Conventional Wisdom

Posted: September 16, 2012 by Bill Cunningham in Ecosystem, Innovation, Leadership, Startup

Five Cincinnati startups participated in the Huffington Post’s Entrepreneurial Expo over the last two weeks as part of Arianna Huffington’s initiative to focus on What’s Working: A Bipartisan Search For Solutions To The Jobs Crisis.  According to Ms. Huffington, the initiative embraced the “two necessarily partisan events — the Republican convention in Tampa and the Democratic convention in Charlotte -­ as powerful platforms for presenting a fundamentally bipartisan issue: what we the people can do to accelerate job creation and fill job openings.”

The luncheon panels, hosted by NBC’s Tom Brokaw included celebrities like Jeff Case — CEO of Startup America, Andrew Yang – CEO of Venture for America, Walter Isaacson – CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of Steve Jobs biography to discuss how to amplify and proliferate the great works entrepreneurs are achieving in this effort. America has many models that create jobs and work well.

Study after study shows that employment growth comes from the small business and startup sector. Intuitively, entrepreneurs start companies because of their creativity, innovation and passion to build great products and great companies. This results in great companies needing great employees with high passion who will have great jobs .

The Cincinnati contingent to the convention (Blackbook, CrowdHall, SocStoc, Brandery, OneMorePallet) shows that our entrepreneurial passion grows organically. The five regional companies of 70 companies representing our entrepreneurial ecosystem was significant. Only Tampa and Charlotte had more representation (because they were local to the conventions.)

Arianna Huffington invited the startups in the spirit of getting great minds to collide, create and collaborate. Ms. Huffington likened this gathering to Walter Isaacson’s view at the Aspen Ideas Festival —  the word “festival” comes from the word “feast,” and a feast can “bring different tribes together, tribes that often fought,” and that “when they come together, they realize they share certain ideas and certain values.”

The Greater Cincinnati region continues to make great strides toward a vibrant entrepreneur ecosystem. Focused accelerators such as the Brandery (consumer marketing), Innov8 (healthcare) and UpTech (informatics) create the next generation of companies to thrive in the region. Venture for America injects 7-15 new apprentices into the entrepreneurial fabric every year. These recent college grads could have taken jobs on Wall Street, but preferred to cut their teeth learning entrepreneurship the only way possible – by doing it.

The timing is also right for the newest entity, Cintrifuse, to help entrepreneurs and startups collide and collaborate. While the organization is just beginning to formulate their priorities, the mission is clear – create and enable citizens in the region to build companies, create value and jobs, and attract others to do the same. Cincinnati owns the talent, the resources and the passion to strengthen our entrepreneurial heritage (think of P&G and SDRC in their startup days!) Much like Switzerland, Cintrifuse goal is broad and supportive of all authentic efforts to move the needle on entrepreneurship. I look for great opportunities to surface with this organization. By the way, Jeff Weedman – the head of Cintrifuse – will be speaking at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association on Thursday, September 27. The event runs from 11:30 to 1:00 pm and you can find out more by visiting!

Onward and upward Cincinnati – keep the momentum going! Regardless of who wins the election, we must keep focused on our goal.

As always, you can read this and past articles on our blog at

Bill Cunningham is the CEO of and shop foreman at the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s