Beyond the Pitch

VentureNEXT Crowd Celebrates Entrepreneurship in Central Ohio

Leading entrepreneurs, investors, creatives, and corporations turned out in force to champion Central Ohio’s innovation economy at the first ever VentureNEXT celebration.

Nearly 400 participants filled the LC Pavilion on November 6 for an evening of connection and collaboration.

“The enthusiasm for VentureNEXT just goes to show that now is a very exciting time to be part of the Central Ohio community, especially if you are an entrepreneur,” said Tom Walker, TechColumbus CEO.

The buzz word in Central Ohio’s entrepreneurial community is collaboration

From Ohio Third Frontier, to the outstanding corporations and service providers headquartered here, to the amazing academic and research institutions located here, it’s all about working together to help entrepreneurs and young companies get a good start and grow.

“That spirit of connectivity and collaboration is exactly the reason we wanted to get the entrepreneurial community of Central Ohio together at an entirely new and different event to celebrate the strong entrepreneurial momentum that is going on here,” Walker said.

Organizations like Nationwide, Bricker & Eckler, Porter Wright, and OSU, and others, including Live! Technologies, MadeIT.com, and Columbus Idea Foundry, generously sponsored VentureNEXT. Twenty service professionals, corporate executives, investors, consultants, and educators pitched in as judges for the Startup, Corporate Engagement, and Student Awards.

Congratulations to 2014 Award Winners

Three 2014 Startup Award winners were named from a field of nine finalists based on a pitch competition: Biobent Polymers, nChannel, and Print Syndicate. View winners’ interviews here.

The 2014 Corporate Engagement Award winners are M/I Homes and QStart Labs. M/I Homes was started by two entrepreneurs in Columbus and has grown to be one of the largest home builders nationwide. M/I Homes shared their industry and technical expertise to help entrepreneurs through TechColumbus’ First Connect initiative. QStart Labs, an active participant in Expert Network, was originally formed as the “tech team” for NCT Ventures.

VentureNEXT College Awards, sponsored by Bricker & Eckler, and the High School Student Awards encourage future generations of entrepreneurial talent with scholarships.

College winners are Damian Beauchamp and Rosemary Garry from OSU. High school winners are Mariah Cox, a junior at Zane Trace High School in Chillicothe, and Abigail Myers, a sophomore at Big Walnut High School in Sunbury.

Central Ohio rallies around entrepreneurs in very meaningful ways.

Beyond VentureNEXT, more than 45 professional services firms, from legal, accounting, marketing and other lines donate millions of dollars in pro bono and reduced fee services through the Expert Network to help startups achieve significant milestones that reduce risk.

Central Ohio entrepreneurs also have the corporate community literally signing contracts with startups through First Connect to be the first customer for a new product or technology.

The support and engagement from all the participants in Central Ohio creates a huge difference in outcomes. There’s nowhere in the country where people work together better than here.

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