Barbara Payne's Capitalist Cleveland Blog

News and Views: Entrepreneurs a-thrive in Northeast Ohio

Saturday, April 30, 2005

NEWS FLASH Entrepreneurs
New office-away-from-home downtown

I am psyched about a new business that's recently opened in downtown Cleveland. It's called "The Business Center," and it's a wireless-equipped business lounge with office rental/document service/transportation service and a-coffee-and-wine-bar-and-catering service.

For professionals who need to be downtown but don't have an office, this is a cool solution. Located in the Theater District, it offers affordable limo service to and from the airport as well as around downtown. Video conferencing available, big meeting rooms, 2 lounges. Wireless and long distance.

CEO Jayne Herchak says she and her partners had all experienced the frustration of being downtown with appointments to keep, nowhere to stay, and no way to get work done while waiting.

As part of their philosophy, they're showcasing Cleveland companies as often as possible--starting with partnering with other companies to offer their various services.

Customers might have a hard time finding them just now--no signage up yet because the exterior of the building isn't finished. Offices rent for $15 an hour. The patio is a few weeks away from opening. Open M-S, hours 6:30-9 M-T-W, 6:30-midnight, Th-F. Saturday open from 5 pm til midnight.

Jayne's friends say they've taken a bus all the way from Brecksville to land at the bus stop in front of the Wyndham Hotel--which she says is 10 seconds away from The Business Center's front door.

Don't call the number of the website--it's being used as a training site by one of the partners. The real phone number is 216.522.1220.

I don't know how you could get much cooler than this. See you at soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Cleveland nominated for best "business-cool" places

Well, just lost that post... "( Starting again...

Business owners, be of good cheer. Cleveland was nominated as one of the world's best places for having good things that make a business climate desirable--and the World Teleport Association gave us serious consideration.

Here are the criteria--just think how you might be able to use these kinds of resources:
  • Attracting new businesses to the community or stimulating their formation

  • Creating training programs to equip citizens with knowledge-worker skills

  • New job creation

  • New technology infrastructure investment, whether of “hard” assets, services or software

  • Improvements in the delivery of government and public services such as education, administration, law enforcement or citizen participation

  • Innovation in government procedures and/or business processes

With OneCleveland building fiber-optic connectivity and software applications for all our public organizations, and with all our superior educational institutions, we've got stuff few other places can match.

So who cares if we didn't win? It's exciting and encouraging to know that we belong in the competition.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ohio hot with VC--and without

Not being a gambler, I like to put my money where I can at least pretend I have a reasonable chance of a decent return. Venture capitalists aren't any different. They like the sure thing as much as the next guy.

Which is why Ohio should be happy to hear the news that Crain's Cleveland Business reported today. BioEnterprise, the bigshot bio aggregator, so to speak, in Ohio just conducted a report and they're saying Ohio's looking good. Ohio bioscience companies have raised $42 million this year, only $8 million behind Minnesota's, which is seen as a Midwest leader in bioscience activity. Though I gotta tell ya, we still look pretty pathetic next to Massachusetts where the bio community collects, on average, $288 million.

Crain's reports: "Ohio companies receiving venture capital during the first quarter were Axiomed Spine Corp. of Beachwood with $18 million, Ventaira Pharmaceuticals of Columbus with $13 million, Cleveland BioLabs with $5.9 million, and Imalux Corp. of Cleveland with $4.4 million."

But this isn't the whole story in Cleveland. Ohio might be even happier when they talk to a couple of people like Mike Burke of Trek Diagnostics and Arnon Chait over at Analiza. They're going great guns pretty much venture-capital-free.

You go, guys. That's Entrepreneurialism with a capitalist E.

Friday, April 15, 2005

NEOpreneur's software helps Big Blue

It's 3:30 a.m.--a busy hour for capitalists in Cleveland. Come on...I know I'm not the only one of us up today at this ungodly hour thinking about what has to get done today and the next weeks and months. It's just part of the game when you're out there capitalisting--trying to create jobs and boost the economy.

Well, here's a good story to kick this off. Recently discovered that Valdis Krebs, a local NEOentrepreneur who's been out there in the trenches for a few years already, was instrumental in helping IBM become a better company.
"It was back in 1990. We were looking at the AS400 division," says Gerry Falkowski, former IBM organizational development leader, now a private consultant who coaches top execs. "Wanted to know how to get the global team to work better and smarter. First we did an ONA (organization network analysis); then we used InFlow (Valdis's Macintosh-based social network diagramming software package) to build network diagrams from my org analysis. We were able to come up with powerful recommendations to improve teaming and cross functional working. It was very successful, though a bit crude at the time. I asked Valdis, 'Could you write that to run on Windows?' IBM paid him well to do so. I brought that tool into IBM, and we developed consulting methods around it. I had 150 people train on how to use the tool and how to consult."

Today, after much manipulation and finagling and getting Tom Peters to write about it, Gerry says, "I can now look at these [InFLow maps] and almost immediately see what’s going on by measuring the frequency of interaction. 'You are not working well together!'" Those of us who've seen Valdis show his mapping examples here in NEO have caught on pretty quickly, too. Want to see who's keeping who out of the loop? InFlow reveals all.

Read more about what's happened to IBM since InFlow. And give one Cleveland entrepreneur a big pat on the back for helping make it happen. Let us know what company you're helping transform next, Valdis.