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NE Ohio Entrepreneurs: Concerned about economy, access to capital September 28, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Research.
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Here’s a link to an interesting survey from Cleveland State University and JumpStart, Inc..  While there were many, many positive survey responses, I tend to look to the challenges:

Respondents had negative perceptions about the economic health of the Northeast Ohio region. The mean score (2.23) fell well below the midpoint of the scale; with 60 percent of respondents strongly disagreeing (1 or 2 on the 5-point scale) with the statement that the economic health of the region is strong.

The numbers were even more discouraging when participants were asked specifically about access to capital. Of the respondents, 68 percent strongly disagreed that access to angel capital is easy and 71 percent strongly disagreed that access to venture capital is easy.

Whereas these two questions did score low, they weren’t particularly surprising. “We saw responses that echoed findings that The Fund for Our Economic Future concluded through their Voices and Choices initiatives,” stated JumpStart Chief Marketing Officer Thom Ruhe. “As for the pessimistic view on access to capital, here too, we find validity in entrepreneurs’ claims as was identified last year by NorTech in their Early-Stage Capital Task Force Report,” Ruhe added. “I think a main take away from the survey is that Northeast Ohio Entrepreneurs know we have our work cut out for ourselves, but we are overall optimistic that we can do it,” Ruhe concluded.

It takes a brave organization to point out the potential shortcomings of their home region; however, those that face their challenges squarely are more likely to create meaningful solutions.  Kudos to them.

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