The startup community is not only alive and well in Columbus, Ohio – it’s flourishing.
When I joined the BULX team in July 2010, I was completely new to the tech startup world. I had always considered myself an entrepreneur and had founded a handful of my own companies. But it wasn’t until my involvement with BULX, TechColumbus, and social media that I became conscious of the incredible network of people and programs available here in Central Ohio.
As we work to grow and evolve ChatterJet, the network of talent people and the number of resources we have at our disposal are astonishing.
- 1492 (http://onefourninetwo.com/) – A partnership between Columbus State Community College, CCAD, and TechColumbus, this Ohio Third Frontier-supported program provides early stage startups up to $20,000 in funding along with access to mentors, resources, and weekly business development sessions during an intensive 11-week program.
- 10x Program (http://10xelerator.com/) – A mentor-driven accelerator program headed by Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. This 12-week program often draws hundreds of entries from across the nation to attract and retain some of the best talent in the space.
- Founders Factory (http://foundersfactory.com/) – A blend between an accelerator and a typical startup fund, the team at Founders Factory place an emphasis on their mentors, agile pre-seed funding, and lean acceleration.
Events & Groups
- Wakeup Startup (http://wakeupstartup.com/) – Have a big idea but don’t know about next steps or who you should be talking to? Attend this monthly meetup to hear other pitches and meet the people involved a wide range of early stage concepts.
- Startup Weekend (http://columbus.startupweekend.org/) – Supported by the Kaufman Foundation and held multiple times throughout the year, Startup Weekend is a 54-hour sprint to build something (anything!) with other budding entrepreneurs. Another great way to meet talented people looking to build “the next big thing.”
- TechLife Ohio (http://www.techlifeohio.com/events) – A hub for all things technical, this group supports the startup ecosystem by connecting people with local events and meetups.
Other Resources & Funding
- TechColumbus (http://techcolumbus.org)
- Ohio Small Business Development Center (http://www.entrepreneurohio.org/)
- Ohio Growth Summit (http://ohiogrowthsummit.com/)
- Ohio Tech Angel Fund (http://www.ohiotechangels.com/)
- NCT Ventures (http://nctventures.com/)
The most important part of any community is the people. The startup movement is no different, and Columbus is not an exception.
While there are far too many talented, driven, and connected people to list here individually, locating and reaching out to those involved is easier than ever – especially with the use of platforms like Twitter. And unlike many of the traditional tech hubs (Silicon Valley, New York, etc.), those involved in Columbus are extremely approachable, active, and supportive.
Keep It Going…
This blog post is intended to serve as a starting point and an on-going, continually updated resource for past, current, and future entrepreneurs in the central Ohio area.
So please leave a comment below with other tips, programs, and people that should be added to this list.
It’s an exciting time. I can’t think of a better place to start something great than here in Columbus.