What One Person Can Do!

Posted: October 7, 2012 by Bill Cunningham in Ecosystem, Innovation, Leadership, Non-Profit, People, Startup, Technology

The Greater Cincinnati Venture Association set a new record of over 200 attendees for the Cintrifuse presentation by Jeff Weedman. Hot topics always make for great crowds, but Cintrifuse drew over 60 non-members to the event highlighting the importance of entrepreneurial ecosystem to the regional economy. The GCVA also took the opportunity to recognize Laura Baverman, the Enquirer’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship reporter, for her contributions to the entrepreneurial community. As Jack Wyant, Blue Chip Venture Company’s founder and managing director, so eloquently delivered,

“You helped change an entire region in just one decade
For 1,875,000 words our thanks is hereby acknowledged and paid!”

 As part of the team of business school professors and entrepreneurs who pen this column, we applaud all the media that have curated our progress as growing startup community.   As Jeff Weedman stated at the GCVA, “We are fighting above our weight class!” That is the dream of every entrepreneur – to appear bigger and better in the eyes of the world. Thanks to Laura and all the media sources, we read about it, celebrate it and create a culture that appreciates it!

So thanks to Laura, there would be many successes missed in the journey without her reporting. And there are many other unrecognized leaders in building the community — people who do it for the “good of the order” and because it is the right thing to do. For example, you have no idea of the thousands of hours Rich Kiley logged back in the early 2000’s (at CincyTech then known as the Regional Technology Initiative) working on Senate Bill 180. SB180 created the Ohio Venture Capital Authority allowing many venture firms to leverage the Third Frontier and create new startups, technologies and jobs. Cincinnati was fortunate to borrow Rich as an on-loan executive from P&G — or SB180 would not have seen the light of day.

Many more “Wizards of Oz” work behind the curtains towards the success of our entrepreneurial community. If I try to name them all, I will miss most of them. They may not seem to be a part of the ecosystem, but they all are doing their best to support it. They include the volunteer (and tireless) organizers of events like TEDx, Continuous Web, the GCVA, the software interest groups, IEEE and the like. The programs at Cincinnati State that create new chefs and Springboard at ArtWorks that creates business-savvy artists and creatives – make up the fabric of our entrepreneurial community. The Venture for America program (recruited by a team led by Eric Avner of the Haile Foundation) is quietly building the next generation of entrepreneurs and building a network of high energy foot soldiers for startups.

Now it is your turn — what can you do to make a difference? No one can do it all, but all of us can do something that moves the needle. I truly believe Laura Baverman had no idea of the impact of her work on our efforts and how grateful we are that she communicated so well, and understood our mission, our challenges and our personalities that produced a vibrant economy. So find something you can do well to support entrepreneurship, whether it is starting a new business, or supporting the ones that are getting off the ground. One person makes a difference and we have a lot of “one persons” in Cincinnati doing just that. Be one!

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

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