| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Research + Innovation : Innovation + Job News

276 Research + Innovation Articles | Page: | Show All

GoSun ships first solar cookers, launches online community

GoSun, the Cincinnati startup that developed a portable, high-efficiency and fuel-free solar cooker of the same name, has just begun shipping their first line of products around the world.
 
The cookers come in two variations, called the GoSun Sport, which can cook up to 3 lbs of food and weigh only 5 lbs itself, and the GoSun Mini, which weighs about 1.5 lbs and can cook 9.5 oz of food. Soapbox profiled GoSun in the fall of 2013, when they were in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign ended with GoSun raising over $200,000, making it the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever in Cincinnati. Since that time, things have been happening fast for the GoSun team.
 
“We’ve already sent out over 1,000 products to 22 countries around the world, making these the first batch of American made high efficiency solar cookers,” says Patrick Sherwin, Founder and President of GoSun.
 
Additionally, GoSun has launched an online community via Facebook called the GoSun Community Kitchen, where early adopters of the technology can post and view pictures and recipes using the solar cooker.
 
“We love that people are so excited about the GoSun and are constantly thinking up new ways to use it,” says Social Designer Matt Gillespie.
 
With the rapid expansion of the company, GoSun has hired six fulltime employees since the fall and that number will likely grow through the end of 2014. At the beginning of the year, they were even offered a spot on the coveted entrepreneurial-themed TV show, Shark Tank.
 
“They actually approached us and suggested we apply for the show,” says Sherwin. “We seriously considered it for a long time, but in the end, we decided that we’d rather grow our company based on the steady input of users we’ve built up over time, as opposed to hoping for an overnight success.”
 
To read about the decision in greater detail, you can find the blog post on GoSun’s site here. Whichever way they choose to go, GoSun’s future looks undoubtedly bright. 

Manufacturing accelerator First Batch announces 2014 class

First Batch, a Cincinnati-based accelerator aimed at taking entrepreneurs from prototype to production, has announced its 2014 class of companies.
 
The companies, which represent a wide spectrum of business ideas, also display First Batch’s aim to not only accelerate participating companies but to promote a unique set of resources that position Cincinnati as a great place to start a physical product company. The companies are:
 
3D Kitbash, founded by Quincy Robinson and Natalie Mathis, offers professionally sculpted digital models online for the 3D printing market.
 
Ampersand, founded by Tim Karoleff and Greg Lutz, utilizes awareness and empathy to design unique furniture, home goods, and artworks, delighting users with unexpected cleverness and practical pleasure.
 
Switcher, founded by Ken Addison, is made to help provide professional-level video studio control for the growing internet video studio or consumers. The switches are able to control multiple cameras in a software environment and provide lighting indicators (called “tally”) to direct the on-screen talent.
 
Ohio Valley Beard Supply, founded by Patrick Brown and Scott Ponder, is a line of beard care products and beard elixirs that come in five natural scents.
 
“This year we wanted to bring in a mix of companies that was both a good fit for our manufacturing and production strengths as a city, but also offered diversity and the ability to learn a lot from each other,” says Matt Anthony, program coordinator for First Batch. “We have companies that have been running successfully for a few years and are using First Batch as an opportunity to launch a new product (Ampersand, 3DKitbash), a completely new concept that is just now forming as a company through our UC law partnership (Switcher), and a company that launched a few short months to early success and has found a fast need for scaling up (Ohio Valley Beard Supply).”
 
Cincinnati has a well-documented history of industrial production, which First Batch hopes to tap in to.
 
“We think the resources here are perfect and feel like we've picked a broad range of companies that should showcase what is possible here,” Anthony says. “We want to start building momentum and a movement behind both First Batch and Cincinnati Made and are hoping to bring along anyone who wants to grow or contribute.

Biztech incubator rebrands and shifts focus

Biztech, the 11-year-old business incubator based in Hamilton, Ohio, announced earlier this month its new name and rebranding initiative aimed at attracting early-stage entrepreneurs and companies. Moving forward, Biztech will be known as The Hamilton Mill with the goal to serve as a resource for the entrepreneurial community, particularly in the areas of advanced manufacturing, clean technology (renewable energy, natural gas, water) and digital technology.
 
“This announcement marks the culmination of many months of effort to redirect and refine the mission, scope and utility of The Hamilton Mill,” says Rahul Bawa, The Hamilton Mill’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer of the Blue Chip Venture Company. “As the only incubator in Butler County, it is incumbent on The Hamilton Mill to find new ways of attracting and growing the businesses of the future. The Hamilton Mill is uniquely positioned to bring together entrepreneurs who can build the clean, digital and advanced technologies that will impact all of our lives for the better.”
 
The city of Hamilton actually owns its utilities department and has been very progressive about providing clean and renewable energy to residents. Anthony Seppi, Operations Director for the Hamilton Mill, is hoping that clients will tap into what the city is doing.
 
“We’re touting this as a ‘city as a lab’ kind of concept,” he says. “Companies with that fit into this industry can come here, work on prototypes of their product, and have immediate access to resources and customers willing to try them out and give valuable feedback.”
 
Although the incubator has existed since 2003, it’s only now, with the rebranding and renewed focus, that The Hamilton Mill has made itself known as a regional presence and formed key partnerships with organizations in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Cincinnati, Dayton and other cities.
 
“We have a seat on the board of Cintrifuse, we’ve been working with Confluence and with the manufacturing program at Miami University,” Seppi says. “With our new regional partners, we’re going to be making some noise and growing some high-quality businesses.”

MyActions raises $100K on Indiegogo to empower children to create change

MyActions, the Cincinnati-based startup that encourages users to engage and share their meaningful, healthy and caring actions, has launched an Indiegogo campaign. The funds will be used to expand the company's technology so that students in schools across the country can access it and and share their actions. Thus far, the campaign has raised just over its target mark of $100,000 with 10 days remaining.
 
MyActions, co-founded in 2010 by Michael Young and his father/CEO Craig Young, provides an online platform for users, mostly youth from college age down to middle school students, to celebrate moments and actions people take every day, amplifying the compassionate things people do to make the world a better place.
 
The company began as a high school project Michael thought up to help engage more of his classmates in volunteering. Craig, who has been working in technology for more than 20 years and has developed products for Apple, helped Michael and his classmates develop a website and app that would communicate their message.
 
“People share things from composting in the cafeteria, volunteering or even just being outside with their friends,” Michael says. “Each action is rewarded with a donation to a chosen cause and inspires others to take more action themselves.”
 
In its first year including colleges and universities, MyActions was used on more than 75 college campuses; more than 6,000 students documented 100,000-plus actions. Now with the Indiegogo campaign, MyActions is creating a way for middle school and high school students to participate, by rolling out tablets and RFID bracelets to give to schools.
 
“Our early technology could only be used on a cell phone or a mobile computer, which meant that there was a significant barrier of access,” says Kristine Sturgeon, president of MyActions. “This new technology flattens that barrier so every child can do more, and as they do more and see that their actions count, their confidence grows.”
 
With the success of the Indiegogo campaign, MyActions will look to roll out the technology in schools this fall and aims to be used on more than 150 college campuses this year. To learn more or contribute to the campaign, click here.

Cintrifuse invests in major New York City venture capital fund

Cintrifuse, the downtown-based company that develops and supports entrepreneurialism in Cincinnati, has announced that its newest investment is New York City-based Lerer Hippeau Ventures IV (LHV), a top tier venture capital fund, to increase seed and early stage venture leadership in Cincinnati.
 
With more than $130 million under management, Lerer Hippeau invests in the earliest stages of a startup’s life—a complementary strategy for the growing startup ecysystem in Cincinnati and a piece of the puzzle that Cintrifuse saw as a crucial addition.
 
“Seed stage investment is very important here in Cincinnati,” says Tim Schigel, Cintrifuse fund manager. “CincyTech and Queen City Angels are doing a great job, but we need more. Lerer is a great firm and very compatible with our region.”
 
LHV is widely viewed as one of the top firms in NYC with investments in such companies as Buzzfeed, Birchbox, Thrillist Media Group and nearly 200 others. With this specialization in digital media and publishing, particularly in the tech world, Cintrifuse is betting that this will continue to bring attention and, more important, investment to the Cincinnati region.
 
“Since our founding four years ago, we’ve been focused primarily on fueling the New York and West Coast tech scenes,” says Eric Hippeau, managaing director at LHV and former CEO of the Huffington Post. “With our fourth fund, we’re looking forward to selectively seeking investment opportunities outside these regions. Cincinnati is particularly interesting with a great deal of startup growth potential, and we are extremely excited to be partnering with Cintrifuse, which sits at the center of innovation in the city.”
 
Schigel is excited for what this means for the city, and while it is not yet certain how this specific relationship will play out, he is optimistic for the future.
 
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Schigel sats. “We could go for two years without anything happening, but the good thing is that it is already happening. There are already investments imminent. The question is, how does it continue and at what kind of pace. We’re building relationships and multiple touch points for those venture firms within the community and will continue to build resources and connections for our entrepreneurs.”
 

CVG airport aims to improve and modernize passenger experience

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has entered into an agreement with Lockheed Martin for the first full-scale installation of the company’s airport passenger management technology in the United States.
 
Lockheed Martin’s Chroma Airport Collaboration Database (ChromaACDB) is a system of technologies that helps airports see how passengers move through their terminals so they can understand and improve the travel experience. BlipTrack, a part of ChromaACDB, is a completely anonymous way of monitoring passenger throughput times using mobile device signals to measure time between points through the airport.
 
The company is working with the airport to implement a system that provides passengers with real-time information on throughput times in key areas such as security, allowing them to plan their journey through the airport.
 
“Customer service and the overall travel experience are top priorities for CVG,” says CVG spokesperson Melissa Wideman. “With increased access to affordable technology platforms and travel pattern modeling, we want to be on the leading edge of airports. The bottom line is that CVG invested in the BlipTrack technology to increase efficiency.”
 
The technology will also help the airport deliver on key passenger experience initiatives in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
 
“The BlipTrack technology benefits both passengers and the airport team as it allows them to see, in real time, where potential queues and pressure points are and provide proactive planning of the situation to improve service, said Martin Bowman, director of Global Airports for Lockheed Martin. “Knowing where there is congestion allows passengers to avoid lines—so they can spend more time shopping or relaxing in the airport. This is all about improved collaboration between the airport, airlines and TSA for the enhancement of the passenger experience.”
 
CVG’s goal with the technology is to shepherd passengers through general boarding in 15-20 minutes and through TSA pre-check in 10 minutes. In addition to adding Bliptrack, CVG will overhaul its website in August, at which point passengers can track the security wait time directly from the website.

Google enables Street View virtual tour of Cincinnati Museum Center

Google Cultural Institute, a Google initiative that allows users to discover exhibits and collections from around the world online, has teamed with the Cincinnati Museum Center to give people around the world a chance to tour the museum via Google Street View.
 
Using the Street View feature, online visitors can drop themselves into various points in the Cincinnati Museum Center, getting a 360-degree view of that space, from the massive Rotunda of Union Terminal to the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum or the Duke Energy Children's Museum.
 
Street View has also mapped features of the Museum Center that many guests rarely see in person, including the cork walls and floors of the historic Union Terminal President's Office and historic dining rooms. Additionally, some items from Museum Center's fine art collection are available to view through the Google Art Project.
 
“This technology gives a whole new range of people the chance to experience the stories, history and scientific research we have here,” says Cody Hefner of the Cincinnati Museum Center. “We hope that this actually gets new people excited about coming down to the museum and experiencing these things in person.”
 
The relationship with Google began when the Museum Center approached the company about the Google Art Project.
 
“We are happy to have an ongoing relationship with the team at Google, and from here we’re hoping to continue refining and expanding the online tour to make it even better for online visitors,” Hefner says. “The reason we exist is not for profit—it’s to educate and inspire people. It’s selfish for us to say that you have to come here to see all that. This gives us an opportunity to expand our reach, and we’re happy to have Google as a partner in that.”
 
In addition to the virtual tour, more than 65 works of art are included in the Art Project, including one that was photographed in extraordinary detail using super high-resolution "gigapixel" photo capturing technology.

Progress Acquires Modulus, big win for the Cincinnati startup community

Progress, a global software company, announced last week the acquisition of the Cincinnati-based startup Modulus, which provides a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for easily hosting, deploying, scaling and monitoring data-intensive, real-time applications using powerful, rapidly growing Node.js and MongoDB technologies.
 
Founded in 2012, Modulus, a graduate of the Brandery, uses the Node.js and MongoDB technologies to simplify and speed development of the new generation of scalable, always connected business and consumer apps that are constantly monitored and optimized for the best experience. Modulus was first in touch with Progress in February 2014.
 
“We were in the process of raising another round of venture funding,” says Modulus CEO Charlie Key. “We started a conversation, and it just steamrolled from there. We began understanding synergies between us—it all happened pretty quickly.”
 
Progress has spent the last 30 years in the software business and, now including Modulus, offers a deep line of products including its Open Edge technology, which accelerates application development and is currently used by more than 47,000 business in more than 175 different countries.
 
“By adding Modulus into what they already have, it allows them to give companies and developers more control over what they are building and how it’s running,” Key says. “For us, we’ve got access to a whole new set of potential customers and partners. We have to think about how our technology continues to get better based on what’s available, and all these new resources we have.”
 
Key is proud that Modulus, though now owned by an international company, will remain in Cincinnati to build its team.
 
“We’re staying in Over-the-Rhine, and all of our key players will staying in their current positions,” Key says. “I think this shows that you can build a very high-tech company here and be successful.”
 
Moving forward, Key and his team intend to stay very involved in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem as mentors, guides and more. Key will be speaking in the Startup Grind series at the Brandery this Wednesday, June 18 at 5 p.m.

River Cities Capital closes largest fund to date, celebrates 20th anniversary

River Cities Capital Funds (RCCF), a growth equity firm investing in high-potential health care and IT companies, announced today the final closing of its fifth fund. The RCCF Fund V capped at $200 million, surpassing its $150 million goal, with the continued support from many longtime limited partners as well as new participation from several large national and international institutions. The firm, based in Cincinnati and Raleigh, N.C., has raised more than $500 million to date.
 
“With Fund V, we’ll continue to build market-segment leaders that combine disruptive technologies, innovative business practices and disciplined sales and marketing expansion to become frontrunners in their target markets,” says Dan Fleming, managing director of RCCF.
 
The Fund V portfolio includes three companies to date: Trax Technologies, a Saas provider of logistics-spend management solutions; TissueTech, a pioneer in regenerative tissue-based products; and StepLeader, a business-to-business provider of mobile technology platform and data-driven mobile ad networks for local media outlets. With robust deal flow and fundraising completed, new investment activity is expected to accelerate over the coming year.
 
“We see thousands of companies each year and, as always, our mission is to provide our investors with premium returns, while building strong communities that make a positive impact in the market and create job opportunities in the areas of the country that are often underserved by larger VC and PE firms,” Fleming says.
 
After 20 years in business, RCCF has seen the industry change quite a bit.
 
“When we started, the whole investment ecosystem was starting from scratch,” Fleming says. “Now, CincyTech, the Brandery, Queen City Angels, Uptech and Cintrifuse, our region has a tremendous amount of resources focused on new company formation. We currently have two portfolio companies in Cincinnati, and we’ve helped build more than 20 companies in Ohio over the years. We’d of course love the opportunity to put more money to work locally, and we make a concerted effort to track early companies to be ready if they need growth capital.”

UC teams with AMP Electric Vehicles to create unmanned aerial vehicle for safely delivering goods

The University of Cincinnati has partnered with AMP Electric Vehicles, makers of the WorkHorse all-electric delivery truck, on the HorseFly "octocopter" through an innovative partnership made possible by the University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI).
 
The newly designed, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed to work in tandem with AMP's delivery trucks, the goal being to create a safe, fast and innovative method of delivering goods.
 
“UAVs really are the way of the future,” says AMP CEO Steve Burns. “When we started seriously looking into them and how to integrate them into our business, we knew we could handle the battery motor components, but we needed someone to actually design the model for us, so we asked UC.”
 
At UC, Kelly Cohen, an associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, put together a team led by Ph.D. student Wei Wei with support from fellow students Bryan Brown, Nicholas Schwartz, Vince DeChellis and Nathaniel Richards to design and construct the UAV.
 
“What we’ve created with the HorseFly is a safer concept of flying,” Cohen says. “The UAV has eight rotors, and we’ve been able to demonstrate that even if one or two shut off, we can still be safe and continue the mission.”
 
The idea for the HorseFly is that it would be positioned atop a delivery truck, awaiting a package from the driver. When loaded, the HorseFly will scan the barcode on the package, determine the path to the delivery address via GPS and fly away—completely self-guided—to the appropriate destination. Meanwhile, the delivery truck will continue on its rounds. After successful delivery, the HorseFly will zoom back to the truck for its next delivery run, where it can also recharge its battery wirelessly.
 
“In addition to the added safety, this method is also much more efficient,” Burns says. “Delivery via truck costs around 60 cents per mile, whereas it might be around two cents a mile to deliver from a HorseFly. We want to keep down the cost of delivery for the public.”
 
In addition to the work on the HorseFly technology, Cohen and his team are also using the UAV technology to study fires and look at how to more effectively predict the behavior of fires based on real-time aerial views and imbedded algorithms. 

UC grad's senior design project wins first prize at housewares competition

Amanada Bolton, a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s nationally No. 1 ranked industrial design program, tied for first place in a student design contest put on by the International Housewares Association (IHA). Bolton was awarded first place for her B-PAC Kitchenware, which was designed to aid the visually impaired.
 
The impetus for the design came from an evening when her grandmother, Barbara, who had lost her eyesight, went to brush her teeth and accidentally used Bengay instead of toothpaste.
 
“That was an aha moment,” says Bolton, who now works at Design Central in Columbus, Ohio. “Most of the visually impaired community doesn’t read braille. So I started thinking about the idea of inclusivity in industrial design.”
 
After that, Bolton began doing research and empathy training with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, including a three day period spent blindfolded during her final term at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
 
“I realized there were a ton of issues,” Bolton says. “Precise measuring was difficult; safety was a big issue.”
 
In response, she created three products for her B-PAC line. A silicone collar or pot guard snaps onto a standard pot to prevent the blind from experiencing burns when checking on cooking food. When flipped down, the collar protects hands from hot surfaces. She also created a measuring cup that pops out buttons to indicate quantity as it is filled, food-storage container lids that feature embossed shapes indicating contents and date of storage.
 
“I learned from this project that it’s easy to impact people as a designer if your methodology is all about simplicity and tactile and intuitive cues,” Bolton says.
 
As a result of winning the IHA competition, Bolton was invited to present her designs and her findings to industry professionals in Chicago at the International Home + Housewares Show. She’s been able to secure patents on all three of her products and is in talks with manufacturers about developing a fully functional prototype, while still focusing on her career at Design Central.
 
“With B-PAC, the ultimate goal is to get it into the hands of people that can use it,” Bolton says. “However, even if the products don’t come on the open market, I’m getting interest from a lot of health groups that want to share these methods and open up a conversation about inclusive design. I’d love for my project to be the innovation spark for this idea.”

Joe Thirty provides new format, opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect

In May, a new series of morning networking events called Joe Thirty kicked off on the 20th floor of the Cincinnati Enquirer building downtown. The series holds events every second Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m., and offers individual entrepreneurs/companies a chance to present to a group of their peers, make connections and receive feedback.
 
At each event, only one local entrepreneur is selected to speak. They are given six minutes to present and talk about any issues they are dealing with or help they may need. The remaining 24 minutes are reserved for community feedback (totaling 30 minutes for the entire event). The main organizers of the event are the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association (GCVA) and local startup and entrepreneurial partner Differential.
 
“GCVA and Differential have been getting together to think about how we could create a program that gathers together the startup community and gives one company at a time the chance to make a pitch to them, not for money, but for resources,” says GCVA volunteer Jake Hodesh. “Our goal is that hopefully by the end of that 30 minute event, that startup leaves with at least one, if not multiple, connections, whether they be to mentors, developers, beta testers or anything else.”
 
The next event will be held on Wednesday, June 11 and will feature Sue Reynolds of ArtifactTree. ArtifactTree is a tool that lets users log and track family heirlooms and other rare items in their possession. This tool is aimed to make it easy for families to share who has what, add notes, and even tap a network of specialists within ArtifactTree to have your possessions rated, commented on and appraised. 
 
“There’s still a very real need for startups to access mentors and connections in a general sense,” Hodesh says. “We held the first event, and we had a really good crowd, so it was pretty obvious that there are people who are still hungry to participate and to help.”
 
Since the first event, GCVA and Differential have received a flurry of inquires from various startups about presenting at Joe Thirty. Hodesh says they plan to roll out an application process to evaluate each company and determine whether or not Joe Thirty will be able to connect them with the resources they need.
 
“Cincinnati is a resource-rich environment for entrepreneurs right now,” Hodesh says. “The greatest opportunity is that there are so many opportunities. We’re just doing our part to connect people with them.” 

Ahalogy creates technology to optimize mobile browsing

Ahalogy, the leading Pinterest marketing optimization company, has unveiled its Ahalogy Mobile technology, which optimizes the in-app mobile browsing experience for users viewing content on their mobile devices.
 
Ahalogy, a Cincinnati startup and graduate of local accelerator the Brandery, uses SmartStacks, a proprietary technology that simplifies and enhances the user experience when the user is coming from a mobile app like Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter to a publisher page.
 
“Social networks are increasingly the place people turn to discover and read content, and increasingly this is through a mobile app,” says Michael Wohlschlaeger, co-founder and CEO of Ahalogy.
 
“Pinterest reports that 75 percent of its use is via mobile, and half of the mobile experience is clicking on content that then is displayed in the in-app browser,” Wohlschlaeger says. “But after clicking through, users are often unhappy with slow load times, non-optimized mobile design, and cluttered, hard to read content. As Pinterest’s largest publisher, we decided to fix this problem.”
 
SmartStacks is a technology that publishers, such as bloggers and content-focused websites, adopt that recognizes when a user is coming to the site from a mobile app and then optimizes that page’s copy and images with a card-based content experience.
 
“This not only improves the experience for the users, but it also allows brands to interact those users, which in turn helps publishers monetize their content,” Wohlschlaeger says. “We think of it as a win-win-win.”
 
Currently, Ahalogy partners with more than 1,000 online content publishers. Ahalogy Mobile will be available to them first via Pinterest and Facebook, then Twitter soon after.
 
“Now that we have this solution available, the rest of our year is about rolling it out across different technologies and platforms and expanding our publisher base,” Wohlschlaeger says. “Our goal with this really is to free up these publishers from the distractions of worrying about anything other than creating great content and engaging their audiences. We know they don’t love having to think about mobile optimization, so we created this solution so they don’t have to.”

FORCAM receives New Product Innovation Award for global plant software solution

FORCAM, a technology and consulting company based in downtown Cincinnati, received the 2014 Global Plant Software Solutions New Product Innovation Leadership Award, awarded by global market research from Frost & Sullivan.
 
FORCAM earned the award for its Factory Framework V5 product, which enables an improvement process at all production stages for factories and plants by connecting and analyzing real-time data from many varying machine controls resulting in transparent and reliable performance data.
 
“We have a unique software technology that can monitor factories in a global way,” says FORCAM COO Mohamed Abuali. “If your company has factories in different parts of the globe, our vision is for you to be able to look at the performance of every plant at one time via a single device, such as a cell phone or computer, and easily pick out relevant data on things like speed and quality.”
 
FORCAM is headquartered in Germany, but opened its Cincinnati office in 2012. Frost & Sullivan chose FORCAM for its award partly because the company exemplifies the concept of Industry 4.0.
 
“Industry 4.0 is a concept that acknowledges that we have entered a new (fourth) industrial revolution,” Abuali says. “The first revolution was around manufacturing, then assembly line, then automation. Industry 4.0 presents the idea of Cyber Physical Produciton Systems. It means that any device, any factory could be mirrored in the IT world.”
 
Currently, companies like BMW and Daimler, as well as others in the aerospace and medical technology fields, have adopted FORCAM’s Factory Framework solution. Looking to the future, Abuali hopes to build a client base in other industry sectors, as well as focus on smaller and midsize manufacturers.
 
“Our solution will be cloud-based by 2015, so small and midsize companies won’t have to buy servers that they can’t afford,” Abuali says.
 
The investment, research and development of Factory Framework was started in 2008, during the recession.
 
“We didn’t stop R&D during the financial crisis,” Abuali says. “We perfected the system in 2013, deployed it at four beta clients, and the system will be ready for U.S. release by the end of this year or early 2015.”
 

Xavier creates framework for student-run businesses

Xavier University’s Williams College of Business will launch a new Student Run Business Program in spring 2015. An informal idea session was held May 1, during which students formed groups and began brainstorming and presenting ideas, including a professional apparel store tailored to students, a food pick-up/ delivery service and a shuttle service.
 
A team of advisors will work closely with the students to help them craft a viable business plan and provide general coaching/mentoring. The advisors will select the best developed ideas this fall for program funding, and by the end of spring, Xavier’s program will include two to three businesses created entirely by student ideas, teamwork, planning and execution.
 
“Our focus at the college of business is on experiential learning,” says Brian Till, dean of the Williams College of Business. “I’ve studied similar programs at universities around that country, and in every case I’ve looked into, the students say that it is the single most valuable experience they had while at university.”
 
Currently, Student Run Business programs are in place at universities like Georgetown, Harvard, the University of Dayton and Loyola University. Besides supporting unique hands-on learning for students, these programs generate revenue that is often directed toward starting additional new businesses (seed capital) or toward student scholarships. After five years, the program is expected to include four to five student-run businesses generating a total of $100,000-300,000 in revenue each year.
 
“From our standpoint, the increase in entrepreneurial activity and better prepared students will benefit the region,” Till says. “The Cincinnati region has become very interested in supporting entrepreneurship, as well as attracting and retaining talent. This program not only addresses that, but it gives our students a leg up in the field.”
 
Several members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cincinnati have signed on to help develop the Student Run Business Program as advisors and mentors, including Xavier graduate and founder of Tixers Alex Burkhart and Mike Bott of the Brandery.  
 
276 Research + Innovation Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts