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Dinner Lab launches first event at smARTspace in 78th Street Studios

Dinner Lab introduced Clevelanders to its social dining experiment last Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24 at smARTspace in the 78th Street Studios. Known as a pop-up restaurant event where up-and-coming chefs present new menus and concepts and then gather feedback, Cleveland marks Dinner Lab’s 33rd location in the country.

Chef Danny Espinoza of Chicago was the featured chef last week – offering diners his Anomar five-course modern Mexican menu. “”These are my roots as a Mexican and I am feeding it to you subliminally,” Espinoza said on Friday night’s menu. “My food is inspired by my grandmother. Tonight should feel like a party at her house.”
Anomar, is in fact his grandmother’s name, Ramona, spelled backwards. Espinoza shared with the diners that he grew up watching her cook and began to take interest in how she made her food at age 15. “I’m not going to give you the smallest, cutest little thing,” he promised. “I want to leave here not full, but satisfied.”
Espinoza's menu included a calamari salad, a pork and jicama tostada, fried chicken with cilantro grits, mahi mahi with mole verde and cake with roasted peanuts, strawberries and goats milk caramel. Half of the future chefs be locally based and half from out of town.
 Nearly 200 people have signed up for Dinner Lab memberships since the organization announced in April it was coming to Cleveland. Donna Debbs came Friday with a friend. “I think I’m like a baby chef at home,” the Glenville resident says. “I love food, meeting people and I wanted to broaden my network. Dinner Lab caters to a combination of things.”
Pat and Trudy Pauken became members because they love trying innovative food and socializing with new people. “We’re pretty adventurous food-wise, and we’re always open to new things and going to new restaurants,” says Pat. Trudy signed the pair up as soon as she heard about Dinner Lab. “I knew the concept, but you don’t know where it’s going to be and you don’t know the chef," she says. "I thought it would be fun going to different places.”
The memberships cost $125 per year and members can bring up to three guests with them. Each dinner is then an additional $50 to $65 per person and includes drinks. Members are informed of the date, chef and menu three weeks prior to the event, but are not told the location until 24 hours prior to the dinner.
Espinoza will soon be opening his own restaurant and was recently named to the Zagat Chicago 30 Under 30 list. The next Cleveland Dinner Lab is scheduled for August 18 and 19.

Content Marketing World adds an entrepreneurial segment to its 2015 conference

 More than 3,500 professionals in marketing, communications, social media and public relations are expected to attend  2015 Content Marketing World – the largest event of its kind  -- on September 8-11 at the Cleveland Convention Center.

Over 100 speakers from companies including Kraft FoodsAvery Dennison and LinkedIn will cover the basics of content marketing to specific marketing strategies used by successful companies. The estimated economic impact of the conference is $3.6 million, according to Destination Cleveland
Unlike past years, this year's conference will cover the entrepreneurial market , says Content Marketing Institute founder and event coordinator Joe Pulizzi. The content marketing expert will host the Content Inc. Summit, geared specifically at entrepreneurs and small business owners on the last day of this year's conference on September 11. 
“There is a better way to launch a business today,” says Pulizzi. “Build an audience first. Once you build an audience, you can launch the business.”
By building an audience based on content, says Pulizzi, the entrepreneur can learn more about what the target market desires. “Anybody who wants to be their own boss in any industry, this is the way to go,” he says. “It takes patience, but it’s absolutely worth it.”
The Content Inc. Summit will feature a presentation by Pulizzi on “Six Steps to Content Marketing Domination,” as outlined in his book of the same title. Five additional speakers include Matthew Patrick, founder of Game Theory; John Lee Dumas, founder of EntrepreneurOnFire; and Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media.
Register online for the Content Inc. Summit, or register for the entire conference until September 4. 

Jakprints combines cutting edge print technology with environmental standards

Custom printing company Jakprints has always been on the cutting edge with its technology as well as  its commitment to the environment. Jakprints recently teamed up with Heidelberg USA to bring the Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor press to its offices. The green-friendly press is the first  of its kind to be installed in North America, says CEO Nick DeTomaso.
While Jakprints has been doing digital printing for the past 13 of its 16 years in business, DeTomaso has never seen the quality Heidelberg’s new press offers in terms of both quality and speed.  

“The technology has matured, but it’s evolved quickly enough that it changes,” he says. “We’re very heavily involved in the graphic design community, and they have an eye for quality.”
The Speedmaster is billed as having the top efficiency, versatility and environmental friendliness in a digital format. “Everybody’s trying to get digital print efficiency,” says DeTomaso. “For the printing industry of America, this is the direct mail wave of the future.”
In addition, the Speedmaster fits with Jakprints’ environmental commitment. The press uses only 20 to 30 sheets of paper to make something ready for printing, whereas older offset models use between 500 and 1,000 sheets.
“That motivated us to make this move,” says DeTomaso. “We’ve always found ways to reduce waste. This is a huge advancement for us and will save over one million press sheets this year.”
Jakprints also uses only soy and vegetable-based inks with zero-VOC press washes. Founded by Dameon Guess and Jacob Edwards, the company has grown to 250 employees in its Midtown headquarters and has earned a reputation for being environmentally conscientious. 

Citizens Bank gives ECDI a $1 million line of credit to help grow businesses, create jobs

Citizens Bank is giving the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI) a $1 million line of credit to help finance loans to new and expanding businesses. ECDI provides loans between $500 and $350,000 to business owners and entrepreneurs trying to start or grow their businesses who might otherwise not be able to secure a loan.
ECDI's Cleveland office will receive the majority of the money, says Eric Diamond, executive vice president of ECDI Cleveland. “We will have a little more than 50 percent in this area because our loan volume is pretty high,” he says. “We expect to see a 30 percent increase in loan volume this year over last year.”
ECDI and Citizens have regularly worked together on securing loans for ECDI clients and have formed a good relationship, Diamond says . ECDI works with the SBA in addition to a variety of banks when funding a loan.
“Without us getting funding, we couldn’t fund other people,” says Diamond, adding that their average loan is about $25,000.
ECDI, which also has offices  offices in Columbus, Toledo and Akron, is the fourth largest SBA micro-lender in the United States and a U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Since the organization was started in Columbus in 2004, ECDI has assisted over 5,000 entrepreneurs, loaned over $25 million to over 1,200 businesses, and created and retained over 4,500 jobs across the state.  
The Cleveland ECDI office alone has funded approximately $5.3 million to more than 130 businesses since it started in 2012. “Citizens really understands CDFIs and they’ve spent a lot of time with us,” says Diamond. “They really know business and they are a class act to work with.”

Jason Minter plans to pedal Italian treats around Cleveland neighborhoods

When Jason Minter has fond memories of his grandmother, Connie Pugh, and her fascination with PBS programming. “Every Sunday we would go to my grandma’s after church and she was always watching PBS,” he recalls. “She would say, ‘PBS brings all these cultures to me right in my living room.’ My grandmother never left the city.”

Years later, in 2012, Minter was in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy as a teaching assistant with Texas A&M’s college of architecture study abroad program when he discovered affogatos – gelato topped with a shot of espresso. The experience reminded Minter of his grandmother’s travels via public television.
After duplicating the affogatos for some friends back home in Tremont, Minter was encouraged to start a business of it. He kept testing his recipe and attended Cleveland State’s Meet the Lenders program last summer, where he got additional encouragement, Minter started Connie’s Affogato.
Minter then decided to enter the Old Brooklyn business plan competition, and was one of three winners. “We approached the competition with the understanding that opening a bricks and mortar storefront would be unfeasible for Connie's Affogato at this point,” he explains. “Instead we proposed a new model for economic development with a substantially lower barrier to entry than existing models. The competition judges responded positively to our strategy.”
The mobile affogato shop will be equipped with a specially-made bicycle – complete with a freezer, stove and “storefront” – with help from Soulcraft Woodshop and CWRU’s ThinkBox.  Espresso will be brewed on the bike, while he plans to get his ice cream from a local supplier.
Connie’s Affogato will serve Old Brooklyn, as well as area festivals and fairs. “The city of Cleveland is my canvas,” Minter says. “I see a Cleveland where people are spending a little less time in their homes and car and contributing to a vibrant street life.”
Minter plans to take growth one step at a time. He is on schedule to open May 1 next summer with just one mobile storefront, then grow accordingly. While he says it’s not necessary, his plan includes opening a bricks and mortar storefront in three years. “You got to let the market guide you,” he says.

OneCommunity hosts [R]IoT happy hour to capitalize on growing new economy

When OneCommunity, a non-profit organization committed to expanding high-speed broadband access and using technology to give Northeast Ohio a leg up over other regions in the country and become an innovation hub, held the Cleveland [R]IoT Regional Summit back in April, the turnout was better than organizers expected.
“Three hundred people came to the summit in April – far larger than we were anticipating,” says Catherine Bules, OneCommunity project manager. “It was all the industry and technology crew to finance and legal people. It was a diverse group of people and very powerful.”
[R]IoT, or “Recognizing the Internet of Things,” deals with the future of the Internet and technology. “Imagine the internet hasn’t been born yet,” says OneCommunity CEO Lev Gonick. “Back in 1993 people were talking about the World Wide Web and would get scoffed at. The IoT ecosystem will dwarf the internet today as we know it. There’s a huge financial piece -- $10 trillion over the next decade – and Northeast Ohio is hugely positioned to be a player.”
Based on the April event’s success and feedback from attendees, OneCommunity decided to hold another [R]IoT – this time a happy hour at Music Box Supper Club on Tuesday, July 14th – to delve deeper into the IoT possibilities.  
Gonick calls IoT the Industrial Revolution meets the Internet Revolution. “It propels us into a global leadership role with the full breadth of what Northeast Ohio can do,” he says.
The happy hour will have demonstrations and plenty of networking. Companies already signed up to show off their products and solutions include iRx Reminder, which makes it easier to track whether patients are taking their medications, and Everykey, one wristband for all the user’s keys and passwords. Inventors have until tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8, to apply to demonstrate
Bules stresses that the [R]IoT happy hour is more of a networking event than educational. “Basically, it’s a science fair with alcohol,” she jokes. Registration is encouraged. Tickets are $5 to cover food and drinks. The event runs from 4pm to 7pm.

Windrush joins Flashstarts to take social impact software to the next level

Mark Morrison and the cofounders of Windrush, which provides a web publishing tool for nonprofits, were looking to take their company to the next level.

Morrison suggested the company go on the road to his hometown of Cleveland and join the FlashStarts 2015 summer accelerator program. So in May, Morrison and his two partners did just that.
Windrush helps social impact organizations produce more than just a white paper while trying to get their messages across. Using data visualization tools, Windrush makes it easy to create interactive and vibrant materials, copy and data to engage readers.
Morrison, Max Walker and Riley Alsmann were friends at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and about to graduate when they founded Windrush in 2013 based on a software development project Walker was working on for school.
Upon graduation, the Windrush team was looking to grow the company. “We were looking to enter an accelerator to help us grow,” Morrison says. “We applied all over the country and we were accepted to a few of them.”
Morrison, a native of Maple Heights and a graduate of St. Ignatius High School, urged the team to join FlashStarts’ accelerator program. “It was a great fit, plus Cleveland is like the origin of nonprofits,” he says. “We’re really young coming out of college and we wanted a relationship. We want to learn from our mistakes.”
FlashStarts gave Windrush an initial $25,000 investment and the company has set up shop in the FlashStarts offices, at least for the summer.
“Windrush was chosen for our accelerator because they have a product that will radically transform content marketing, journalism and the art of online storytelling,” says Grace Moenich, FlashStarts’ director of public relations. “Their platform allows organizations to easily showcase their data in beautiful and compelling ways -- a feat which would otherwise require an enormous amount of money to hire very rare talent. They solve a large and common problem for businesses.”
Windrush will also be eligible for follow-on funding when the 12-week program is over.

Who's hiring in CLE: Cleveland Codes, CMSD, Bad Girl Ventures and more

Welcome to the latest installment of Fresh Water’s “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply.
Cleveland Codes
As a senior account executive at the online marketing firm Fathom, Matthew Fieldman witnessed first-hand the demand for tech talent in Cleveland. “I saw a need for basic website coders, nothing too fancy.” With a proven track record of having helped launch Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute, Fieldman is knowledgeable of the concept of giving people the tools to succeed in any industry.
So, Fieldman, who is now vice president of external affairs for MAGNET, decided to launch Cleveland Codes. The organization will prepare inner city youth between the ages of 17 and 25 for software development careers.
“Here we have lots of brilliant kids in the Cleveland School District and a need for coders,” explains Fieldman. “This will bridge the gap." He says employers are willing to pay the tuitions for training instead of the usual placement fees they pay agencies to find talent.
Cleveland Codes is on track to launch in the spring of 2016. Students will go through a six-month boot camp to learn coding and then be placed in apprenticeships.
In the meantime, Fieldman is looking for a co-founder, lead educator and coding instructor to help get the program off the ground. “We need to get this person on to complete funding for it, finalize the curriculum and build it from the ground up,” he says. “This person would be the face of Cleveland Codes.”
For more information or to apply for the position, contact Fieldman directly.
MakerGear, a leading manufacturer of desktop 3D printers, is looking for an experienced electrical engineer with excellent programming skills. Candidate will work in a collaborative environment with mechanical and materials engineers on product improvements and new product design development. MakerGear also needs a production technician to perform mechanical assembly of 3D printers using standard tools. To apply for either position, send resumes to the hiring manager.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has a number of non-teaching positions open, including an admissions and recruitment coordinatordirector of student services and a college registrar at Bard High School Early College; dean of arts and dean of academics at Cleveland School of the Arts; and director of bilingual education in the CMSD administration offices. To apply for these positions or to see more positions, go to Teach Cleveland.
Panzica Construction Company 
Panzica Construction Company needs an experienced estimator with five to 10 years of experience in commercial construction. Responsibilities include set up of projects to bid, soliciting interest from subcontractors, and managing the bidding process; preparing conceptual estimate and studies throughout the pre-construction process, providing the project team with cost input throughout the process; and performing in-depth quantity and qualitative takeoffs.
Qualified candidates must have a strong knowledge of all CSI divisions including MEP and knowledge of all types of commercial construction. Strong K-12 experience is a plus. Applicants must possess strong communication skills and be proficient with current industry technology. To apply, submit resumes to executive vice president Mark Panzica.

Bad Girl Ventures
Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), an educational and micro-finance, non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting female entrepreneurs in key areas of their business, needs a part-time program manager on a contract basis. Hours range from 15 to 20 hours a week during the academic year and five to 10 hours a week in the summers. Most work will be done remotely, but some Saturday morning and evenings may be required.
Responsibilities’ include program and event logistics related to classes; facilitation of classes and seminars; recruit, organize and communicate with volunteers; organizing alumni events and support alumni program development; develop contact lists; conducing follow-up interviews and surveys; marketing tasks, including a newsletter. Apply BGV Cleveland executive director Reka Barabas.
Because I Said I Would 
Because I Said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity by making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness, needs a fulfillment specialist. The organizations ships promise cards to 150 countries and sells products to fund charities. Qualified applicants will have a college degree in business, fashion merchandising or equivalent professional experience; strong communication skills; experience in online research; excellent customer service skills; and experience in e-commerce sales and fulfillment. To apply, email the HR manager with “Fulfillment Specialist Applicant” and your name in the subject line.

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation needs a community outreach coordinator to engage and coordinate community members in order to connect stakeholders, improve the quality of life, and encourage empowered leadership in Old Brooklyn. Preferred experiences and skills include community outreach; group and project management; education and youth programming; and volunteer coordination. Comfort with basic software such as MS Office is required. Spanish-speaking candidates preferred. Visit the Old Brooklyn website for more information. Applicants must provide a cover letter and resume to the hiring manager by Friday, July 24th.
OHTec is looking for a quality assurance manager to act as the quality assurance representative for one of the product teams; define, create and maintain test plans and strategies for existing and new products and projects; lead and mentor QA testers; work with product managers, development managers, and others to help drive a test strategy based on Scrum/Agile methodologies and implement best practice; and help design and implement automated testing strategies across multiple systems and platforms
The ideal candidate should be able to understand complex cross-platform software systems and implement manual and automated test strategies. To apply, click here.
Metisentry, which builds, manages and integrates software and data center systems through web, mobile and cloud platforms to manage workflow and change the way people do business, needs a PHP developer with one to three years of experience in WordPress, Magento, MySQL, PHP and jQuery. Send resumes to Medisentry’s HR department.
KnowBase Talent Management Solutions
KnowBase Talent Management Solutions, a growing software solutions company focused on the selection, vetting, training and tracking of talent to make it easier to hire and train people who will have an impact, is seeking an experienced developer and a software engineer. Apply through JumpStart’s careers page.
Casentric, an intelligent software solutions provider, needs an inside software salesperson with two to three years of telesales experience. For more information or to apply, go to JumpStart’s careers page.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture needs a manager to oversee the day-to-day operations and contribute to the overall strategy of the general operating support grant program. The job requires an understanding of nonprofit organizations, including their operational needs and complexities; and a keen interest in and understanding of arts and cultural assets, and the benefit of these assets to the community. Submit resume, cover letter and salary requirements via email to by July 31.

Old Brooklyn pitch competition winners aim to fill empty storefronts

In an economic development effort to fill vacant storefronts in the city, Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) last Wednesday, June 17 hosted a business plan competition for chance to win training and grant funding to launch their businesses.
Ten finalists were chosen from more than 30 applicants, says Jeff Verespej, executive director of the OBCDC. “It’s been an incredibly exciting time he last couple of months in Old Brooklyn,” he says.
The 10 finalists then went on to receive Small Enterprise Education Development (SEED) training from ECDI and met with OBCDC staff to discuss possible locations for their businesses. “For me it was really important to have the finalist pool to have the education piece,” says Verespej. “I didn’t want a competition where 30 people threw their hats in the ring and one business gets a check. All of the participants praised the education component. They found the training to be comprehensive and in-depth.”
One of the winners found the educational component particularly helpful. “The ECDI class was good refresher course from college,” says Jim Conti of Cleveland Jam, which makes jams from local beer and wines. “It touched on some of the technical parts of the business such as licenses, permits, web traffic and sourced information that was all helpful for any small business.”
Nine of the companies made it through the training and went on to give four-minute business plan pitches to an audience and a panel of judges at the MetroHealth Old Brooklyn Health Center last week.
Three companies were chosen to receive grant funding through ECDI, which received a $30,000 grant from a fund seeded by Huntington Bank at the Ohio Capital Income Corporation to help Cleveland-area cities with their economic development efforts. In addition to Cleveland Jam, the other two winners are Jason Minter of Connie’s Affogato, which pours espresso over locally-made ice cream and sells it via bicycle, and JAC Creative, a design and marketing firm.
“We’re going to be able to help these businesses make their dreams a reality,” says Verespej. The winners will receive a portion of the grant money, one-on-one assistance finding a location in Old Brooklyn, additional financial incentives and training.
“Winning the competition has been really exciting,” says Mike Caparanis of JAC Creative. “We set aside a lot of time to construct the business plan and our presentation, and it’s nice to see our hard work paid off. It's also really empowering to have the support of the city and our neighborhood. Our next step is to use our grant funds to establish a creative studio in Old Brooklyn by the end of year.”
While the three were chosen as the winners of the competition, Verespej says he hopes the other six companies will also open in Old Brooklyn. “We’re going to work with all of them,” he says. “The goal is to open nine businesses in Old Brooklyn. I am confident we’re going to have more than three success stories from this program.”

LaunchHouse hosts community open house to show off its new focus

LaunchHouse announced in April that they were moving away from their accelerator programs and returning to their roots in entrepreneurial education, investment and community involvement. On Tuesday, June 30, the Shaker Heights organization will show off its planned new office space with a community open house.

Community members, entrepreneurs and small business owners are invited to learn more about this vibrant entrepreneurial community and how LaunchHouse can help grow their business. The event is also meant to show how LaunchHouse is trying to attract more startups and small businesses to Shaker Heights.
“It will show people this is really what happens at LaunchHouse,” says CEO Todd Goldstein. “We’re going back to our foundation of what works best.”
Between tenants and companies in the new coworking space, LaunchHouse is home to almost 100 entrepreneurs, with room for more. Two 1,000 square foot modified shipping containers, which will be located in the garage behind the main LaunchHouse facility, will offer additional office space for growing companies. Goldstain says additional containers can be added. Plans for the  containers are in the process of being completed.

Membership at Launchhouse ranges from $125 a month for flex space to $500 for a dedicated office. Student memberships are also available.
Goldstein’s vision is to create a thriving entrepreneurial community along Lee Road, rich with startups, restaurants and other businesses. “Those businesses are more likely to grow and have a larger impact; it’s not unreasonable for people to look at Lee Road as a place to grow a business community like Tremont,” he says.
Economic development organizations and the city of Shaker Heights are behind Goldstein’s vision. “The Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC) is committed to enhancing the commercial districts in the community,” says Nick Fedor, SHDC executive director. “The Chagrin-Lee commercial corridor, where Shaker LaunchHouse is located, is a strategic area for our revitalization efforts.  Building on assets such as the Shaker LaunchHouse, and the companies that are located there, is critically important to enhancing the commercial activity in the corridor and in Shaker. The SHDC is proud to partner with the City of Shaker Heights and businesses like LaunchHouse to turn this vision into a reality.”

Part of the new look includes a strong educational component, says Goldstein. The organization hosts regular Meetups on topics ranging from hackerspace and bookkeeping help to coding for game developers. Lunch and Learn is a free quarterly event with speakers from various Cleveland companies.
“It’s for small to mid-sized companies that are growing,” says Goldstein. “You’re going to see a lot more educational programs.”
Tuesday’s event will include a pitch event, sponsored by the Small Business Development Center at Cleveland Heights Library, and Cleveland State University will host a crowdfunding pitch competition. Four winners will receive all-inclusive assistance to help create their crowdfunding campaign.
Special guest Gina Prodan Kelly, founder and brand storyteller at Unmiserable, will talk about successfully launching and running a crowdfunding campaign. Registration for the pitch competition is over, but last minute entries can be obtained by calling LaunchHouse at 216/255-3070.
The open house runs from 3pm to 7pm tomorrow. Registration for the open house is not required, but encouraged.

KeyBank prides itself on sustainability in and out of the workplace

Four years ago,KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies and headquartered in Cleveland, decided to be a pace setter in corporate responsibility by releasing its first corporate responsibility report to demonstrate its commitment to responsible operations.
A big part of that report illustrates Key’s commitment to sustainable practices. In May the bank released its fourth corporate responsibility report for 2014. A large part of that report centers on “responsible operations”— a commitment to green building practices, reduced waste and reduced energy consumption.
That commitment translates into a good corporate neighbor to Clevelanders. “At Key we look at the operational footprint as well as our impact on the community,” explains Andrew Watterson, head of sustainability at KeyBank. For instance, Key’s Tiedeman Road facility, which employs 3,000 workers, is Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified, the highest of four levels recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
“Beyond energy efficiencies, we focus on waste streams, particularly paper,” says Watterson. “We’re really proud of where we’ve come in the last five years. Key has reduced paper use by 60 percent and the goal is to reduce use by an additional 30 percent by 2020. “We’re performing significantly better than our peers,” boasts Watterson.
The environmental concerns transfer over to the retail side of Key’s operations as well. Last year saw a 40 percent jump in the number of mobile accounts and 80 percent of Key’s active accounts now rely on e-statements.
Waste reduction also relies on Key employees across the bank’s facilities. During Green Office Week in April, Key employees were reminded of what they can do to reduce paper usage and even tracked the amount of food they threw away at lunch “to measure how much food waste is being generated on a daily basis,” says Watterson. On Waste Recycling Day, employees brought paper from home for shredding and recycling.
Employees also are charged with making sure the recycling containers on every floor are well placed and labeled. “We won’t be successful without engaging our employees in our efforts,” says Watterson, who also polls employees on areas of improvement in sustainability.
Key and its employees regularly sponsor and participate in community activities. Furthermore, Key boasts that it was one of the first backers of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, the initiative to encourage residents to implement green practices.

? “Key was one of the early supporters of Sustainable Cleveland 2019 since it launched in 2009,” says Watterson. “We encourage employee participation and attend the summits.”

Five local filmmakers unveil documentaries on refugees in Cleveland

Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the country that takes refugees – people who have fled their native countries for fear of persecution for race, religion, nationality, being part of a social group or political beliefs – and Cleveland is second in the state for helping these people call the area home.

From 2000-2012, 4,518 refugees resettled in Cleveland, according to a report prepared in 2012 for the Refugee Services Collaborative (RSC).  And the number is growing. So, to celebrate and educate the Cleveland community on the city’s refugee population, five local filmmakers produced short documentary films about refugee life before and after Cleveland.
Those films were shown for the first time on Saturday, June 20 at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. About 120 community leaders, advocates, refugees, business owners and volunteers gathered to watch the films, as some of the filmmakers introduced them.
“It’s going represent a broad swatch of who the refugees are, the different ethnicities and nationalities they represent, and what’s changed after they got to Cleveland,” explains Tom Mrosko, director of Cleveland Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. “The RSC tried to invite people who aren’t as familiar with the Collaborative or people coming to the community.”
The films are meant to educate people on the 70,000 refugees who resettle in the United States each year. “They come to almost every state in the country and they want to fit in and they want to better themselves,” says Mrosko. “It really comes down to lack of understanding of who refugees are. The goal is to involve people who may not understand the process – show them in a way that they can embrace it. We thought doing short films really gets the message across.”
The filmmakers are: Kevin Kerwin with “The Interpreter;” Chelsie Corso with “Just Keep Going;” Chris Langer with “Rangers United;” Paul Sobota with “Alida;” and Robert Banks with “Ashmita.”
Now the films will be shown at various community centers, film festivals, churches, universities and other public venues. Locations and time will be announced on the RSC website. Four of the five films can be viewed on YouTube.
Councilman Joe declared June 20 as World Refugee Day on behalf of the Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. 

Porath Print Solutions helps nonprofits and small businesses with free seminars

As a small printing company in Warrensville Heights, Porath Print Solutions has seen its share of struggles and issues in the non-profits and small businesses the 16-person company has served since 1968. So this year, Porath chief problem solver Gerry Engelhart decided it was time to start sharing his knowledge with a bi-monthly seminar series.

“Our boss is a very community-oriented person,” says Porath’s Rachel Gordon. “We all kept seeing our clients, especially  non-profits, coming to us with printings and mailings and we realized we’re not giving them the bigger picture of what different organizations were doing to raise money. It could be much easier for them on the front end if they knew some things. ”
So Porath started a series of free breakfast seminars to educate organizations on how to organize fundraising campaigns. “The first two were just about fundraising – how to connect with your current donors,” says Gordon. “It’s so [much] less expensive to keep the supporters you have than to find new ones.”
Now, Porath will team up on Tuesday, June 30 with Simone Cameron of Cleveland Heights marketing firm the Annek Group to host another free seminar on social media. “Social Media: The Basics” will cover all the things Porath learned while implementing its own social media strategy. “A few months ago we didn’t have a social media presence at all,” says Gordon. “Then we connected with Simone and now we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and an e-newsletter.”
Seminar attendees will learn about the importance of multi-channel marketing and how and when to use the different social media outlets. “For us, it was kind of a revelation,” says Gordon of Porath’s own foray into social media. “As we’re learning about this we realized there are definitely other people going through the same thing. There are basic questions that are overwhelming.”
Gordon says the seminar is just Engelhart’s way of giving back. “He’ll make time for anyone,” she says. “For us, it’s helpful because it just keeps us fresh and it keeps the ideas flowing.”
The free seminar is from 8 am to 9:30 am on June 30 at the Porath offices, 21000 Miles Parkway in Warrensville Heights. A light breakfast will be served. Register or call (216) 626-0060 for more information. Guests are encourage to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Cleveland Food Bank.

We Can Code IT launches coding boot camp for minorities and women

Mel McGee has been a computer programmer and teacher for the past 20 years. Now, as CEO of We Can Code IT, McGee and community outreach director Shana Mysko are holding coding boot camps that are targeted at getting women and minorities careers in IT fields. The boot camps are held in their new offices at LaunchHouse.

“There will be one million unfilled jobs in IT by 2020,” explains McGee. “It’s a very in-demand industry and it continue to grow. Our whole economy is becoming IT based. There’s such a lack of diversity in IT. Employers would like to have more diversity.”
We Can Code IT held its first boot camp in March, and has partnered with several area employers, such as Hyland Software and OEConnection, to place its graduates in jobs. The next part-time coding boot camp starts this Saturday, June 20. The class meets Saturdays and Sundays from 8am-4pm for five months.
The cost of the program is $10,000, but women and minorities are eligible for a $1,000 grant. Starting with the upcoming session, We Can Code IT is testing a program where students don’t pay the tuition until they get a job.
“We’re trying to make it very appealing,” says McGee. “We have bent over backwards to make this doable for our students, who are coming from jobs where they are underemployed and unemployed. So we are offering an option where we don’t get paid until they get a job. We’re putting our money where our mouth is.”
We Can Code IT is also offering a free one-hour program, Programming Experience, on Thursday, June 18 at 7pm at LaunchHouse to learn about an IT career. Register through Meetup.
Registration for the part-time boot camp ends Thursday, June 18. Click here to apply for the program. The next full-time boot camp starts September 8.

Acceleration Systems offers fast internet for small businesses

Mike Kister likes to look out for the little guy. As a veteran entrepreneur – having started four internet service, e-commerce and web companies – Kister’s latest venture, Acceleration Systems, offers faster internet speeds and enhanced bandwidth on a subscription basis to small companies that previously couldn’t afford such services.

With Acceleration Systems’ cloud-based tools, customers can see download speeds 10 times faster and uploads 17 times faster than a regular internet connection. “That’s a pretty dramatic kind of improvement,” Kister, president and CEO, says.
“Bandwidth optimization has been around for a while, but it’s only available in Fortune 1000 companies for the past decade,” says Kister. “With our cloud-based monthly subscription, now bandwidth optimization is affordable to small businesses.”
Kister and his team have been working on their technology for two years and filed patents in January 2013. A year ago, the group had its first working prototype. “We then went on a fundraising tour and two weeks later we were fully funded,” he says. “We took the prototype and had a working model in eight months.”
The company headquarters are in Northfield, just three miles from Kister’s home. Acceleration Systems also has offices in Philadelphia, R&D offices in Lexington, Kentucky and four sales offices throughout the eastern United States. The company recently hired two additional engineers to its team of 18.
“We’ll get them up to speed and then hire a couple of more,” says Kister of their recent hiring. “We’re just growing like gangbusters right now. We’re scrambling to keep up with demand. It’s a lot of fun.”  
Kister envisions Acceleration Systems’ software will eventually be in all sorts of computer devices. “Ultimately, this technology will be embedded in your cable modem, embedded in your smart phone,” he says. “We have additional twists we put on the problem – businesses with multiple locations can tie together through private cloud services.”

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