By: Elyse Ball
Sitting at the intersection of Northeast Ohio's research universities and startup scene, my University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) colleagues and I often see startup ideas in their earliest stages. Last fall, after having met with dozens of entrepreneurs who were working on napkin ideas or sharing their startup aspirations for the first time, we finally decided it was time to take action to assist entrepreneurs that aren't quite ready for the region's incubator and accelerator programs. The result - the Starting Line Pre-Acccelerator - aims to help beginner entrepreneurs develop their business concept into a full-fledged startup. Through a 10-step process, entrepreneurs craft a business model, interview customers, sketch out their prototype concept, and construct their first startup pitch. Starting Line comprises mainly online, "at-your-own-pace" activities, ranging from completing a business model canvas and interviewing customers to listening to podcasts and TEDtalks about entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs also get the chance to have one-on-one meetings with Dan Hampu and I to guide them through the process. If you are or know of an entrepreneur that would benefit from Starting Line, let us know or check out uakronuarf.com/step1.
Courtesy of UA Email Digest
Imagine that you would like to start a business. You have high hopes for your product and the positive impact you know it can make on Northeast Ohio. You need startup funds, so you approach … students? On Wednesday, Feb. 14, several UA students will hear pitches from hopeful entrepreneurs for funding through the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund (NEOSVF) Deal Flow Event at Quaker Station, on campus.
By Jessica Sublett, Akron Global Business Accelerator
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. And to make it even better, besides my obligatory female love of all things fall and pumpkin spice, it means the kick off of one of my favorite entrepreneurial support programs. Yes, it is I-Corps Sites time!! (Is my start-up nerd showing?) This is the time when our partner, The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), selects about 90 participants for the I-Corps Sites program per cycle and I am always happy and excited to assist them.
If you’re new to the startup scene, or if you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for the past few years, I’m going to share the five “Ws” of I-Corps so that, in the future, you, too, can take full advantage and better understand all of the fantastic programming the Akron entrepreneurial community has to offer. Read more.
Image courtesy of Innovation Fund. From left to right: Chris Miller of Fontus Blue, Audrey Wallace and Amy Husted of Komae, Ronny Shalev of Dyad Medical, and Stephanie Ham of OncoSolutions
Fontus Blue, which received a $50,000 Innovation Fund “B” Award, has a cloud-based software that helps water treatment plants optimize their use of treatment chemicals and processes, resulting in exceptional water quality with reduced operating costs. Today treatment plant operators don’t have a way to quickly and reliably tell how changing the amount of one chemical will affect the need for others, so they often use more chemicals than necessary. Decision Blue® uses real-world data and unique measures developed at the University of Akron, along with advanced multi-component optimization mathematics, to evaluate millions of possible combinations of treatment chemical dosage levels and search for cost-effective solutions. Fontus Blue, which is housed in the Akron Global Business Accelerator, is using the Innovation Fund award to a hire software developer and add features to its platform. The company already has 12 water utilities in six states using its platform.
By Lisa Craig, firstname.lastname@example.org