Today entrepreneurship and small-business start-ups across America are highly important factors in both the economic and social sectors, some cities supporting the growth of this sort better than others. For instance, places like Silicon Valley, Oklahoma City, Boston, Seattle, and today’s feature entrepreneurship location Cleveland, Ohio, go above and beyond in the business sector.
Cleveland is a city known for its turn-of-the-century manufacturing community, an innovative beginning that leads to the current industrious healthcare and biotech startup community. The industrial growth first stemmed from the opening of the Erie canals and the increasing overall need for machinery and transportation equipment. The port success mixed with the citizen's desire for growth has turned Cleveland into what it is today: a thriving start-up in the sector.
Cleveland Business Facts:
- The Cost of Living is 9.7% below the national average
- The average income is $50,722
- Forbes ranks Cleveland as #121 Best Places for Business and Careers, #135 in Cost of Doing Business, and #138 in Job Growth
- Healthcare and BioScience are the top industries in Cleveland.
- Sherwin Williams, Back Yard Burgers, CardioInsight, and many other successful businesses have started and thrived in Cleveland.
- The college attainment level for the area is 29.4%
Here are the 4 main reasons Cleveland is great for entrepreneurs:
The startup support community all around the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio region is impressive, the area hosting a slew of helpful companies, tools, and resources for small businesses and eager entrepreneurs. Programs such as Rethink Cleveland’s U.S Small Business Administration Sector, Cleveland State University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cuyahoga Small Business Development Center, and Northeast Region Minority Business Center each play a huge role in business successes throughout the area.
One of the biggest helping factors and success stories in this sector is JumpStart Inc, a highly respected local company that works to ‘unlock the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform the community of Northeastern Ohio.’ Ray Leach, the CEO, made the statement in 2015 that he would like to see ‘10,000 new jobs in Cleveland in the next 10 years’, a highly lofty and helpful goal to set for the Greater Cleveland community. When asked what the most successful startup stories in the area were JumpStart made mention of a few of its favorites from Cleveland including Cardio Insight, CoverMyMeds, and Embrace Pet Insurance.
Having these companies and centers throughout the community also means having regularly hosted workshops, events, and festivals dealing with entrepreneurship and business as well.
Within Cleveland, there is an ultra cultural and educational community known as University Circle, a spot in which you will find a conglomerate of economy-boosting institutions helpful in tourism, education, and business. Some of the major influences here include the Cleveland Botanical Garden, University Hospital, Western Reserve Society, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Case Western Reserve University.
Aside from this hotbed of economic city activity, there is also a general outpouring of education/university opportunities throughout the city. Major schools in the area include Case Western, Cleveland State, Ohio Tech, Bryant and Stratton, and the Cleveland Institutes of Art, Music, and Electronics, respectively. As mentioned before, the college attainment level here is practically 30%, a factor weighing heavily on the easy city access to these institutions.
Cleveland is most known for its healthcare and biotech industry more recently, which translates into several small business startup opportunities for entrepreneurs in these fields. There have been hundreds of companies within the biotech and biomedical fields opened in the Greater Cleveland/Northeast Ohio area in the past decade, and those numbers are only growing larger each year.
Port & Manufacturing History
The opening of the Ohio and Erie canals in 1832, as well as the ending of the Civil War and demand for jobs and industrious machinery, put Cleveland on the map as far as the economy, trade, and industry in the modern world go. The growth was directly due to the cargo port ease of access and popular location, today is considered the ‘largest overseas general cargo port on Lake Erie’. This industrious past has lead to a manufacturing stronghold in years leading up to this (transportation and machinery), and a strong service-based economy today!
While there aren’t very many notable entrepreneurship-focused tours within the city, you may call ahead and try to tour any particular business you are interested in, such as JumpStart, or choose to take a campus tour of a popular local university such as Case Western or Cleveland State. Other popular city tours that represent the local business well include:
West Side Market