Roger interviews Bill Nemeth, the Director of the Mentoring Program for Entrepreneurs at JumpStart. JumpStart is an economic development organization focused on entrepreneurship in northeast Ohio and helping companies like Enfusen grow.
0:38 – About JumpStart
0:45 – Types of companies JumpStart supports
1:07 – JumpStart’s goals for northeast Ohio
1:19 – Why Enfusen was accepted
2:25 – The value of joining JumpStart
3:38 – Big trends in technology you need to know
4:25 – Why you should checkout JumpStart
Roger: Hi this is Roger Bryan. I’m the founder of Enfusen and I’m sitting here today with Bill Nemeth, the director of entrepreneurship programs at JumpStart.
Bill: Director of the mentoring program for entrepreneurs at JumpStart. Close enough.
Roger: Perfect! Well Bill, tell us about yourself and about JumpStart a little bit.
Bill: Well I’m a recovering entrepreneur. I started a company about 15 years ago. Sold it off about a year and a half ago. I had been a member of JumpStart for a couple of years. It was something I really believed in and had the opportunity to take over the program and have grown it and doubled it for JumpStart.
JumpStart is an economic development organization focused on entrepreneurship in northeast Ohio and helping companies like yours grow.
Roger: Is there a particular type of company that you look for when it comes to the local market and the type of companies you want to work with?
Bill: We’re looking for high-tech, something that can generate jobs, something that can scale, and something that there’s a unique, competitive advantage there that can be leveraged for growth around the country.
Roger: What are some of the goals that JumpStart has for the northeast Ohio region?
Bill: Job growth. Attracting new companies, helping new companies build. We want to see revenue increase here. We want to see a new economy spring out of something that birthed the Steel Industry a hundred-some years ago. We have the people here, we have the talent here. We want to see growth.
Roger: What attracted JumpStart to Enfusen by bringing us into the program?
Bill: Let’s first start with congratulations, it’s a selective program. You got in on your own merits. In our program, the mentors select the companies to be involved. Companies like Roger has at Enfusen submit an application, they go into a pitch, they get grilled, they get evaluated, and then the mentors vote thumbs up or thumbs down on who gets in. About 10% of the companies that apply get in. So you were selected based on the mentors knowing that you have a scalable business that has potential, you have a good team in place, that there is an accessible market that you can go after and capture, that you have a unique, competitive advantage, and that you seem to have the right type of momentum to succeed.
Roger: And I can definitely attest to the grilling at the initial pitch. One of the things that I can really say about the value of JumpStart in the mentoring program is there’s no BS. This is what you’re doing wrong, [smacks hands] let’s wake up and figure out how to do it right and then be really proactive like here’s what you need to be thinking about. And a lot of times I notice that at Enfusen we’ve got a great product. We’ve got great clients, a great team but sometimes we’re missing that big vision. And you guys have really helped us to start to establish that big vision, which I think is going to help us to scale our business over the next 3 to 5 years.
Bill: Well it’s hard to have that vision when you’re working on it and working in it. It’s hard to maintain perspective. And our 85 mentors that we have, we have a lot of people, that have been there, done that, raised capital, started businesses, or sold them off. [They] are domain experts in whatever their specialty is. And they’re there to donate their time to help you do better. To help you succeed and not hit the problems that we had as entrepreneurs doing it. They’re there to help you and to try to maintain that vision. But the no BS perspective kind of starts with me and is propagated through all the mentors where we’re there to do what’s right for the entrepreneur. You’re our only horse in the race. We just want to see you succeed.
Roger: I love that. Outside of JumpStart, are there any big trends that you see in tech today that people watching this video should be aware of?
Bill: It’s all cloud. It’s all software as a service. It’s all mobile. Everything there is where technology’s going. The last thing that’s going to greatly explode the use of all of those things is the Internet of Things. It’s going to generate mountains of data from a personal level, all the way up to a corporate, and international level that is going to feed that cloud services layer and enable us to automate way more of what we do to free us up to be more creative and push things forward.
Roger: Awesome. So cloud, mobile, software as a service, and the Internet of Things.
Bill: You got it.
Roger: Perfect. We’re trying to address all of those. I’m just making sure. And any last thoughts that you’d like to put out there? Again I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this video. I want to thank you for allowing us into the program and for all the help that we’ve gotten through the mentorship program. I just want to see if there are any last thoughts that you’d want to give anyone watching this video about yourself, JumpStart, the industry, [or] Enfusen?
Bill: I’ll do a minor commercial for JumpStart. If you’re in northeast Ohio, an entrepreneur, and you need help, call us. That’s what we’re there for. It’s free. We’re there to help the ecosystem here in northeast Ohio. Our program is sponsored by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. They are a linchpin in entrepreneurship here. From the northeast Ohio perspective – there’s a lot going on here. There’s a lot of stuff – a lot of good things going on that people don’t know about. There’s a community growing. There’s a movement going. There’s jobs being produced. There’s revenue being done.
And as far as Enfusen goes, there’s a fantastic future there. You have a lot going for you. We’ll try to keep you from stepping into too many holes, but you’re moving in the right direction. You’re doing the right thing. And we think you have a great future ahead of you.
Roger: I appreciate that and it means a lot coming from you. I appreciate your time, Bill.
Bill: No problem.
Roger: I will see you next month.
This is Roger, the President and Founder of Enfusen. Thank you for watching this video.
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