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Manufacturing Startup Competition Drives Growth, Fosters Connections

MAGNET_mspire2018-winnerThe recent winners of MAGNET’s pitch competition, MSPIRE, will benefit from support to help them grow. Other applications noted that just going through the process was valuable. Here’s how your company or organization can benefit from the 2018 competition and begin thinking about the 2019 event.

Companies Will Benefit from Today’s Support

The 2018 MSPIRE Class— Karis Doll Collection, Boundary Labs, Path Robotics, T-Var Ed Tech, Micah Specialty Foods, and Battle Toss— are members of Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial community but, for company-specific reasons, needed assistance with growing to the next level.

To accomplish this, MAGNET and its ecosystem of partners will help the Class write grants for funds, develop products, conduct market research, and solve complex growth challenges. Companies in this year’s Class will also have access to direct entrepreneurial coaching, interest-free loans, subsidized engineering projects, digital marketing advice, and IP consultations.

Alex Lonsberry, CTO of Path Robotics, said that he was pleased to have won the 2018 MSPIRE pitch competition. “Our team is grateful for the opportunity, and is excited to work with MAGNET, a respected expert at facilitating entrepreneurial success." 

Given two dynamics— the high failure rate among startups and the tight market for funding— the growth-oriented MSPIRE support will help these six companies beat the odds. Could your startup benefit from these type of services?

The Diverse Group of Participants Has Been Benefiting from the MSPIRE Process

The 53 applicants represent a cross-section of Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial economy. Company leaders are of different ages, genders, and races; their businesses spanned a wide range of industries (food, artificial intelligence, games, and robotics); and they’re creating jobs across the region (Lorain, Downtown Cleveland, Wooster, Columbus, Youngstown, Canton, and Akron).

Within this diverse group, even applicants that weren’t named as finalists benefited from participating in the process. The 14 finalists, for example, received extensive feedback from the judges, a panel which included representatives from JumpStart, DigitalC, Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen, Bank of America, the Hebrew Free Loan Association, AMG, and more.

Finalists also made valuable community connections.

Lisa Oswald of Bud’s Resin Remover said that “it was a true pleasure participating in the MSPIRE 2018 competition. The excitement and support from the judges for our product was palpable. Thank you for the extra encouragement that we are on a path to success!”

The wide-range of organizations supporting members of the 2018 Class— state government (Ohio’s Entrepreneurial Service Program and The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership), corporate sponsors (Bank of America and AT&T), and philanthropies (Fund for Our Economic Future and The Cleveland Foundation).

This wide-ranging group of applications, winners, and supporters has been creating excitement. Could your startup or your social enterprise-minded organization create additional momentum for this year’s Class or support next year’s efforts?

The MSPIRE Competition Is One of Several Resources for Entrepreneurs

Although well-respected for its 30-year track record of helping established Northeast Ohio manufacturers grow through its suite of offerings— product and process development, workforce initiatives, and lean/operations consulting— MAGNET is, perhaps, less well-known for its work with the startup community.

Brandon Cornuke, MAGNET’s VP of Startups noted that “through the MAGNET Incubation Center, we will continue to work promoting innovation and driving growth here in Northeast Ohio.” In addition to MSPIRE, the Center provides a range of support for entrepreneurs. MAGNET, for its part, directly provides resources of interest to growth-oriented businesses.

With the 2019 application process several months from beginning, could your startup benefit from a conversation with MAGNET’s Incubation Center?

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