Region’s startups create more jobs, seek new talent

Posted: February 16, 2015 by Amanda Greenwell in Uncategorized

AmandaGreenwellIt’s no secret that startups are drivers of job growth in the United States and here in the Tri-State. In fact, a 2010 study from the Kauffman Foundation reports that new firms add an average of three million jobs to the U.S. economy compared to existing businesses. The accelerator program I manage, UpTech, and so many other groups in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky strive to support startups’ total growth in their early stages, but the other critical need our community provides is offering local talent to fill jobs for these companies.

As this column often discusses, our region is becoming a Midwestern hub for cultivating startup success. Just look at the recent news about the early wins for Connetic Ventures, a new angel investment group in Northern Kentucky composed of mostly younger investors. Last fall, it was announced that The Brandery and UpTech were two of just fifty national winners of the first U.S. Small Business Administration accelerator growth fund. And all the many other pieces to our region’s startup scene – CincyTech, Cintrifuse, the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, Bad Girl Ventures, the iNKUbator, Queen City Angels, Hamilton County Business Center, and more – are making our region so attractive to founders and funders. The other key ingredient to startup success, however, is having great talent available for new companies to hire.

I often find myself reiterating to UpTech’s entrepreneurs the importance of networking and relationship building. Earlier this month, UpTech wanted to provide an opportunity for our region’s students to meet the innovators behind local startups and connect both students and professionals with local entrepreneurs looking to hire. This was the impetus behind our recent UPLINK event, the first of many more to come.

On Monday, February 9, over 200 students packed our offices in Covington, representing Ohio universities like the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Miami University, Mount St. Joseph University, and others; Kentucky schools, Northern Kentucky University and Gateway Community and Technical College, even sponsored buses to bring students in. The goal of our event was to link these creative- and tech-minded students and professionals with local startups looking to make full- and part-time hires, as well as those with paid internships. With over two-dozen startups in attendance, such as Ahalogy, Zipscene, 3DLT, and Nekst, I’m particularly looking forward to hear about what connections sparked new long-term relationships for both the startups and students.

When we set out to put on UPLINK, our team knew this region had a pool of companies that could offer something more than a 9-5 corporate gig. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky startups are transforming our economy, and that change also requires that our schools, colleges, universities, and training programs prepare students for the technical and creative careers entrepreneurs can offer. I was encouraged to see students and professionals literally standing in line to discuss these opportunities with startup founders.

As UPLINK has shown, we’ve got the startups that have jobs. We also know we have the talent for startups to hire and be successful here. I can’t wait to see how we all can continue to make connections between the two to accelerate our region’s growth.

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