Our Growing Ecosystem

Posted: September 2, 2012 by Eileen Weisenbach Keller in Ecosystem, Innovation

When do skinny moms, back hair, bedsores, designated drivers, soccer games, star wars and childhood diabetes become elements of the same ecosystem? When entrepreneurs who live and work in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region identify each of them as opportunities and compete in Cincinnati Innovates!

Although the analogy is fitting, I hesitate to use the term ecosystem as it is becoming a much over-used word. Although becoming worn from use, the term is not maligned because it is often, as in this case, the perfect word to describe a unique situation.

The concepts mentioned, from skinny moms to star wars, are the foundations for a variety of companies that apparently have nothing in common. The founders of these ventures haven’t collaborated with one another, they have not been coached by the same incubator or accelerator, and chances are they really don’t know one another at all. Yet, the founders and their new ventures have become pieces of a robust ecosystem. They are “organisms”, if you will, in an environment that is systematically interacting and becoming healthier over time.

The environment is the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region; the system within the environment is the complex interaction of investors, business owners, and local universities that work in concert to propel innovative people and their ideas into the commercial market space.

It all came together in the Digitorium in the new Griffin Hall at Northern Kentucky University on August 16th. Among the players in the room were sponsors CincyTech and the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association; business owners who sponsored prizes such as Taft Legal/Patent, CPG Strategies, LPK Design and Branding, Round Pixel Web Development, 7/79 Video, Cooney Faulkner and Stevens; and two area Universities: the Entrepreneurship Institute at NKU helped sponsor and host the event, an NKU alumnus won the second prize and a recent University of Cincinnati graduate was a winning contestant. Cincinnati Innovates! brought these elements of the ecosystem together to celebrate and support innovation and the entrepreneurs.

Year four of our innovation celebration attracted more than 200 entries with 11 lucky winners taking home some bronze, silver and gold. All of the winners and all the participants can be viewed at CincinnatiInnovates.com. There you will find skinny moms and star wars as proof, that in this region we have a very creative and healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that is generating promising new ventures.

Find out more about Cincinnati Innovates! and startups on our blog at www.cincyentre.com

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