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Northeast Ohio's Most Active Seed Fund Seeks Canton Area Entrepreneurs

October 29, 2012: The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, is headed to Canton to encourage area entrepreneurs to apply for funding. The fund, which is available to entrepreneurs across the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio, averages six awards of up to $100,000 every quarter and its leadership is making a concerted effort to increase the Innovation Fund's activity in Canton.

In partnership with Stark State College, the Innovation Fund is hosting a free informational session on Wednesday, November 14th for all Canton area entrepreneurs to learn about the fund, get advice on applying, and understand funding requirements. The session will be led by Cliff Reynolds, co-director of GLIDE, the Lorain County-based incubator that administers the Innovation Fund.

"We believe there are more entrepreneurs leading high potential, technology-based startups in Canton and the surrounding areas than we are seeing in applications," Reynolds said. "So we're taking some steps to make sure entrepreneurs in this area are aware of the Innovation Fund and how it can help them grow their businesses."

One of the Stark County companies that has seen the Innovation Fund's benefit is Tesla NanoCoatings. The startup, led by president and chief executive officer Todd Hawkins, provides corrosion control coatings to the aerospace, military, petrochemical, transportation, marine, and industrial markets. With a $100,000 award from the Innovation Fund in May 2012, the company purchased capital equipment to generate testing data that will demonstrate the technology's commercial application.

"The Innovation Fund has been instrumental in helping Tesla NanoCoatings begin to reach its potential," Hawkins said. Beyond the investment, Hawkins pointed to the Innovation Fund's process itself as a valuable tool in driving company growth. "The financial tools and entrepreneurial resources provided during the application process helped establish Tesla's strong business model worthy of investment."

Derek Gordon, Assistant Safety and Service Director for the City of Canton, wants to see more stories like this. "We are very encouraged by the Innovation Fund's efforts to reach Canton entrepreneurs and we will continue working with them to get the high potential startups we know are in this area to apply," Gordon said. "The Innovation Fund fills a critical funding gap and can help put this region's entrepreneurs on a pathway to raising more money and ultimately, creating jobs."

The session is being held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 1:00pm to 3:30pm in Stark State College's Business & Entrepreneurial Studies Center. To register, visit the Innovation Fund website.

About the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation, awards early-stage capital to technology-based companies in Northeast Ohio so they can validate their technologies and business concepts. The funding awards of up to $100,000 fill the capital needs of businesses that are at the earliest stage of development, before they can attract angel and venture capital funding. The Innovation Fund's partners include Ohio Third Frontier, the University of Akron, the University of Akron Research Foundation, Cleveland State University, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE), the Lorain County Community College Foundation, Stark State College, Youngstown State University, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and most recently Northeast Ohio Medical University.