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Questions. How do you define an Entrepreneur?. Questions. How do you define an Entrepreneur? How do you know one when you see one?. Questions. How do you define an Entrepreneur? How do you know one when you see one? What do they need to succeed?. Questions.

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  • How do you define an Entrepreneur?


  • How do you define an Entrepreneur?

  • How do you know one when you see one?


  • How do you define an Entrepreneur?

  • How do you know one when you see one?

  • What do they need to succeed?


  • How do you define an Entrepreneur?

  • How do you know one when you see one?

  • What do they need to succeed?

  • Why do entrepreneurs fail?


  • How do you define an innovation?


  • What is economic development?

  • How does a community grow and thrive?

Business history of Northeast Ohio

30 years ago in the early 80’s – A strategy put in place.

30 years later – We have history repeating itself

If you were charged with enhancing the regional economy, what would you try?

Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation: “With each economic downturn, America’s best hope for revival and a return to prosperity is a strong entrepreneurial culture sustained by a legal and policy framework in which business creation and growth will thrive.”

  • EDGE Strategy – A little different Approach

  • Focus on Mid-Market Companies




The Entrepreneurs EDGE

The Entrepreneurs EDGE drives growth for mid-market companies in NE Ohio by serving as a strategic resource for CEOs and their leadership teams. 

Value Creation

  • EDGE drives growth for mid-sized companies in NE Ohio by serving as a strategic resource for CEOs and their leadership teams.

  • EDGE believes that new ideas, fresh thinking and a unique perspective are the ingredients that fuel innovation and growth.

  • CEO’s and key leadership executives committed to growing their company can join other like minded CEOs and functional managers who are members of EDGE to help each other grow by sharing best practices and inspiring their leadership teams to pursue the biggest opportunities and overcome their toughest challenges.

  • EDGE: Turning growth plans into great results for mid-market companies.

  • 2 Niches

  • Peer Groups

  • 2 Niches

  • Peer Groups

  • Utilize talented student interns from around the region


  • 2-4000 Target companies in the 17 county region.

  • 85 representative mid-mkt cos. did over $13.2 billion in sales. (85% coming from outside NE Ohio)

  • Over $1.7 billion in employee compensation + $1.5 billion in earnings.


  • Over $10 million spent/co. with local vendors.

  • Avg. of 1.2% of earnings given back to NE Ohio community in time & dollars.

  • 18.6% of earnings shared with employees.


  • ¼ of the cos. spinning off new businesses/yr.

  • ½ of the cos. average 6 new products/yr.

  • ¼ of the cos. introduced and avg. of 5 new services/yr.


  • Focus on Market Driven

  • Develop Relationships

  • Company culture, character & Personality are key

  • Manage Innovation

  • OK to be good at selling but need marketing as well

  • Educate potential leaders in co.


Advice from Bob Herbold, ex-COO of MicroSoft:

Keep the organization simple, don’t over hire.

The world constantly evolves but don’t lose the importance of co. culture.

What brought you success today probably won’t bring you success tomorrow.

Don’t let employees get “stuck in their ways.”

Don’t let conventional wisdom shutter a new innovation.

Teams are great for improving a process but deadly to innovation.


Advice continued:

 For strong performers – tell them their responsibilities, hold them accountable, and get out of the way.

Bright ideas come from employee interaction with customers; bring the customers into your shop if you have to and find out what they like and don’t like and make sure your employees hear the customers comments.

Don’t ever lose the sense of urgency.

Don’t let pride allow your products to become outdated.

Start small, think big, and move fast.



  • Ashland University

  • Case Western Reserve University

  • Cleveland State University

  • Cornell University

  • Harvard University

  • John Carroll University

  • Kent State University

  • Lorain County Community College

  • Michigan State University

  • The Ohio State University

  • The University of Akron

EDGE Fellows Program

  • Recruited 61 students from 11 colleges and universities.

  • Studied 33 new business ideas.

  • Provided value-added research to business leaders.

  • Helped to create new ventures and new opportunities.

  • Retained top talent in NEO.

    • From 2008 and 2009, 24 of 35 EDGE Fellows chose to stay and work in NEO.

EDGE Fellows 2007-2010

Current 2011 Member Companies

2. Game plan for membership growth

  • Ideal Target Companies

    • $10M - $100M in revenue / 50 – 300+ employees

    • Leadership team in place

    • Sells a portion of their goods / services outside of NE Ohio

    • Solid now, strong desire to grow

    • ** Existing Member Companies range from $10M - $750M **

    • and find value in the programs that EDGE runs.

1. Overview




  • EDGE partners with the leadership teams of its Member Companies to:

    • Share best practices

    • Help leaders solve challenging issues

    • Help identify and take advantage of new opportunities

    • Connect companies with the region’s top business leaders and students

Shared Their Executive Excellence

  • Eaton Corporation

  • Energizer Holdings, Inc.

  • Entrepreneurs for Sustainability

  • FedEx Custom Critical

  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

  • Lumitex, Inc.

  • Newry Corporation

  • NineSigma, Inc.

  • Nottingham-Spirk Design

  • Parker Hannifin Corporation

  • Pressco Technology, Inc.

  • ShurTech / Henkel / Manco

  • The Step2 Company LLC

  • The Timken Company

NE Ohio Companies that hired EDGE Fellows

2010 Fellows:




More to come …

2008 Fellows:

Box Performance

Case Western Reserve University

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Corporate United

Insivia, Inc.

Lorain County Community College

Second Harvest Food Bank

Smart Solutions

Soft-Lite, LLC

The SpyGlass Group

The Westfield Group

2009 Fellows:



Case Western Reserve University

The Entrepreneurs EDGE

Fathom SEO


Innovelop, LLC

Murray Energy Corporation



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