March 23rd I attended the TieQuest Ohio business plan competition finals, at Hyland Software. IRx Reminder, as presented by CEO Anthony Stearns, was selected as the winner out of what I thought was an extremely diverse and interesting field of finalists. So a hearty "Congratulations" to Anthony and IRx Reminder for their selection as the overall regional winner. As a contributor to the prize package, The Incubator at MAGNET offered one year of incubation space, with all privileges, to a winner matching our entrance qualifications. With the visibility his win at TiEQuest Ohio garnered his company, Anthony had plenty of choices in the region as to where to land, and I’m pleased to announce that IRxReminder is our newest tenant. The International Entrepreneurs (TiE) Ohio was founded in 2008 as the 50th chapter of the global TiE network, the world’s largest organization for fostering entrepreneurship. TiE Ohio is poised to fulfill a critical niche in Northeast Ohio’s business development landscape by focusing specifically on immigrant, international, and minority entrepreneurs within the region, and by encouraging other such entrepreneurs to consider NEO as a place to launch their new businesses. TiE Ohio provides focused support to entrepreneurs through mentoring, networking, and
Here’s a chance to help researchers identify world-class best practices in manufacturing, while at the same time bench-marking your organization against similar companies in the region. The 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study takes about 20 minutes to complete. Any manufacturing owner, CEO or senior-level executive is eligible to participate. The data collected will update the 2009 NGM Study (PDF, 4.6M). The deadline to participate has been extended to Monday, July 25, 2011. The data collected will help manufacturers answer these questions: How does MY COMPANY’s performance stack up vs. our competitors? What do I need to do differently to catch up — or stay ahead? What’s the latest innovation in manufacturing management — and am I ready to adopt it? Do I have the talent and tools to compete in 2011? In 2015? Your company can participate in one of two ways: "Anonymous" participation means you don’t have to identify your company at all. And you will receive a Data Report when the study is concluded. No one will be able to identify your company’s individual responses. "Confidential" participation means you identify your company to MPI only, and along with the Data Report, you will receive a customized bench-mark report
Published May 23, 2011, 10:50 a.m., by Robert Schoenberger "CLEVELAND, Ohio — Canton bearing maker the Timken Co. and Stark State College plan to open a wind turbine research and development center near the Akron Canton Airport next year that will also offer certification training to students. The $11.8 million project will be adjacent to the airport on 15 acres of land the college recently purchased for a new Stark State Emerging Technologies Airport Campus."
You have just identified the ideal new market for your business to penetrate. You’ve determined the new market and the opportunity it presents are a good match for your organizational strengths and resources. You’ve determined the barriers of entry are passable, profit expectations are acceptable and there is a sufficient need for the products and services you offer. You know who the competitors are, what the value chain is and, most important of all, who the key customers are. But the big question is, do those key customers know who you are? Identifying and understanding a potential new market is a critical first step in any market diversification strategy. The ultimate goal, however, is to be successful in selling your goods and/or services into the new market. This is generally the hard part. Remember, what may be a new market for you, is likely somebody else’s core market already. Getting a seat at the table usually means unseating someone who has been sitting there for awhile—or at the least getting them to move over a bit. There are a number of different ways to get a seat at the table—innovation is one of them. For example, Apple’s success in penetrating
Manufacturers can’t find qualified employees. To those of us in this field, this mantra is beginning to sound like a broken record, but to many others it is still sounding untrue. Many continue to believe that U.S. manufacturing is dying, that there are no good jobs and that the ones left offer only a dirty and monotonous career. One only needs to read the recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "Help Wanted on Factory Floor," by James Hagerty to learn that the lack of qualified workers for the advanced manufacturing and engineering field has reached a crisis. In order to compete globally and have a sound economy, a nation must make things; this has always been the backbone of our country and without intelligent, technically savvy workers, our standard of living will falter. The article correctly points to three trends that are contributing to the dearth of qualified employees. First, manufacturers are starting to hire again after almost 10 years; Second, despite the recent delay in retirements, the baby boomers are beginning to retire in massive numbers now and into the near future; and Third, "… the U.S. education system isn’t turning out enough people with the math and
On May 4, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a feature on the launch of PRISM, the Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers. The partnership is being led by MAGNET and is supported by several other economic development groups. PRISM will help Northeast Ohio manufacturers identify the help that they need to grow as well as give them access to the organizations and information that they need to achieve their business goals. Read it online: Connecting Northeast Ohio manufacturers to their future, by Greg Krizman, Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 4, 2011.
The title of this post could probably more appropriately be "How NOT to Shoot Yourself In the Foot On Your First Date." As a member of the review committee for investment programs throughout the region, I’ve seen countless examples of poor presentation techniques. Recently, the folks running the popular Innovation Fund at Lorain County Community College asked myself and Bob Cohen (CEO and Director of Business Assistance at Braintree Business Development Center in Mansfield) to help with this issue. Too many promising start-ups were not getting their "second date" due to presentations which didn’t position their companies or technologies in a positive light. One of the ways Bob and I came up with to help as many people as possible was an overview presentation on how to present to the Innovation Fund. The presentation was titled slightly tongue in cheek as "Getting that second date… Navigating the regional pitch process by NOT embarrassing yourself on the first date." I’ll save Bob the embarrassment and admit that the dating metaphor was my idea, and one that I use often when coaching entrepreneurs on pitching the various early stage investment programs around the region. Approaching an investor presentation from this mindset, underscores