Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Toledo, OH

Toledo, Ohio

Nicknamed “The Glass City” for its history as a major hub for glass manufacturers, Toledo has a long history of entrepreneurial spirit.

Toledo, OH, the state’s fourth-largest city sits on the border of Ohio and Michigan. Nicknamed “The Glass City” for its history as a major hub for glass manufacturers, Toledo has long had an entrepreneurial spirit. While the businesses in the city today are much more varied than the glass companies that gave it its nickname, entrepreneurship remains strong.

The city appeared in the top 100 of a pair of 2019 rankings by the website WalletHub: 96th on its list of the best large cities to start a business (coming in 24th overall in the “Business Costs” category) and 91st on its list of the best metropolitan areas for STEM professionals (68th in the “STEM Friendliness” category). Additionally, Toledo ranked 82nd overall on Business.org’s 2018 list of the best cities for women to start a business.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Toledo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Google Developer Group Toledo is an organization in which those interested in technology can meet one another, network, and collaborate.

Those in the Toledo area can join the Toledo Real Estate Investors Association to network with other investors and entrepreneurs.

Toledo Small Business Owners is a networking group made up of active and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Just down the road from Toledo, Bowling Green State University hosts an annual conference supporting entrepreneurship, called E-Week.

Just a few minutes down the road from Toledo, the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce hosts events, including the annual business expo and market in the Spring.

The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce holds a number of regular events, including some aimed at supporting local entrepreneurship and small business.

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library system hosts a number of events based around helping local entrepreneurs and business owners succeed.

Toledo Tech Events is an independent website that aims to keep track of events related to technology in both the city and throughout the state.

 

Startup Competitions:

Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Toledo can compete for $10,000 for their business in the College of Business and Innovation’s annual competition.

Held annually during the school’s E-Week, The Hatch is a pitch competition for students at Bowling Green State University.

Teams of high schoolers from the Northwest Ohio area can compete for scholarship money in the Junior Achievement Business Challenge, where they practice running a virtual business.

Pitch & Pour is an annual entrepreneurship competition held by a local incubator in which five promising Toledo-based tech startups compete against one another for cash prizes.

 

Co-working Spaces:

In addition to providing co-working space, LaunchHouse hosts classes and events that help its members learn ways to grow their businesses.

MadAveCollective, a marketing firm for nonprofit companies, offers co-working and event space for rent to Toledo “creatives” and more.

One of Regus’ many co-working space locations is located in the Arrowhead Business Park in Maumee, OH, a suburb of Toledo.

With membership plans starting as low as $25 per month, Seed Coworking provides affordable working space for those in the Toledo community.

 

Makerspaces:

Located just down the road in Bowling Green, the BiG Fab Lab provides a wide variety of tools and equipment to residents across Northwest Ohio.

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library offers the Creativity Lab, a small “makerspace” aimed at children as well as 3D printing services and other small-scale equipment.

The University of Toledo’s Business Incubation Building includes the UT Maker Society, a community workshop and makerspace open to students and Toledo residents.

 

Incubators:

The Center for Innovative Food Technology offers a number of ways to support small food businesses, including commercial kitchen space, distribution support, and food competitions.

Founded in 2003, Double A Solutions is a technology incubator that invests in SaaS startups and helps them grow and succeed.

In addition to more traditional incubator services, the University of Toledo runs a program dedicated to supporting minority-led small businesses and startups.

The University of Toledo organizes incubation resources for the public, including three distinct incubator facilities under the Launchpad Incubation umbrella.

 

Accelerators:

Hosted by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Board Member Accelerator Series is a number of workshops designed to help educate and empower nonprofit leaders.

Among the many resources offered to entrepreneurs by CIFT are technology acceleration services that help agribusiness-related tech startups grow.

ProMedica Innovations is a healthcare development company that identifies promising healthcare technology innovators and works to help them bring their products to market.

Find Your Accelerator with Startup Search Tools

 

Colleges/Universities:

Bowling Green State University’s Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership organizes opportunities for students as well as a minor program in entrepreneurship.

With locations across Toledo and nearby Findlay, OH, Owens Community College offers an Associate’s Degree in Entrepreneurship Technology.

In addition to providing various resources to the entrepreneurial community, the University of Toledo offers a major and minor in Entrepreneurship, Family and Small Business.

University Entrepreneur Program Register

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

CoreNetwork Fund is a Toledo-based venture capital fund that aims to invest in promising technology-based startups.

Based just down the road from Toledo, Maumee Ventures invests primarily in early-stage companies in the agriculture industry.

Technically located in Cleveland, North Coast Angel Fund invests in and supports promising technology startups across the state of Ohio.

In addition to providing technology acceleration services, ProMedica Innovations runs a pair of funds to help support the Toledo entrepreneurship scene.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

While the Ohio Business Magazine does not offer newsletters, the somewhat irregularly-distributed publication does offer a free subscription.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce offers a number of newsletters to help keep subscribers informed of the state’s business scene.

The Toledo Blade, which covers business news as part of its reporting, has an online edition and offers a newsletter to subscribers

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Toledo not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH, Lexington, KY


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.