Being an inventor, innovator, or fresh entrepreneur in Cincinnati can be overwhelming. You’ve got a pitch, a dream, and a rough idea about how it all works, but you know you’re going to need a lot more than that to make it. Startups usually need funds, networks, and some sort of team to succeed.
For this reason and in the name of entrepreneurial solidarity, we here at Bold Patents Cincinnati Law Firm curated this handy directory that outlines 13 essential resources for entrepreneurs and inventors in Cincinnati.
From university programs and courses to actual inventor groups, here are the best resources —both online and off—that can help jumpstart your journey.
Now let’s begin!
Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati offers 414 degree programs and 262 minor and certificate programs. A public research university with currently more than 46,000 students enrolled and over 300,000 living alumni, it’s been recognized as a university “among the top tier of the Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Cincinnati has yielded dozens of notable individuals like Neil Armstrong, prima ballerina Suzanne Farrell, and Albert Sabin—the man behind the oral polio vaccine. You can find more UC alumni who became famous inventors and innovators on the online UC Magazine. From innovative baby carriers to green, eco-friendly products, the lineup is undoubtedly impressive.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to “ensuring a great library system” through fundraising, managing, and proper allocation. On top of the multiple books they have on patents and intellectual property, they also have a section dedicated entirely to curated guides, books, databases, and online content for inventors. From e-books to student-friendly PDF papers, the library’s “Spotlight on Inventor Resources” is the perfect starting point for budding entrepreneurs and innovators to learn the ins and outs of owning, patenting, and (eventually) cashing in on their idea. The resources are further categorized in the following sections:
- General Marketing & Business 101
- Useful Research Directories & Databases
- Patent Searching & Intellectual Property Legal Background
- Invention Assessment and Evaluation Services
- Independent Inventors Beware (caution/advice resources)
- Helpful Organizations, Tradeshows, Inventors Councils
United Inventors Association (UIA) of the United States of America is a not-for-profit educational organization that is dedicated to “providing resources [for] the inventing community,” all the while encouraging the implementation of honest, ethical business practices amongst assigned providers in the industry. Their website has a wealth of information that any inventor or innovator will find extremely useful, including:
- Inventor Resources
- Trade Shows/Events (both past and upcoming)
- Inventor News
- UIA Newsletter
These pages are accessible to the public, but more perks and benefits can be unlocked with a UIA membership.
Small Business Administration Groups
Despite this being a more general resource (rather than a Cincinnati-specific one), the SBA is still a valuable website worth visiting. Founded in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a cabinet-level federal agency that is dedicated to providing legal, expert, and contracting assistance for small businesses and entrepreneurs. From step-by-step business guides (which you can access on their website) to contracting assistance programs (also available on the web), the SBA website is a good starting point to get the general idea of how to properly start your business.
Looking to connect with a group of like-minded people? Meetup is the perfect tool for this. It’s an online platform that lets users find, build, and advertise local communities. Meetup will automatically filter events that are nearest to you. You can explore the options further based on your interests, hobbies, or current curiosities. If you’re an inventor looking for some solid community support or an entrepreneur looking for a safe space to make connections, you’ll definitely benefit greatly from Meetup.
The Cincinnati Chapter of the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) is a community meant for manufacturers, innovators, inventors, and product providers. As of 2020, PDMA has more than 2,000 recognized members—all professionals and experts in innovation. The community acts as a safe space for like-minded entrepreneurs and Cincinnati-based inventors to share and receive knowledge, experience, principles, best practices, and proper processes for efficient product innovation. And as for product introduction and distribution, the PDMA Cincinnati chapter offers proven resources and solutions from world-renowned innovators.
As a community of entrepreneurs, big corporations (BigCos) investors, innovators, innovation enthusiasts, and educators, StartupCincy has more than enough resources to help out enthusiastic Cincinnati-based startups. Described as the driving force behind Cincinnati’s “new economy,” it’s basically a conglomerate of professionals and business-minded experts willing to share their knowledge and networks with the people who want it and are willing to work for it. They also host regular events and manage meet-ups.
StartupCincy is, without a doubt, a thriving ecosystem built for the people, by the people. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an enthusiast, or an investor, this community of passionate, dedicated pioneers has got your back.
MORTAR is Cincinnati’s entrepreneurship hub and collective that is for the “Dreamers and Doers, Makers, Bakers, and Artists.” Started in 2014, this 15-week program aims to help springboard both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs into creating, owning, and growing their own business. Founded by people who firmly believe that entrepreneurship can change lives and, by extension, the community. Their goal is to produce businesses that will create jobs and circulate money, ultimately nurturing the local economy.
What’s great is that they don’t stop when the fifteen weeks are over, either. MORTAR alumni will continue to have access to resources and opportunities, like new customers, mentors, and regular mentorship events.
Getting into the course can be a bit intimidating as they’re very selective with their students, but it’s definitely worth trying. Application is free and easy; simply fill up the online form on their website as best as you can and wait for them to contact you.
Dedicated to helping innovators with big ideas (and bigger dreams) build solid tech companies in Southwest Ohio, CincyTech is the one to go to for inventors and entrepreneurs in the digital and life science field.
A public-private “seed-stage” investor, CincyTech does more than just fund and partner up with promising tech ventures. They also provide advice for entrepreneurs, guidance for research institutions looking to commercialize technology through startups, and connections for individual investors with regional companies. They seek to enrich economic vitality by creating jobs and wealth in Cincinnati.
Supported by Ohio Third Frontier, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, CincyTech has more than enough backing to help deserving startups and tech innovators.
USPTO stands for United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is the official federal agency “for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks” for U.S.-based inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO registers and monitors invented products and intellectual properties, safeguarding the rights of inventors and legally asserting their ownership. They continue to meet the demand for patents and trademarks, placing them at the “cutting edge” of the nation’s technological achievement and growth.
Aside from registering patents and monitoring trademarks, the USPTO also offers assistance for independent inventors, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and university-affiliated innovators through its Office of Innovation Development. Interested parties can also consult their resources for legal guidance and stipulations regarding intellectual property (IP) policy,
Cincinnati Patent Attorneys
Cincinnati goes by nicknames including, “Blue Chip City” which was given to convey an image of the business community that was “solid, stable, dependable, high quality, steady performer,” like a blue-chip stock.
We understand the difficulties of growing your ideas and business in such a competitive market such as Cincinnati.
That is why we exist; to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property.
Marketed as Cincinnati’s startup hub and innovation network, Cintrifuse’s mission is to “make Greater Cincinnati the #1 tech startup hub in the Midwest.” It’s an online community where Cincinnati-based entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators gather to network, market, and support each other. They have three major pillars: Entrepreneurs, BigCos, and their Syndicate Fund.
- Cintrifuse offers connections, partnerships, resources, and solutions for entrepreneurs looking to grow their technology-based startups in Cincinnati. Both established conglomerates and new businesses are welcome to apply for membership.
- BigCos stands for “Big Corporations.” Much like with Entrepreneurs, Cintrifuse offers big corporations the tools and solutions they need to overcome industry challenges—specifically with innovation. Members in BigCos are given opportunities and competitive advantages through Cintrifuse’s startup connections, specialized workshops, active networks, and its Syndicate Fund.
- The Syndicate Fund is described as a “strategic fund of funds” that serves to bridge corporate investors with a broad network of “venture capital, startups, and business solutions.” Simply put, Cintrifuse works out a win-win situation for both investors and fund managers by providing access and connections to the best-emerging technologies.
Aside from these pillars, they also host and manage entrepreneur events as well as publish professionally-written blog posts.
Also known as CMBC, the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative is an organization and online collaborative that seeks to provide capital assistance and support for promising minority-owned, Cincinnati-based businesses. Dedicated to creating opportunities for existing organizations to work more effectively with minority business enterprises (MBEs), the CMBC’s ultimate goal is to maximize the collective capabilities of enterprises, startups, and businesses owned by minorities to “positively impact” their growth, development, and success.
Businesses that wish to qualify for CMBC assistance must be at least 51% minority-owned and controlled. They must also demonstrate the potential to (1) achieve $5M in sustainable annual revenue within 3-5 years of joining CMBC, and (2) create at least 15 permanent jobs within 3-5 years of joining CMBC.
There you have it, everyone! A multitude of all the different resources available to inventors and entrepreneurs as listed above and below.
- University of Cincinnati
- Online Databases
- Cincinnati Library
- UIA of the United States of America
- Small Business Administration Groups
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Entrepreneurial Groups
- Meetup, Cincinnati
- Inventor Groups
- Cincinnati Product Development and Management Association
- Startup Help
- Patenting Help/Education
- USPTO Inventor & Entrepreneur Resources
- Cincinnati Patent Attorneys
- Bold Patents Cincinnati Law Firm
- Online Communities
- Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative
In the meantime, what other resources would you recommend to your fellow entrepreneurs and inventors in Cincinnati? Please let us know in the comments below!