portion of their 401K money right here at home, to grow local businesses for start up or expansion. This money could also be used to attract corporations to the area. It seems to me that this would benefit Ohio more directly and cut the Wall Street greedy out of the picture.

# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/07/2008 – 14:49.

Open a commuter rail line linking Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Cuyahoga Counties.

# Submitted by Leigh Goldie (not verified) on Sun, 12/07/2008 – 17:31.

Investigate the resources and people that we currently have in our community. Everyone is always talking about “luring entrepreneurs from outside the region to make Cleveland successful”. Why is it that all of our successful entrepreneurs have already left Cleveland? Are you saying we have no one here smart enough to do it? People here have ideas, but “those who know it all” don’t like to try new things. Stop trying to lure the same types of businesses to our city that other cities are fighting over. Look within our boundaries and challenge people here to create new ideas. We have many and can create our own wealth. Why don’t you just ask and provide the resources? Try new things. I bet you would find a bunch and they may actually work.

# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/16/2008 – 11:29.

A lot of the suggestions here either deal with starting small businesses that only service the local economy, or presuppose that entrepreneurs would want to come here to build their businesses if we were more supportive. I’m sure that a healthy, pro-innovation business climate will help the region, but I think that what we will ultimately need is a reason why businesses should thrive here and not some other city trying equally hard to be pro-business. The iron and steel industry didn’t flourish here because we were friendlier to them than other places, they were here because of the unique factors that made their business possible: Location. So what are our location-specific advantages and what sorts of businesses would really NEED to be here to survive? We should support those and not worry too much about other unfocused possibilities. I don’t know that there are that many such location-specific opportunities, so we ought to pick a sustainable size and think in terms of having a smaller metropolitan economy with some cultural and educational extras we wouldn’t otherwise (but for our rich past) have been able to afford.

# Submitted by Jim the manager (not verified) on Tue, 12/16/2008 – 15:25.

Direct more attention and resosurces to increasing the region’s ability to feed ourselves. This includes looking at agriculture – especially food production and value added products – as ways to capture more consumer dollars now spent on long-haul food from distant places.

Curiously, we seem to spend more on ways to divert food crops to ethanol and continue long distance food movement than we do on building our regional food capacity.

Food production and value added processes are fairly labor intensive and the hard work it takes will be more likely to get done if we make it worh while and invest more in training and enabling people to do it.

# Submitted by laurasteinbrink on Tue, 12/16/2008 – 17:14.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the post.  I could not agree with you more.  For the last several months I have been working with several Advance Northeast Ohio Partners to put together thoughts about how to redesign the food system to support local food initiatives.  With at least $1B in food sales in Northeast, of which less than 1% is provided locally, there is huge opportunity to grow our local food system.  Have you joined the Ohio Local Food System Collaborative?  Check it out here:  http://socialsynergyweb.org/oardc/main-group. 

Laura Steinbrink Director, Regional Partnerships [email protected]