How do you navigate StartupCincy? You start here, read through this guide and lean on us to help you.
We have broken down all the twists and turns of our ecosystem into bite sized chunks. There are multiple front doors to StartupCincy and everyone's journey is a little different. Scroll through to see what's available for you.
An accelerator takes single-digit chunks of equity in externally developed ideas in return for small amounts of capital and mentorship. They’re generally truncated into a three to four month program at the end of which the start-ups ‘graduate.
- The Brandery – The Brandery is a seed stage startup accelerator ranked as one of the top programs in the United States. We run a 4-month program in Cincinnati, Ohio, focused on turning your great idea into a successful brand driven startup.
- First Batch – First Batch is a four-month accelerator that connects the manufacturing community with entrepreneurs to take an idea you hold in your head to a product you hold in your hand – and sell.
- Founder Institute – Founder Institute is The Founder Institute (FI) is an idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program. FI accepts solo-founders and founders with day jobs, and that shares equity with all participants.
- Minority Business Accelerator – The Minority Business Accelerator’s (MBA) mission is to help accelerate the development of sizable minority business enterprises and to strengthen and expand the regional minority entrepreneurial community.
- Ocean – OCEAN accelerates startup growth by focusing on the purpose that drives founders…and their companies.
- Pipeline H20 – Pipeline identifies and commercializes the world’s leading water-based startup technologies. We leverage the country's premier public-private water innovation cluster to provide customers, mentors, and support. Pipeline's unique go-to-market platform allows startups to pilot locally and deploy globally.
- UC Accelerator – The University of Cincinnati Technology Commercialization Accelerator provides seed funding, commercialization expertise and business connections to launch potentially high-impact entrepreneurial initiatives.
- UpTech – UpTech is Greater-Cincinnati’s tech accelerator program for data-driven startups that are developing tech-enabled solutions and seeking equity funding. UpTech selects up to 10 startups annually to go through the 5+1-month accelerator program driven by intensive entrepreneurship education, one-on-one mentoring, and extensive community involvement.
An incubator brings in an external management team to manage an idea that was developed internally. “Those ideas can gestate for much longer periods of time and the incubator takes a much larger amount of equity [compared to accelerators].
- Bad Girl Ventures – Bad Girl Ventures is an educational and micro-finance organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting women entrepreneurs in all the key elements of their business.
- bioLOGIC – A life sciences incubator.
- Hamilton Mill – The Hamilton Mill is a Southwestern Ohio small business incubator for green, clean, water, digital and advanced manufacturing technologies. Conveniently located between Cincinnati and Dayton in the original pioneer town of Hamilton, OH.
- HCDC – Hamilton County Business Center (HCBC) is a nationally recognized startup incubator in Southwest Ohio that helps entrepreneurs launch successful innovative businesses.
- NKY ezone – The Northern Kentucky ezone works collaboratively with several organizations that provide funding assistance to fast-growth, high-tech companies. Our team will work with you in assembling the necessary information, plans, and presentations to apply for these opportunities.
Coworking provides a physical space for the independent workforce. It gives them access to office amenities (Wifi, copiers, printers, conference rooms, etc.) without necessarily having to abide by all of the other standards of an office. Given that these spaces are looking to attract creatives of all different types, each co-working space takes on a different aesthetic and may focus on specific niches, such as tech or branding.
- CovWorx – CovWorx is a coworking space in Covington Kentucky. We are a place where creative and technology professional work together as a full-service agency.
- Union Hall – Enviable OTR location, ideal for small teams that have grown out of the corner coffee shop. Proximity to other entrepreneurs embeds startups with other startups allowing for collaborations and teams to form.
- HCDC – Hamilton County Business Center (HCBC) CoWorks space offers aspiring entrepreneurs and early stage ventures the opportunity to have shared space in one of the Midwest’s premier business incubation programs – the Business Center.
- MOVE – MOVE believes in balance and optimizing life to the fullest. Staying healthy and fit as a busy entrepreneur can be a challenge. With full access to their gym and functional fitness classes you build your business and keep yourself fit.
- Platform 53 – Platform 53 is conveniently located in Covington right off 71/75, minutes from downtown Cincinnati and surrounding areas.
Local universities have created their own support system for the startup scene. With the University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University all within 10 miles of each other — opportunity abounds.
- Altman Internship Program – The nationally ranked Institute for Entrepreneurship at Miami University sources top student talent for hands-on summer internships in early-stage growth companies across StartupCincy. At the end of the summer, companies receive a cost-sharing reimbursement for the intern’s pay.
- Bearcat Launchpad – The Bearcat Launchpad is an opportunity for all undergraduate students to come together at the University of Cincinnati and work on interdisciplinary teams to turn an idea into a viable business concept.
- INKUBATOR – The INKUBATOR aims to increase the competitive advantage for NKU students by providing them with education, mentoring, financing, facilities, and other related resources necessary for a successful entrepreneurial startup process.
- Miami University Institute for Entrepreneurship – Nationally recognized entrepreneurship education bringing talent to StartupCincy through internships, client consulting projects, new venture creation, and a student-run venture fund which invests in business started by Miami alumni for up to ten years after graduation. Whether you're a startup looking for talent, a BigCo interested in working with a class to solve a business problem, or simply an alum looking to coach and mentor our students, we have multiple opportunities to engage with StartupCincy.
- UCRI – University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI) serves to connect UC experts to industry partners, facilitate commercialization of research and enhance cooperative and experiential learning experiences for UC students.
- X-LAB – The X-LAB competition is an entrepreneur competition where driven entrepreneurs compete for the opportunity to have Xavier University faculty, students, and executive mentors help them get prepared to launch a business.
An angel investor is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for ownership equity. In this case, these angels organize themselves into angel groups to share research and pool their investment capital, as well as to provide advice to their portfolio companies.
- Allos Ventures – Invests in early-stage companies, augmenting the capital provided by angel investors who have helped the companies reach a stage at which they are ready for their first institutional financing round.
- Blue Chip Venture Company – Blue Chip provides “last financing round” or “pre-exit” capital for early stage investors and venture-backed companies.
- CCHMC Tomorrow Fund – Biomedical innovation coming out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is getting another boost with a new $3-million grant from Ohio’s Third Frontier technology-based economic development initiative.
- Connetic Ventures – The core investment strategy is to see more deals so we can do more deals and create a diversified portfolio. We believe diversity amongst industry, platforms, geography and founders is a good thing. At Connetic™ we believe time matters: finding great ideas who’s time has come with great teams we believe can execute quickly is what we are all about.
- Keiretsu Forum Midwest – Keiretsu Forum works with the regional investment community, and its network of over 2500 angel investors around the world, to bring a focus and disciple to private equity and angel investing that is second to none in the industry.
- Queen City Angels – a group of experienced entrepreneurs, CEOs, and investors committed to helping the region’s entrepreneur ecosystem.
- River Cities Capital Funds – River Cities Capital Funds provides growth equity and business acumen to high-potential healthcare and IT companies.
- Vine Street Ventures – Vine Street Ventures is a venture capital investment firm dedicated to investing in internet and mobile businesses.
- YouShouldApply.org – This site is a compilation of local grant resources for entrepreneurs.
The 15-county region at the intersection of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana offers the perfect soft-landing spot for businesses looking to relocate or expand. And these groups make it easier to do so.
- REDI – Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati is the first point-of-contact if you’re interested in starting, locating or expanding your business in our three-state, 15-county region.
- Kentucky Innovation Network – The Kentucky Innovation Network is a network of business leaders and mentors that encourage relationships, grow companies new and existing, and create jobs.
- Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed – Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed is a non-profit economic development organization serving Northern Kentucky.
Guidance and skills training can be found through a variety of groups in and around the city.
- ArtWorks CO.STARTERS – ArtWorks CO.STARTERS (formerly SpringBoard) is a nine-week business development program that helps aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs examine assumptions and turn business ideas into action.
- Cintrifuse – Cintrifuse is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) partnership that exists to build a sustainable tech-based economy for the Greater Cincinnati region. Our purpose is to advocate for entrepreneurs leading high-growth tech startups– attracting, inspiring, and supporting them on their journey. Through the construction and maintenance of an Active Network of BigCos, universities, investors and startups, we are turning Cincinnati into the premier destination for startups ad innovation in the Midwest.
- The Circuit – The Circuit provides education, networking opportunities, an online sales channel, advocacy to government, and access to early-stage capital for its members and the entire IT community in our region.
- Flywheel- Social Enterprise Hub – Flywheel: Social Enterprise Hub works alongside nonprofits to design sustainable enterprises and community leaders to create an ecosystem where they will thrive. Resources include the social accelerator Elevator.
- GCVA – The Greater Cincinnati Venture Association was founded in 1985 to connect entrepreneurs and investors through monthly meetings.
- Innov8 for Health – Innov8 for Health is a community-based innovation program that identifies, incentivizes, and supports the creation and acceleration of innovative health solutions.
- SBDC – Cincinnati – The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Urban League in Cincinnati provides comprehensive business management and education services. Free, confidential, in-depth, one-on-one counseling and low- or no-cost training.
- SBDC – @NKU for NKY – The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Northern Kentucky at Northern Kentucky University provides one-on-one consultations at no cost to existing and potential entrepreneurs in Northern Kentucky.
- SCORE – It’s free! It’s unlimited! SCORE provides you with expertise that will start you on the right path towards your business goals.
- Square1 – SQUARE1 is an entrepreneur education and business accelerator services company that provides resources to a broad range of individuals interested in turning ideas and research into business startups.
Venture Development Organization
- CincyTech – CincyTech is a public-private seed-stage investor whose mission is to strengthen the regional economy by driving talent and capital into scalable technology-based companies in Southwest Ohio.
- African American Chamber – Mission is to establish, cultivate, and strengthen consumer and business relationships; provide access to major corporate and government markets for our members to help increase business opportunities; aid in the professional development of our members; assist in developing strategic partnerships and alliances for the purpose of strengthening and growing the African American business community.
- Bad Girl Ventures – Founded in 2010 as an educational and micro-finance non-profit organization, Bad Girl Ventures (BGV) is dedicated to inspiring and supporting female entrepreneurs in key areas of their business. BGV enables bold women to start and sustain well-managed and profitable businesses through our business education classes, guidance from mentors and coaches, and access to debt capital. BGV currently has offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland, OH.
- Black Data Processing Associates – BDPA is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science and related S.T.E.M fields. "We are a service organization that advances STEM and digital technology professionals’, entrepreneurs’ and students’ careers from the classroom to the boardroom through education, mentoring and business networking that enhance innovation, technical skills, business savvy and personal growth."
- Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative – HCDC and its Business Center are part of the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative (CMBC). This joint initiative, started in 2010, is comprised of five separate nonprofit organizations serving the regional entrepreneurial community: the African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC), the Urban League’s Business and Entrepreneurship Program, Greater Cincinnati Micro-Enterprise Initiative (GCMI), Minority Business Accelerator (MBA), The Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC) and HCDC’s Business Center. The CMBC’s mission is to maximize its members’ collective capabilities to positively impact the growth, development and success of regional minority firms, and to produce better outcomes in business, employment, wealth creation and growth.
- Elementz – Where street art meets street smart, Elementz is an urban oasis of hope and a catalyst of change for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth. What began as a way to get kids off the streets in 2001 has transformed into a thriving Urban Arts Center that fosters talent, ignites potential and inspires possibilities. Elementz helps build dreams, and brighter futures. Our Vision for Cincinnati’s inner-city youth is “to be a catalyst of transformation for children in the urban core, enabling them to find their artistic voice, engage in community, learn to give back, and carve a path for a successful future”.
- Generation Now Cincinnati Network – We strive to provide the Young Professionals who live, work, and play in the region with a variety of opportunities in which they can enrich their lives in Professional Development, Business Development, & Socially Engaging Events. Our goal is to build a sustainable model for a mentoring and leadership organization that will help develop, engage, and empower young diverse professionals to grow and thrive in the Cincy Area. We strive to retain our local talent here!
- Girl Develop It – Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their everyday lives.
- Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative – GCMI is an unprecedented partnership of human service agencies, local banks and businesses working together to provide economic empowerment opportunities to individuals and communities through job creation and self-employment opportunities by stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship. Our mission is to promote individual self sufficiency and community economic development by stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship among low and moderate income people.
- Greater Cincinnati Urban League: African American Business Development Program – The mission of the African American Business Development Program is to identify, prepare, involve, empower and sustain African Americans who are committed and positioned to address community challenges in Greater Cincinnati. The goal of AABDP is to create an environment where experienced owners are challenged to explore new leadership concepts and opportunities that will create sustainable companies that benefit the community through economic growth and job creation. AABDP is a comprehensive 6-month program designed for African American business owners who want to build sustainable companies that help to create employment opportunities for the community. The highly selective program is limited to 15 participants per class/session.
- Minority Business Accelerator – The Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) was established in 2003 as the result of the recommendations of the Cincinnati Community Action Now Commission. The program is focused on reducing disparity in the region's business community by driving economic activity for African-American and Hispanic-owned companies and increasing employment in underemployed segments of the region. The MBA's mission is to help accelerate the development of sizable minority business enterprises (MBEs) and to strengthen and expand the regional minority entrepreneurial community. 30 firms are currently in the MBA portfolio. Business Model: Chamber, Corporate Connections, Funding
- MORTAR – MORTAR’s mission is to enable under-served entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed; creating opportunities to build communities through entrepreneurship. By targeting underserved and redeveloping communities, we’re offering these non-traditional entrepreneurs the opportunity to use their inherent talents to not just make a dollar, but to positively participate in the rise of Cincinnati. Mortar also offers Brick, a pop-up shop for entrepreneurs on Vine Street.
- Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council – The mission of the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC) is to create and foster an environment for the development of mutually beneficial relationships and opportunities between Certified Minority Business Enterprises and Member organizations. Our desire to fulfill our mission is embedded in the mission of the NMSDC, which is to expand opportunities for minority-owned companies; to encourage mutually beneficial economic links between minority suppliers and the public and private sectors; and to help build a stronger, more equitable society by supporting and promoting minority business development. OMSDC is an advocate and stresses the importance of supplier diversity. To become a Corporate Member of OMSDC the corporation must have a diversity program in place, or be willing to implement one.
- Project Include – Project Include is an open community working toward providing meaningful diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies. They have crafted a set of customizable recommendations for you, as CEOs, leaders, and managers, to accelerate diversity and inclusion within your startups.
- University of Cincinnati Office of Diversity & Inclusion – Staffed by the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the President’s Diversity Council serves as the university-level governance committee charged with building institution-wide capacity to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse campus that embraces diversity as one of our core values, infusing every aspect of campus life and purpose, and every measure of success.The Council is charged with maintaining the Diversity Plan as a living document, holding responsible parties accountable and reporting on at least an annual basis to the President and community at large. The Council is empowered to set its own annual agenda aligned with the Diversity Plan and Academic Master Plan as well as identify short and long term goals. The Council may establish committees and the chair may invite other members of the university community to contribute to this area. Initiatives from the Council are forwarded to the President’s Executive Committee or President’s Cabinet for consideration.