Building a thriving regional economy means more than supporting a healthy startup ecosystem - it also requires a strong network that helps existing companies grow. That’s why we partnered with Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation to implement Scalerator NEO, a collaboration committed to supporting entrepreneurship and free enterprise in Northeast Ohio through targeted educational opportunities. Scalerator NEO is a six-month, cohort-based educational program for entrepreneurs and leaders who want to deliver immediate growth to their businesses and are open to learning new ways to achieve this goal. When the Fasenmyer Foundation sunsetted in 2018, it provided a grant to Burton D. Morgan Foundation in the amount of $3,750,000 to support us as we continue this important work.
Developed by Dan Isenberg, the founding executive director of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Platform, and taught in cooperation with colleagues at the Harvard and Columbia business schools, the program seeks to serve companies with $5 million - $15 million in sales and a desire to grow. Scalerator mixes peer-to-peer learning with classroom workshops that provide growth-oriented companies tools and strategies to quickly ignite that growth. The Entrepreneurs EDGE, a nonprofit economic development organization focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio, serves as administrator of the program.
Scalerator NEO launched in 2017 with a cohort of fourteen companies, which included a mix of manufacturers, software companies, and service providers who say the experience transformed their businesses. Collectively the participating companies experienced a growth in earnings (EBIT) of 40% from 2016 to 2017. Additionally, average company revenues grew nearly 9% in 2017, and the group anticipated revenue growth would double to 18% by the end of 2018.
Twelve Northeast Ohio companies completed the second cohort of Scalerator NEO in October 2018, representing a cross-section of the region’s business communities, with a mix of manufacturers, construction, logistics, distribution and service providers. Companies in the second cohort have an expected average revenue of $9 million and a mean number of full-time employees of 30 for 2018. Every company in the cohort experienced some level of growth, either through increasing sales to existing customers, securing new contracts, or hiring additional staff members.
Funds from the Morgan Foundation and the Fasenmyer Fund cover the costs associated with Scalerator NEO, and there are no fees charged to participating companies. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, with up to 20 companies participating in each cohort.