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Every Monday -- News from GCP

MBDA Business Center Cleveland office earns
"outstanding" rating

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center Cleveland has earned an “outstanding” performance rating for the period from April 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, from the national MBDA office at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Since its launch in 2011, the MBDA Business Center Cleveland has worked with minority businesses throughout the State of Ohio to support their growth and development. Its services include providing access to capital and finance management, access to markets, access to contracts and strategic business consulting.

Statewide results include $101M in contract awards, $21M in capital awards, 845 jobs created and 1047 jobs retained.

The MBDA Business Center Cleveland is operated by the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Help shape GCP’s middle-market agenda

What are your top priorities for your middle-market company? How can the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) better support your company’s growth strategies?

If you’re the CEO of a GCP middle-market business, we invite you to join our Middle-Market Committee and help shape our agenda for this important segment of the regional, state and national economies.

Composed of some of metro Cleveland’s leading middle-market executives, the committee works with GCP staff to serve as a leading and trusted resource for Northeast Ohio mid-market companies by focusing on their challenges and offering solutions to their unmet needs.

The committee is chaired by GCP Board member Bernie Moreno, president of Bernie Moreno Companies, the largest luxury auto dealership chain in the Midwest. His company is a middle-market success story, having grown from a single dealership to a collection of 21 in less than 10 years.

“GCP is the conduit that connects middle-market companies in our region,” says Moreno. “Our committee and events help bring middle-market companies together to learn and share best practices and network with other businesses to get a sense and appreciation of what everyone is going through.”

Input needed on public policy, program planning, products and more

The committee also helps identify policy issues affecting the middle market works to develop collaborative relationships with public officials and executives from the National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, and a strategic partner of GCP's Middle-Market Initiative.

In addition, committee members serve as leaders/influencers for GCP initiatives in the middle-market segment, as well as providing guidance to staff in marketing, communications, program planning, products, services and policy development including the financial and human resources necessary to implement these plans in the most cost-effective manner.

To learn more about joining the GCP Middle-Market Committee, please email Robert Recker, GCP’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and membership, or call 216.592.2384.

Middle-market perspectives: Smart risk taking can increase
innovation success

In its latest study of innovation among mid-sized companies, the National Center for the Middle Market found that many middle-market businesses prefer a conservative approach to innovation. By concentrating on markets and technologies they already know, these companies achieve a high rate of project success and a healthy return on their investment.

But smart risk taking can generate greater revenue and profitability growth. For this level of success, you need to have the capabilities in place to manage risks before you take them.

When risk pays off

On average, middle-market companies allocate only 15 percent of their total innovation spend to projects focused on new markets and requiring new knowledge. These projects enjoy a 20 percent rate of success compared to an almost 50 percent success rate for projects that stick to knowledge and markets that are already known.

But the Center’s research also found that companies who consider themselves highly effective at innovation compared to companies who rate themselves as less skilled, the numbers tell a different story.

Effective innovators are almost twice as likely as their peers to invest in the new knowledge/new market space, and they generate about double the revenues and profits from these projects as their colleagues do.

Click to learn more, including what makes an effective risk-taker.

Passing the Plus: How do you engage via social media?

To help inform their social media strategy, Team NEO/Cleveland Plus would like to learn more about how users engage with their social channels.

By completing the following survey, you could win one of two $50 gift cards. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Individual responses will not be shared with any outside parties.

Click here to get started.

Team NEO and Cleveland Plus are part of the regional economic development system that the Greater Cleveland Partnership helped to create and continues to support.

Third Frontier Internship Program connects college students
with entrepreneurial tech companies

The Ohio Third Frontier Internship Program connects motivated college students with internship opportunities in early-stage technology companies across Ohio. The Program provides eligible businesses with up to $10,000 to support each internship position and assists in identifying potential intern candidates.

Eligible companies must have 75 or fewer employees, less than seven years of operating history and a primary business focus in one of the following:
  • Advanced Materials
  • Aero-Propulsion Power Management
  • Agbiosciences
  • Fuel Cells & Energy Storage
  • Medical Technology
  • Sensing & Automation
  • Shale
  • Situational Awareness/Surveillance
  • Software
  • Solar Photovoltaics
The program’s goals include (1) increasing the interest of underserved minority and rural student populations in entrepreneurship through education and internship opportunities and (2) fostering a greater connection between Ohio's higher education system and its entrepreneurial technology economy.

For more information, email Program Manager Nic Turner or call 614.644.9160.

Volunteers needed for 2016 Republican National Convention

If you’re interested in volunteering for the 2016 Republican National Convention, now’s the time to sign up!

About 8,000 Cleveland Ambassadors are needed to help make the event a success and a big plus for our city and region.

Click to learn more
on the volunteer website and sign up by clicking the SIGN UP NOW button.

Please note: Signing up does not guarantee a position. The official volunteer forms must be completed when registration opens.

Port of Cleveland and bipartisan congressional coalition push
to stop open lake dumping

The Port of Cleveland has petitioned the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to prevent potentially contaminated sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River from being placed in Lake Erie.

A bipartisan group of U.S. congressional representatives from Ohio recently joined the Port in urging the federal government to take action. The effort comes on the heels of a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for open lake dumping of the sediment in the open waters of Lake Erie.

To keep the Cuyahoga deep enough for large commercial ships, up to 250,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged annually from the riverbed and harbor. Traditionally, sediment has been placed in confined disposal facilities (CDFs) due to concerns about contamination from the river’s historic industrial use and other sources. Although now far less contaminated, recent testing of sediment still shows trace levels of the toxin PCB, which accumulates in the food chain, including Lake Erie fish.

Alternative cost-effective plan proposed

“To avoid the need for open lake dumping, we’ve developed a viable, cost-effective alternative plan using a combination of beneficial use and maximization of space in existing CDFs,” said Will Friedman, Port president and CEO. Friedman also noted the Ohio General Assembly’s recent passage of a law banning all open lake dumping by 2020. If granted, the Port’s request would align federal and state policy while achieving clarity on a critical water quality and public health issue.

The Port’s petition was endorsed in a bipartisan letter of support from six Ohio congressional representatives led by Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and included:
  • Bob Gibbs, Republican, 7th District
  • David Joyce, Republican, 14th District
  • Marcy Kaptur, Democrat, 9th District
  • James Renacci, Republican, 16th District; and
  • Tim Ryan, Democrat, 13th District.
“We cannot gamble with the quality of Ohio’s water or our ecosystem,” said Congresswoman Fudge. “The Port’s proposal is necessary to keep Lake Erie safe while we keep Cleveland Harbor and the Cuyahoga River open for business and supporting thousands of jobs.”