Apr 30

Hundreds of middle-market companies gathered on April 25 for the Greater Cleveland Middle Market Forum.
The morning kicked off with the state of the middle-market presented by Tom Stewart from the National Center for the Middle-Market. The first quarter of 2018 is showing a steady rate of growth in revenue, employment and confidence in the local and global economy. Talent is the #1 challenge facing these companies. It is becoming more difficult to recruit and retain quality employees.
Immediately following the Stewart’s presentation, Robert J. Jackson, Jr., Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shared his inaugural address with the crowd. Jackson presented his thoughts on the state of the economy and how he plans to make improvements. 
Jackson discussed effects of the middle-market IPO tax on today’s economy. 

The tax rate has been set at 7% for many years, making it considerably more difficult for small and mid-sized companies to go public. Many of these companies choose to raise private capital instead of going public. Jackson suggested that addressing the tax issue will help to create equity and allow more of the smaller companies to go public. Attendees had the opportunity to ask Jackson questions that were important to their line of business.

The breakout sessions covered three topics critical for leaders to understand to run a successful business in the current economy: taxes, workforce and technology.

The day concluded with a panel of local craft brewing leaders discussing collaboration, strategic vision and what’s next in the industry.

Craft brewing in Ohio is big business. According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Ohio ranks no. 4 in the U.S. in craft beer production, with a $2.67 billion economic impact and more than 15,000 jobs supported by the industry. 

The panel featured Bill Boor, CEO of Great Lakes Brewing Co., Tanisha Robinson, CEO of BrewDog, Justin Carson, co-founder of Platform Beer Co. and Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Beer Association. The panel was moderated by Marc Bona, features writer for Cleveland.com. One challenge the local brewers are all facing is how to strategize for the future. 

The panelists agreed that collaboration plays a large role in the local craft brewing industry.