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Out & About in Cleveland

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Jumpstart Holds Start-Up Scaleup 2016; Ribbon Cutting at Residence Inn and Emerald Event Center in Avon.

On Tuesday, June 28th, we decided to stop off for a little while at Jumpstart's "Startup Scaleup 2016" which took IMG_2522place at 15 various Gordon Square Arts District venues such as the Capitol Theatre, the Happy Dog, Sweet Moses, and Stone Mad Pub.

As its website indicated, this would be a day "where entrepreneurs and small business owners come together to learn, network and celebrate our vibrant, entrepreneurial community." Mr. Ray Leach, CEO of Jumpstart, Inc. stated in his letter which appeared in the guide to the event that it was very important to bring these people together in the same place on the same day.

We registered at the Near West Theatre on Detroit Avenue and networked for over an hour. We talked to representatives from such organizations as the IMG_2527Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), Youngstown Business Incubator, Braintree Business Development Center, BioHio Research Park and Akron Business Accelerator that are very encouraging of international talent.

We also met a person who has been a permanent resident here in the United IMG_2528States for years and would like to explore becoming a citizen.

We especially liked talking to two young people, one from a nonprofit and the other a small business owner.

The person from the nonprofit was Mr. Will Davis, Executive Director of "Restore Our Cities Foundation" which triesIMG_2525 to help the formerly incarcerated get their lives together by working to restore homes and thus learning new skills. We told him about the work that "Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute" does along these lines and urged him to contact Mr. Brandon Chrostowski, its founder.

The young businessman was Mr. Evan Delahanty, the founder of "Peaceful Fruits" which is "a social-good snack startup that supports sustainable development in the Amazon Rainforest." Interestingly, a few minutes before we met Mr. Delahanty, we spoke overheard a person talking about how good and nutritious the snacks from "Peaceful Fruits" were so we seized the opportunity to introduce ourselves to him and exchange contact information.

IMG_2524Throughout the day, there would be about 40 different sessions at "Startup Scaleup 2016" covering such topics as "What it Takes to be a Student Entrepreneur"; "How Ohio is Leveraging Diversity to Accelerate its Entrepreneurial Ecosystem"; and "How Female Leaders are Taking Over the Tech Space."

We would have liked to have stayed longer but we had a date for lunch.

And that date was with the Mentor Chamber of Commerce which was holding its monthly meeting at Noah's Event Center that we have been to before on several occasions.

Today the speaker was Mr. Mike Mulhall, VP of Destination Cleveland who spoke about the soon-to-be-here RNC. Much of what he said (by his own admission) had already been said more than a few times by himself and othersIMG_2529 over the last year but he still spoke with passion.

As a member of the nonpartisan host committee,, Mr. Mulhall contended that the RNC would be of primary importance as "a catalyst for visitation to the region" since it is already changing the world's perception about Cleveland much the way the 2002 Winter Olympics changed the perception about Salt Lake City. He pointed with pride to the projects that "accelerated" in anticipation of the RNC such as Public Square, Hilton Cleveland Downtown, renovations at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport, and other undertakings dealing with beautification.

Mr. Mulhall was very appreciative of the efforts of people like Lake County Commissioner Kevin Malecek and Mr. Bob Cahen, Executive Director of the Lakeland Foundation who both serve on the "2016 Lake County RNC Committee" for being as involved in the process and as organized as they are and thus being able to provide a lot of assistance at a time when it is needed. In fact, Mr. Cahen is an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong and urged us to say hello.

When asked if residents of Northeast Ohio should stay away from downtown Cleveland during the convention, Mr. IMG_2539Malecek said a firm "no" because research has shown that cities that have hosted conventions in the past did a disservice to both their residents and the conventioneers, by recommending that the people who lived there stayaway from the downtown areas in order to avoid crowding. Instead, IMG_2537Mr. Malecek suggested that we should indeed journey downtown, just as we are used to doing, in order to showcase "the real Cleveland" and welcome our guests.

One of the attendees asked if a successful RNC could lead to Cleveland/Northeast Ohio obtaining a Summer Olympics in the near future to which Mr. Mulhall replied that before we think about acquiring another event of such magnitude "let us first get through the RNC."

Our final event of the day was the official ribbon cutting/grand opening of the Residence Inn and Emerald Event Center in Avon. In the first week of May, we had attended a North Coast Chamber of Commerce luncheon at this lovely location and liked it a lot.

We spoke briefly with Ms. Aisha Schoonover, the General Manager, who told us that business has actually been conducted there since March, 2016 but it was just too cold to have the grand opening at that time. She said that it was good that the proceedings were postponed until this day because the temperature was in the 70's and quite appropriate.

At 4pm the ribbon was officially cut by Mr. James R. Gerish, President of the Emerald Hospitality Association; Mayor Bryan Jensen of Avon; Dr. Abbas Shikary of University Hospital and his wife, Fatema; Mr. John Sobelewski, Executive Director of the North Coast Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. Tony Gallo, President of the Lorain Chamber of Commerce. Glasses of champagne were then passed out and we moved inside the Emerald Event Center for socializing and refreshments.

We talked with Mr. Michael Ligas, Managing Partner of Tuxedo Hospitality Décor and Mr. Walt Renner, E & SIMG_2560 Specialist with US Foods who provided some of the furnishings and kitchen equipment for the new facilities. In addition, we talked to a several people who had friends that immigrated to the United States from China and were thereby assisted by Margaret W. Wong and Associates. One of these people asked for information on the EB5 Investor program.

It was good having some time to visit with Mr. Kris Koch, a DJ from Num Num World Music, Inc. that we often see at international/multicultural events like Culture Shock at Tri-C in Parma. Mr. Koch told us that one such recent event that he found particularly rewarding to him was when he provided the music for an international day put on by a children's camp in Brunswick that was attended by 70-80 kids probably in the 2nd to 6th grade age range.

Mr. Koch said that several young people (who immigrated here from such countries as France and Iran) sought him out in order to say "thank you" for playing songs from their countries of origin that they had not heard for so long.

By:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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