The Next American Startup Hub: Ohio

While we’re accustomed to hearing about startup accelerators in Silicon Valley, or even New York, here’s one that might take you by surprise: LaunchHouse is starting its new Accelerator Program in…wait for it…Ohio.


LaunchHouse is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurial success and job creation through seed capital, education and innovation located in Northeast Ohio. Members get office space and resources to grow their startups. The newest addition, the Accelerator Program, will provide 10 startup teams with $25,000, as well as mentoring, networking and business tools through an intensive 12-week program.

Why Ohio?

You may wonder about the placement of such a program. Turns out, Cleveland is home to many Fortune 500 companies, as well as venture capitalists and private equity funds that will draw startups from all across the country.  Sam Krichevsky, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner of LaunchHouse, explained:

“We believe in the Ohio community.  We believe that Northeast Ohio can become an international center for entrepreneurship and innovation with the help and support of the local community.”

Ohio has many industries, including Tech, Healthcare and Manufacturing, but the program hopes to draw from beyond the state’s borders. It models itself on successful accelerator programs like Y Combinator and Tech Stars, which gets hundreds of applications from all over the country.

The Details

Applications are being accepted until July 1, 2012. Thirty startup teams will be selected to attend the Techie Unconference on July 18, 2012. There, the teams will pitch investors and the LaunchHouse team, and ten of the applicants will be chosen to participate in the 12-week program. These ten teams will receive $25,000.

The accelerator itself begins September 3, 2012, and participants will meet with mentors who will help them reach milestones to become more attractive to investors after the program.

  • At least one member from each team is required to participate throughout the 12 weeks
  • Participants must relocate to Cleveland for this period
  • Teams must comprise of 2-3 founders

Preference is given to startups in the technology, Internet and mobile space. Apply for the LauchHouse Accelerator Program here.

Why Not Ohio?

For startups located on either coast, the idea of relocating to the opposite coast for several weeks away from family can be a turnoff. But Ohio, slightly more centrally located in the country, may open up the possibility of participating in an accelerator more appealing.  Krichevsky says:

“We are most excited about putting Cleveland, Ohio on the map as an innovative center for technology where entrepreneurs come from all over the world to build and grow their businesses.  We believe in the region, the resources and the people that are here, and we look forward to playing a large part in the revitalization that is occurring.”

Ohio Photo via Shutterstock


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

9 Reactions
  1. Great news and a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs in the more central parts of the country.

  2. I heard another story earlier this week about how Cleveland is such an “it” place for tech start ups and is developing a great bar and restaurant scene! I was definitely surprised but it sounds like I’ll have to check it out.

  3. i LOVE this idea. In fact i hope hope hope that my company gets picked for this amazing opportunity. This is PERFECT for who we are and what we want to do. The best part of all is the business boot camp. That is exactly what both of us need (me the very most). Not too mention- it will have that whole midwest vibe to it and i think that that will be invaluable.
    I really look forward to being part of this really great idea.
    Thanx so much for the opportunity LH.

  4. Thank You very much Susan for such an informative post, which I think will prove to be of great help for Small Business Units, who are in desperate need for a perfect launchpad. Business may prove to be a rewarding profession but the initial stages include cut throat competition wherein conglomerates are already ruling the segment, this makes things much more difficult for new business units!

  5. I recently visited OH, and was really impressed with the entire community. I wouldn’t object at all to starting a new venture there. The people are incredibly down to earth, and there is a lot of opportunity!