Business plan competitions

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/22/2004 - 21:51.

I'm not sure whether this release got picked up by the local media. COSE is launching its annual business plan competition. Read more or visit the web site.

Business plan competitions are a good way to stimulate entrepreneurial efforts in a region. Here's a good article from McKinsey on the strategy. Read more.

Investing in business plan competitions would be a good strategy for the Fund for Our Economic Future. Here's how it could work. The Fund would challenge every college campus in Northeast Ohio to co-sponsor a business plan competition. The Fund would put up $50,000 in prize money for each campus electing to participate. That would require a commitment of about $1 million per year.

Each year, we would likely generate twenty to thirty good business proposals across the region. Some of these ideas will be small and focused on local markets. Others will be bolder ideas targeting higher growth businesses.

The competitions would deliver to the door step of other organizations -- JumpStart, GLIDE, COSE -- a promising set of business plans. In addition, the schools could commit to providing guidance and support to those who entered the competition but did not win.

Results would be clearly measurable by additional start-up investment.

The arts and civic behavior

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/22/2004 - 21:28.

Can artists improve civic behavior?

Here's an interesting article from the Harvard University Gazette about the mayor of Bogota, Colombia. He's a former academic and has been using mimes to encourage people not to jaywalk or behave irresponsibly in public.

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Creativity, the arts and the Internet

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/22/2004 - 21:18.

A recent report by the Pew The Pew Internet & American Life Project explores the attitude of artists to the Internet. The surprising finding: Artists and musicians are enthusiatic Internet users and they believe the Internet helps them make and sell their work.

Invest in Children Initiative Awarded $1 Million by Gund Foundation

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 12/22/2004 - 02:03.

The George Gund Foundation today annouced major grants including $5 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art's
renovation and expansion project, a very exciting $1 million to Cuyahoga County's Invest in Children (IIC) initiative, and nearly $4 million more for 79 other programs that reflect the Foundation's continuing commitment to the urban
core of the region. This near-$10 million in funding brings their 2004 grant-giving total to nearly $30 million. "Invest in Children" is dedicated to Effective Parents and Families, Safe and Healthy Children, Children
Prepared for School and A Community Committed to Children... exactly what REI Director Ed Morrison and other community leaders recommend for insuring our long term economic development - read more and see links to that program and other related news and information below. Thank you Gund Foundation!

New Lab for Social Computing at RIT. Time for collaboration in NEO!

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/21/2004 - 01:42.

Many universities around the world are focusing on the study of social computing - from technology and application development to man-machine interface. REALNEO is already working with Purdue on a Drupal documentation project and we welcome additional research affiliations, and will explore teaming up with RIT. We are well affiliated with Case's Center for Regional Economic Issues and it seems time to get the IT side of the campus involved - any other Northeast Ohio universities interested to really understand this communications and human interaction revolution that is transforming politics, economics, knowledge management, industry and society? Post your suggestions here, after reading the thoughts of the social network lab director at the exceptional Rochester Institute of Technology...

Drupal Overview Download Rev 1

Submitted by Ted Takacs on Mon, 12/20/2004 - 23:26.

Download Rev.1 of Drupal Overview. The first blog entry did not implement file attachment correctly and, hence, this second try.

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Drupal Overview - Revision 1

Submitted by Ted Takacs on Mon, 12/20/2004 - 20:19.

The attached file is a revised version of my Drupal Overview presentation.

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Got the next Strawberry Shortcake - Balderdash? NEO's got the connections

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 12/18/2004 - 23:38.

There's an article in the Plain Dealer on a fascinating local business development - American Greetings bought into The Hatchery, an innovative Los Angeles company "that produces family entertainment for film, television, home video,
video games and new media." My immediate thought was, what can this hatch for NEO. Our creatives need opportunities in these sectors and insider Los Angeles connections, and The Hatchery could certainly find "product" and talent here - it seems if our hometown powerhouse American Greetings is teaming up with shuch high level folks in LA, they should be able to steer some insight and opportunity from there to here. Reading a press release about The Hatchery, posted below, makes clear their management is influential and top notch - if our leaders ask very nicely, perhaps The Hatchery folks can help bring more new life to NEO than just on American Greetings bottom line. Has anyone bothered to welcome our new celebrity neighbors to town?

Yahoo adds traffic information to maps service - includes Cleveland

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/16/2004 - 12:40.

Just posted on "The Industry Standard", Yahoo posts timely roadwork, accident and traffic speed overlays on their maps for many cities, including Cleveland - soon to be offered for other wireless devices... one less reason to watch the silly local morning news and listen to lame drive-time radio

“Connect� often referenced as model for REALNEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/16/2004 - 11:49.

of California San Diego’s economic development and communications initiative
“Connect� is often referenced as a model for the potential of REALNEO. Connect
show the leaders of important SD institutions and businesses working together to
optimize regional value and world class knowledge, making San Diego world class
– and reading Connect teaches us best practices on how to generate similar value
here. We need to learn lessons from world-class places like San Diego for
Northeast Ohio to compete in the global development marketplace, and excel in
creating unique value here.

Exciting recent news about the world’s knowledge moving on-line

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/16/2004 - 11:48.

recent news about the world’s knowledge moving on-line, it was recently
announced Google is funding an initiative to digitize all the books of the
world’s greatest library collections, meaning anyone with internet access will
increasingly be able to find all great published research, freely and easily –
their value proposition is to attach advertising and links to sites selling the
printed content, for those wanting dead trees. Interesting to note one of the
libraries being converted is University of Michigan, where a Google founder
received his BS, showing the real trickle down value of keeping your alumni
happy. This digital library has always been a dream of the electronic age, now
coming true. Here we see the increased significance of the internet realized,
and must appreciate the growing inequity resulting from the digital divide,
denying the financially disadvantaged access to the world’s knowledge. From the
always provocative Good Morning Silicon Valley:

Civic Strategies has posted a reference to REALNEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/14/2004 - 18:02.

Civic Strategies has posted a reference to REALNEO on their directory of "URBLOGS", which the explain as: Urban
blogs are those that are focused on a metro area, provide
interesting commentary about local politics, culture or urban
life and aren't so ideological that they're painful to read. So
how much ideology is too much? Hey, it's our list, so we get to
decide. -

our list of urblogs worth spending time with:

blogs are the work of individuals. But that's not the case with Cleveland's
REALNEO (it's an acronym standing for Regional Economics Action Links North East Ohio).
REALNEO allows large numbers of people to share resources, news and
ideas about revitalizing the region's economy. Along the way, it
hopes to create a virtual community mirroring the real one. You can
find it at

And REALNEO is not the only URBLOG in Cleveland to be recognized

Callahan's blog is a jewel. He writes frequently and well, not only
about Cleveland politics but economics. And he does so with
an independent point of view. You can find Callahan's blog at

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Powerpoint presentation on REALNEO environment and Drupal application

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/14/2004 - 13:31.

Here is an overview Powerpoint presentation prepared to share with attendees at the REI orientation sessions and for your review by downloading here.

Quality Pre-K Programs

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Mon, 12/13/2004 - 21:57.

Providing childcare and pre-K advantages to more children cannot be considered only an issue of increasing the quantity of centers. Quality matters. The National Association of School Boards of Educations (NASBE) recently issued a policy update addressing this issue and the need to focus on the manner in which we assess young children. The Association states that “there is actually a fairly broad consensus today about many issues related to early childhood testing. For example, there is general acknowledgement that issues of technical adequacy are more difficult to address with young children, who have shorter attention spans and go through periods of fluctuating development. Experts also agree that…no single assessment should be used to rank, label children, or exclude youngsters from educational experiences.�

Who Funds a "Free" Preschool Program?

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sun, 12/12/2004 - 17:38.

Suppose you wanted to expand the reach of preschool to low-income families not able to pay for these benefits. To whom would you turn? A recent article in the Washington Post tells of the Freddie Mac Foundation providing a $450,000 grant for a free preschool program in Alexandria, Virginia. The program, Child and Family Network Centers, enrolls over 170 children whose families earn too much to qualify for Head Start, but not enough to pay for a private preschool. The founder of this program, Barbara Mason, states, "I think every city's going to need a program like ours because there are always going to be kids that fall through the cracks." She started the center twenty years ago in response to the large discrepancy she saw between "the kids coming out of the projects and their middle-class peers." The $2.3 million budget of the center comes from three sources: one-third is from city, state, and federal funds, one-third from foundations, and one-third from fund raising.Â

University Circle as a hub for Creative Industries

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 12/12/2004 - 11:56.

We have a remarkable opportunity to begin weaving together University Circle as a hub in our network of creative industries in NEO. Yesterday, I provided development officers at University Circle, Inc. an insight on how we can begin. You can download the presentation.

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Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 12/10/2004 - 18:08.

Under the direction of Peggy Eliot, the ALL CITY BAND had Tower City Mall energized this noon.  Comprised of upwards of 150(+?)  young dancers, flag performers, drummers, and brass band players, ALL CITY performed  traditional Holiday tunes mingled with powerful drum music.   

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Friday in NEO - where's our unique value today?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/09/2004 - 22:08.

Friday in NEO
- where's our unique value today? Start at the City Club for lunch with
Ambassador Ross, speaking on the what’s next for


Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 12/09/2004 - 17:37.

(Note: This post had as its inspiration a round of emails which were emphasizing the ability of the net to spread news - in particular the news of new web sites (one site went from inception to 1 million hits in 3 days). My impression of the discussion in the email exchanges was that other enterprises, besides political web sites, could utilize the phenomenal facility of the web to spread other development ideas. Let's see if the following wind turbine tower suggestion gets a million hits!)

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Revitalizing Ohio's Canals - Sky King's Proposal

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 12/09/2004 - 13:49.

Highway exits demand urban sprawl with all the trappings for the 1-$top
American lifestyle of fast food, heart burn and gas at the expense of
our environmental health (trees, oxygen, wetlands), peace of mind and

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Learning from Baltimore's Education Project

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Tue, 12/07/2004 - 12:35.

"Strong Schools = Strong Communities" emphasized a workshop held at the Enterprise Foundation Annual Network Conference in October. Lessons learned from the Baltimore Education Project are relevant to education issues faced in Cleveland. "Intervene with the youngest ages possible," urge the practitioners of this initiative. "Because standardized testing usually begins in the very early years of formal public education..., it is important to equip students with the skills, tools, attitudes, and behaviors that will make them successful at learning before they arrive in First Grade." The list of lessons also speaks to a long-term approach and establishing formal partnerships among community stakeholders.  To learn more about the Baltimore Education Initiative process, click here.

Innovation and Disruption Still Going Hand in Hand

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/06/2004 - 09:42.

The NYTimes has an interesting article on disruptive technology and the new economy - good advance reading for the December 7 Tuesday@REI session "Unique Value: Competition based on Innovation Creating Unique Value".

The 12/6/04 NYTimes article concludes:

Competition has been a spur to innovation, driving companies to find
ways to do things better or cheaper, to gain new markets and reap
higher profits. But competition can also diminish the incentives to
develop new technologies if, as happened with many dot-com initiatives,
innovations are easily replicated by rivals.

"Today, with a
much more competitive and deregulated environment there are very few
companies with the kind of financial cushion to take the 10-to-15-year
long-term view," said Mr. Slywotzky of Mercer Management. "Those
engines of innovation have shut down."

Read the entire article linked here.

Connecting early child care with economic development

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 18:59.

For over a year, the Committee for Economic Development, a Washington-based business group has been promoting the connection between early childhood education and economic development. Today, they released the latest in a series of reports.

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Outsourcing creativity

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 12:01.

One NEO software executive commented last spring at a NEOSA event: We have a tendency to over-estimate the short term effects of outsourcing and to under-estimate its long term implications.

He appears to be right. Forget about outsourcing call centers. Fast Company points us to the real competition ahead: creativity and innovation. "As new funding fuels innovation, Silicon Valley insiders see India and China ultimately eclipsing America as technology markets -- with local companies dominating." Read more.

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Ohio can encourage regional collaboration

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 11:40.

An editorial in this morning's Dayton Daily News makes a good point. The state legislature would be taking the wrong step by eliminating the local government fund. At the same time, the state legislature can use the local government fund as leverage to encourage more regional collaboration.

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