Ohio University Entrepreneurs travel to Cleveland, explore business opportunities

Members of Ohio University Entrepreneurs — which connects OHIO students with ideas for businesses to university resources — got a close-up look at the start-up world during a weekend trip to Cleveland in March.

The group visited start-ups and business accelerators, programs that help businesses strategize for sustained long-term growth after graduating from business incubators.  One of these was Launch House, the first accelerator in the state of Ohio to focus on robotics  Others included Flashstarts, TTL Systems, LeanDog, and OSC Tech Lab, a co-working program that provides space and services to start-ups in Akron.

OUE members also had lunch with entrepreneurs, including Tim Bratz, president of real estate companies in Cleveland and Charleston, S.C.; Jay Fernandez, business services director to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program; Theresa Gorski, owner of Vision Yoga & Wellness; and Megan McKercher, owner of Heart & Home Adult Care Facility LLC.

Lori Bentz, a sophomore studying finance, arranged these meetings online. She used Meetup, a website that facilitates local collaboration, to find entrepreneurs interested in speaking with the group. Bentz is OUE’s current treasurer.

“It was good to see members really engage with what’s going on,” said Alex Harshaw, OUE president. He said the club’s members were “re-inspired” by the idea of entrepreneurship while in Cleveland.  “That was the objective of the club in the first place so that’s easily my favorite aspect of this trip,” he said.

In the future, the club plans to visit Columbus, Pittsburgh, and eventually Chicago, all while making connections with entrepreneurs at other colleges; Harshaw said the Cleveland trip allowed OUE to build a relationship with a similar group at Kent State University.

Ohio University Entrepreneurs meetings are held at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in RTECH 304. Applicants may attend their first meeting for free, but afterwards must pay a $20 membership fee.

“I encourage anyone who wants to follow their dreams outside of a traditional trail to join,” Harshaw said.

Article Written By: Hannah Koerner


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