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Reginald Johnson, an entrepreneur, explaining his children’s character media company venture to JumpStart associates and community members.
Ever wonder how an idea transforms into a thriving company, or what elements are needed to create a prosperous local economy? JumpStart, a Cleveland-based venture development organization has an insider's scoop.

Founded in 2004, JumpStart works to accelerate the growth of high potential, early-stage businesses by targeting entrepreneurs that implement innovative business ideas, currently gross less than $10 million in annual revenue, but demonstrate the potential to create significant wealth, business, and employment opportunities for communities. The organization consults one-on-one with venture-ready companies located in the inner cities of Northeast Ohio, including Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, and Lorain.

As the organization aims to advance both entrepreneurial capacity and business resources within the region, it uses a combination of intensive business assistance and investment capital to meet these objectives. This requires outreach to engage regional entrepreneurs, identifying the most significant opportunities, and providing a continuum of pro-bono services, such as business development assistance, networking, and educational programs. At the core of these activities is a focus on and commitment to comprehensive inclusion programming to ensure that traditionally-underserved markets, namely ethnic minority groups, women, and other inner-city businesses, receive capital as well as full access to the array of resources available throughout the region.

The success of JumpStart has attracted national attention and they are now launching an early pilot effort to replicate their model in six targeted communities in the Midwest. This work is of national significance as it represents a breakthrough for models of economic development and entrepreneurship, particularly in older industrial cities. JumpStart has partnered with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and is working towards an EDA challenge grant for their Midwest pilot model. JumpStart anticipates receiving support from the Economic Development Administration for this endeavor in March/April.

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