LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION’S INNOVATION FUND ANNOUNCES LATEST ROUND OF INVESTMENTS
The Innovation Fund, administered by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, is investing $350,000 in five technology start-up companies in the latest round of awards announced this past August. Funds from Ohio’s Third Frontier Program combined with matching local support and contributions from a variety of partners are used to make the Innovation Fund awards.
The success of the Innovation Fund is directly tied to the support from its diverse network of partners. These partners include: the Ohio Third Frontier, University of Akron, University of Akron Research Foundation, Cleveland State University, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), Jumpstart, Lorain County Community College Foundation, Stark State College of Technology, Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator and most recently Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).
Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) formerly known as Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) is a community-based, public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in Northeast Ohio. Working in collaboration with its educational and clinical partners, NEOMED focuses on scientific and medical research, and the interprofessional training of health professionals that is unique to the state of Ohio. The University offers a doctor of medicine (M.D.) and a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Additionally, NEOMED provides graduate-level coursework and research opportunities leading to master’s and doctoral degrees in other medical areas. Northeast Ohio Medical University is also a founding member of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron.
Including the June 30, 2011 cycle of awards, the Innovation Fund has made 85 awards to 75 companies totaling $4.95 million. These companies, from across the region of Northeast Ohio, have attracted more than $54 million in add-on investments, created nearly 160 new jobs and over 150 internships for students. Students interning with these start-up companies experience what it means and what it takes be an entrepreneur. It is the inclusion of the educational experience that led to Lorain County Community College Foundation receiving a landmark private letter ruling from the IRS authorizing contributions to the fund tax-deductible.
The Innovation Fund awards help to fill the funding need for businesses that are at the earliest stage of development, which is the difficult point in a business’s growth before they are mature enough to attract angel investors and venture capitalists. There are two types of Innovation Fund support: the first is an award of $25,000 to help validate the technology; and the second is a pre-seed award of up to $100,000, which requires a one-to-one match, and is designed to help validate the business concept.
The five Innovation Fund Awards announced as part of the June 30, 2011 cycle are:
• Online Funeral Rates and Ratings. Funerally changes the way families in need of funeral services and funeral homes connect with each other by utilizing simple, web-based matchmaking technology. The technology approach is meant to provide peace of mind to families going through the funeral planning process while offering funeral homes the ability to market themselves more efficiently.
• Sterionics offers a simple, portable, effective sterilization device that ensures: Sterilization time reduction, promotes healing, is a moderate cost and uses low energy consumption.
• Utilizing a patent-pending process, Baseline Organics’ technologies dramatically accelerate the process of aging and maturation of distilled spirits.
• Provides a non-invasive gum disease treatment by selling an oral hygiene devise that painlessly treats common oral conditions including gingivitis, gum recession, and bone loss while optionally whitening teeth.
• Turns sales interactions into intelligence by providing a new technology that helps organizations improve their field sales interactions with customers and prospects.
The application for the Innovation Fund is an on-line process Upon submission, Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) and its regional partners representing a network of industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors employ a thorough due diligence process to assess both the technology and the business potential. The next quarterly information session to learn more about the fund and its process will be held on November 15, 2011. Please visit the fund’s website at www.innovationfundneohio.com for more information or to register for the session.