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GCP to support new $20M venture capital fund led by JumpStart

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is proud to announce its limited-partner investment in JumpStart's new for-profit $20M venture capital fund called the JumpStart NEXT Fund.

The fund is focused on co-investing with other VCs and private-sector investors in Ohio-based companies who need to raise $2M-$8M in private capital to continue their growth.

Ray Leach, CEO of Jumpstart, indicated that the GCP was one of the earliest investors to sign on, which was a tremendous vote of confidence from the overall business community in JumpStart's fundraising efforts.

GCP President and CEO Joe Roman agreed and added that GCP launched JumpStart in 2001 with hopes that the organization could truly raise the bar for high-growth start-up companies in the region and that this fund demonstrates how JumpStart continues to outperform original expectations.

You can learn more about this fund at a meeting hosted by the GCP at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 at the GCP offices, 1240 Huron Road East. Or contact JumpStart CEO Ray Leach at or 216.363.3406.

Public-private partnerships secure Lincoln Electric
welding technology center project

Public-private partnerships, once again, have proven to be the driving force in securing a major economic development project for Greater Cleveland.

The latest project was announced last week by the Lincoln Electric Company: the building of a Welding Technology Center on its Euclid, Ohio campus.

Scheduled to break ground in spring 2016, the Center will focus on training welding educators and industry leaders to address the rising demand for welding education and career pathways in welding and advanced manufacturing. It also will expand Lincoln’s local, national and global reach in its recognition as the global leader in welding education.

“This project demonstrates the strength and character of the public-private partnerships that exist in Cuyahoga County and the region,” says Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) President and CEO Joe Roman. “This is an investment not only in Lincoln Electric and Northeast Ohio but also our entire manufacturing industry.”

Securing the Center in Greater Cleveland was made possible through the collaboration of numerous public and private partners, including the City of Euclid, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Development Advisors, Team NEO, JobsOhio and the Development Fund of the Western Reserve.

The GCP Business Development Team played a lead role in the effort to secure the Center in Greater Cleveland. “We are here to support the businesses that call Greater Cleveland home. Our strong and ongoing relationships with our public sector partners, financial and educational institutions, and regional economic development organizations enable projects like this to become a reality,” says Deb Janik, the GCP’s senior vice president of real estate and business development. “Collaboration is at the heart of what we do.”

The deal could not have happened in Greater Cleveland without the involvement of Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the GCP’s real estate and business development affiliate. CDA led the effort to secure more than $10 million in New Markets Tax Credits toward project financing.

“A skilled workforce is key to strengthening our local economy,” said CDA President Yvette Ittu. “This state of the art technology and training center will be valuable as a workforce development tool increasing access to quality jobs. We are excited about Lincoln Electric’s commitment to ensure that employment and training opportunities extend to the immediate community."

According to Lincoln Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Christopher L. Mapes: “We are thrilled that this state-of-the-art facility will be built in Euclid, Ohio at our Headquarters Campus. This investment reinforces Lincoln’s commitment to Cuyahoga County and Northeast Ohio.”

Election outcomes mirror GCP’s position on four ballot issues

This past week, we saw the outcome of several ballot issues in which the Greater Cleveland Partnership had a strong advocacy role.

Issue 1, the redistricting proposal, passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. This proposal, endorsed by GCP and led by Fair Districts for Ohio, will create a stronger and fairer process to draw legislative districts.

The GCP also endorsed Issue 2, an anti-monopoly amendment proposed by the Ohio General Assembly, which would create additional steps for proposed constitutional amendments that would create monopolies or special tax conditions. Issue 2 passed with just over 50 percent of the vote.

A major effort in which the GCP was involved was the defeat of Issue 3. Responsible Ohio led the effort that sought to change Ohio’s constitution to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. The issue was soundly defeated by Ohio voters with 64.1 percent against it. The GCP was active in supporting efforts against this campaign due to strong concerns from GCP members and the business community regarding workplace safety issues and how legalization would further impact the ability to find qualified workers.

Issue 8, the Cuyahoga County Arts & Culture Renewal Levy, enjoyed significant support from county residents, passing with nearly 75 percent of the vote. The GCP has been a long supporter of this arts levy and endorsed this campaign as well.

“Overall, we are pleased with the outcome of this election,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “We saw the best outcome on core issues that our members care about and are now turning our attention to 2016 as we prepare for additional elections that will have an impact on the business community.”

Middle-market CEOs share insights in Washington, D.C.

Ten CEOs of middle-market businesses from around the country joined representatives from the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in Washington, D.C. last month at a White House briefing to discuss issues of interest to middle-market companies.

The contingent included Greater Cleveland Partnership Board member Daryl Laisure, president and CEO of ZIN Technologies, who is also a member of GCP's Middle-Market Committee.

The group met with Administration officials, including Jerry Abramson, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs. The discussion focused on several topics of importance to both the Administration and the middle-market representatives such as infrastructure, workforce development, budget and trade.

“This briefing was not only a great opportunity to hear from the administration and raise awareness of the middle market in Washington, D.C., but it was a tremendous chance to show senior officials the depth and breadth of middle market companies in our economy,” said NCMM Executive Director Thomas Stewart.

Middle-market leaders who attended the event included:

  • John Adams, SecurAmerica, Atlanta, Ga.
  • George Cook, MacLean-Fogg Company, Mundelein, Ill.
  • Dina Dwyer-Owens, The Dwyer Group, Waco, Texas
  • Kevin Lackey, Freedom Powersports, LLC, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Daryl Laisure, ZIN Technologies, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio
  • Nataline Lomedico, Giroux Glass, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Frederick Quinn, Quest Specialty Chemicals, Ft. Myers, Fla.
  • Carol Roehrig, BKM Total Office of Texas, Dallas, Texas
  • Gale Sommers, Professional Warranty Service Corporation, Chantilly, Va.
  • David Thompson, TEC Equipment, Inc., Portland, Ore.

Prior to the briefing with White House officials, the contingent met with members of the Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth. Formed in 2014, the bipartisan caucus is an important political voice for middle-market companies in Washington, D.C.

Above photo: Representatives of the National Center for the Middle Market, Fisher College of Business, and 10 CEOs of middle-market companies outside the White House.

The National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.

Middle-market perspectives: Which your path should you choose for successful innovation?

Research by the National Center for Middle Market has found that fast-growing mid-sized companies place more emphasis on innovation than their slower-growing counterparts.

So, if innovation helps pave the path to success, what’s the best way for middle-market businesses to pursue innovation?

That’s up to you.

There are different paths to generating, funding, and implementing profitable and successful innovative ideas, and your company should choose which direction to go.

Innovate within areas of expertise

For the middle market as a whole, innovating within areas of expertise that already exist and in markets that are already served is the most popular route. These “close to home” initiatives not only receive the greatest share of most companies’ innovation investment dollars; they are also twice as likely to be successful as more adventurous projects, at least from the executives’ point of view.

Or is risk worth the reward?

Despite the fact that middle market innovators appear to have plenty of low hanging fruit from which to choose, the companies that consider themselves to be the most adept at innovation are almost twice as likely as their peers to explore new knowledge and new markets.

These high-talent innovators also generate a greater percentage of their revenues and profits from their initiatives—about twice as much as less-effective innovators. Also, these innovators are among the fastest-growing middle-market companies, with past year revenue growth of 10 percent or more.

Which path is right for you?

Much depends on what you can afford to invest (and, potentially, to lose). It should also be based on your firms’ innovation capabilities and the degree to which you are willing and able to build processes to identify, manage, and exploit risks.

Click to learn more.

Volunteers needed for 2016 Republican National Convention

Are you interested in volunteering for the 2016 Republican National Convention? Then add your name to the list!

This recent story notes that while about 3,000 people have signed up, the actual number of volunteers needed is 8,000.

The story says that “Host committee volunteers will work on nonpolitical tasks outside Quicken Loans Arena, the main convention venue. Assignments will include greeting convention visitors at airports, hotels and transportation locations, as well as helping people find their way around Cleveland.”

“Many volunteers can expect to work in downtown Cleveland, but they also could be assigned to any of the more than 100 hotels throughout the region that will house convention delegates. Volunteers will be trained, likely in May or June, on subjects including site-specific instructions, customer service and Cleveland landmarks.”

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

Pass the Plus! Good news about our region

In this month’s issue of the “Pass the Plus” e-newsletter, read about shifts in Northeast Ohio’s population and workforce with one of the biggest changes being the number of millennial workers and the percentage of the region’s workforce with advanced degrees.

The data comes from Cleveland State University’s Center for Population Dynamics recent report—“A Reason to Be: ‘Upskilling’ of Cleveland’s Workforce.” The study found that Cleveland gained 56,000 advanced degrees between 2000 and 2015 and 20 percent of Cleveland’s workers aged 25 to 44 have an advanced degree.

In 2000, only 10.5 percent of the regional workforce had advanced degrees.

Click to read more.

“Pass the Plus” is a Cleveland Plus/Team NEO free monthly e-newsletter that provides informative news and information related to the many positive developments shaping Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Plus and Team NEO are part of the economic development system that the GCP helped to create and continues to support.

Click to subscribe
and start sharing our region’s good news with your networks of colleagues, friends and family.

Port of Cleveland’s global vision attracts boomerang talent to Northeast Ohio

The Port of Cleveland recently welcomed two talented millennial boomerangs to its staff to join the exciting momentum at the Port and in Cleveland.

Returning from Washington, D.C. and New Jersey respectively are Jade Davis, vice president of external affairs (photo left), and Nick LaPointe, director of operations and facilities (photo right), who both grew up in northern Ohio and were lured back by the energy and vision at the Port and in Greater Cleveland.

Through its recent focus on providing Northeast Ohio businesses with easier access to global markets and its leadership on sustainable initiatives and protecting local waterways, the Port has piqued the interest of millennials.

“Attracting skilled, mobile talent to Northeast Ohio is essential to the Port’s future as a global, green port on a Great Lake and to our region as a whole, and Jade and Nick are great additions to the Port’s team,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman

In his new role, Davis focuses on developing a multi-level governmental affairs strategy while also overseeing communications, stakeholder engagement, and strategic media efforts. He joins the Port after serving as senior director of state affairs and outreach for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

“The Port has a great vision, and I look forward to helping promote its impact, develop public partnerships, and inform the community of its widespread economic and environmental benefits,” said Davis.

LaPointe’s primary focus is enhancing and maintaining Port infrastructure, while also improving waterfront access and finalizing long-term sustainable sediment solutions. Since 2007, he has worked for Weeks Marine, Inc., one of the U.S. largest marine contractors in the U.S., gaining extensive experience in operations and facilities management.

“At my previous employer on the East Coast, we knew about, and were impressed by, the Port of Cleveland’s innovative strategic investments,” said LaPointe. “When I saw the position, I was excited at the prospect of jointing the momentum at the Port and in Cleveland.”