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Here’s why Greater Cincinnati companies should get into the local startup scene

In the last decade, Greater Cincinnati has become known as a major U.S. entrepreneurial hub, with a growing number of incubator programs working to boost our regional economy by investing in new innovations that drive small companies with big vision into well-known brands and growing companies.

Meanwhile, we’re home to eight Fortune 500 companies: Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, Fifth Third, AK Steel, Cincinnati Financial, Western & Southern, and American Financial Group.

How can these two distinct economic ecosystems go beyond coexisting to thriving? The short answer: By fostering support for talent at all levels. Take a look, for example, at Cintrifuse’s board of directors, which is made up of leaders from diverse industries across Greater Cincinnati. Why would local CEOs support an organization whose startups are building the P&Gs and Krogers of tomorrow?

Put simply, it’s because if large corporations wish to remain vibrant and industry leaders they must cultivate talent and ideas from the ground up. In fact, the more talent you have in your hometown, the greater the opportunity to leverage ideas to keep enhancing their own business and growing the whole region.

In recent years, companies like P&G and Fifth Third stepped up to that challenge by creating local pop-up shops and partnering with regional universities to nurture innovation.

But industry giants aren’t the only companies that can use local entrepreneurial power to their advantage. Here are just three reasons engaging with and investing in our growing startup culture is beneficial for businesses of every shape and size across Greater Cincinnati:

  1. It adds international appeal... Particularly in the tech space, our incubators recently hosted teams from as far away as Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.

  2. ...Which increases inclusion... Local accelerators support a wide variety of entrepreneurs, from every imaginable walk of life. Greater Cincinnati is home to Ocean, one of the world’s only faith-based entrepreneurial incubators, as well as Aviatra Accelerators supporting female-led projects and initiatives and MORTAR, whose mission, in part, is to incentivize and cultivate entrepreneurship within the African-American community.

  3. ...And builds our reputation. Greater Cincinnati ranks high in standard-bearing reports like those from Ewing Marion Kauffman, which recently named the region No. 1 in Ohio (and No. 18 nationwide) for startup activity. Continuing to invest in our entrepreneurial ecosystem will make us more competitive in both high-growth and Main Street entrepreneurship.

Ready to get involved, but not ready to make an investment? Check out a few non-traditional ways local companies can support Greater Cincinnati’s thriving startup scene:

 

  • Be curious. Learn about local entrepreneurs as well as the products and services they offer — then try them for yourself. Talk to startup owners about the challenges they’re facing. Starting this type of dialogue can offer great perspective for overcoming your own business challenges.

  • Spread the word. Trying a startup product is only the beginning. Tell your circle and use social media to get the word out.

  • Give feedback. Seasoned business leaders often take their vast knowledge and experience for granted. Offering business advice and mentoring can help a struggling startup tackle new challenges.

  • Make introductions. Provide startups and entrepreneurs with a connection and accessibility to regional and national partners.

REDI Cincinnati works hard to connect growing companies to talent and other resources from across the region. We have the experience and expertise to assist any company as it prepares to expand or relocate. Contact us as your crucial first point-of-entry to Greater Cincinnati.