Pounds: KickStartkick-startedWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Last week’s column about KickStart Columbus, an effort for which Columbus City Council and several community development organizations sponsored a contest and awarded free downtown office space for a year, garnered some inspired responses on Facebook and Twitter.
Amid pledges of support for the idea came this website comment by W. Gene Powell, president of Spoke Design, a company specializing in Web and emerging media development, management and branding: “What the folks behind KickStart Columbus have done is a great shot in the arm for our state capital. I applaud their efforts and appreciate you bringing this story to your readers. However, to imply that nothing like this is already taking place in Toledo suggests an ignorance that distracts from similar efforts that are at work here today. My partners and I founded Seed Coworking at 25 South St. Clair Street in May 2012. In fact, you covered us in an April 2012 issue of your paper. “Over the past year, we’ve offered inexpensive, monthly subscription memberships to our open-office space, and community support to dozens of area creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs. Some of these people have formed new businesses under our roof. We’ve also awarded free memberships to entrepreneurial contest winners, such as the winning team from last September’s Start Up Weekend Toledo event.
“Soon, we’ll be launching a startup mentorship program called WindUp Toledo. But Seed Coworking is only one example of numerous organizations that are fueling Toledo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: The Toledo Community Foundation; StartUp Toledo; the new Toledo ECDI office; the Toledo Warehouse District Association; events such as the uHeart Digital Media Conference (May 10 at the University of Toledo), which will award incubation space and other prizes to local startups and new media outlets such as Silicon Rust Belt, which showcases the best ideas and brightest people from our region — all of these disparate yet networked initiatives are fostering the growth of new businesses in not only Toledo’s incredibly resilient and increasingly active Downtown, but the entire Toledo Region.
“While Toledo experiences a rebirth in economic and community development, our ever-present enemies are ignorance and complacency. Please forgive me if I’ve misread your piece, but it seems to hint at the former. … By combining energies and harnessing resources, we can be the envy of cities like Columbus — and influence them to write glowing reviews of us.”
I am looking more at a one-time event that could draw attention to the efforts of people like Powell and our friend Dustin Hostetler, who with Kelly McGilvery started a group in 2004 called Kickstart Toledo that ended up being one of the motivations behind Artomatic 419! and some other events. Hostetler introduced me to Powell, and we will meet to see how his efforts and the Columbus idea might find common synergy. We are also talking to Anneliese Grytafey, manager of Economic and Community Development Institute, who is onboard with the idea.
This space is designed to kick-start ideas, and with the help of Columbus and local innovators like Powell, Hostetler and Grytafey, that intent is closer to reality. Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.