2017 Year in Review: January – June

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Farewell, 2017! As another year winds down, we’re taking a look back at some of the most interesting stories and best advice published over the last 12 months. From legal and social media tips, to new businesses touting flip flops to succulents, keep reading for a recap of the first half of the year!

January 

2017 was a big year for the succulent and Planthropy was responsible for greening up Columbus with its arrangements of the hearty plant. Balm Skincare launched, bringing transparency to the skincare industry. Made with raw, organic ingredients, balm includes a breakdown of costs for each product. Barnes & Thornburg doled out some legal advice on why “Not a Good Fit” is not a good answer. (Read: clearly communicate your expectations.) ECDI also provided some important information in regards to predatory lending practices. And perhaps one of the biggest stories of the year, Columbus got its unicorn with CoverMyMeds‘ $1.1 billion acquisition.

February 

Hairpinlegs.com has been helping DIYers to contracts achieve the coveted Mid-Century Modern style with lines of locally-manufactured legs and hardware. After 71 years, The Florentine in Franklinton closed its doors, but the third-generation of family owners are keeping the name alive with bottled sauces and dressings. It was a big year for Black Radish Creamery. The cheesemakers introduced eaters to Ohio-made cheeses through a finalized stall at the North Market and celebrated the opening of their production facility. Turn off your email?! That’s one of the tips Telhio had for small business owners when it comes to time management. Kiva continued to forge forward, honoring the commitment of the late Reese Neader to bring the micro-lending platform to Columbus.

March

Have you hopped in a Hopper Cart? The micro-transportation solution launched this spring to shuttle residents and out-of-towners around Downtown and Short North – for free. Local dermatologist Shari Hicks-Graham, M.D. shared what it took to launch LivSo, a hair care line for dry scalp suffers with kinky, curly hair. Sisters Holly Shuster Van Tilburg and Heather Shuster tackled flip-flops through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Olli creates the summer staple using natural rubber, working only with audited plantations that meet fair labor and safety standards. Root is going after an industry with its new approach to car insurance based on your driving habits. BYLINED Founder Dave Hunegnaw shared five hard truths about user-generated content.

April

CCAD President Dr. Melanie Corn led a CMC forum about the role creativity plays in Columbus’ economy. (Non-profit arts generate $226 million in economic activity and provide 8,500 jobs.) Who hates making time to get their oil changed? Oleo looks to solve that with a come-to-you option. You’ve likely dined on one of the dozens of fresh-made pastas from Pasta Ditoni’s. After supplying restaurateurs for two decades, the pasta maker is eyeing the consumer market. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce offered seven tips on social media best practices for your business. A Franklin Park resident has been transforming the neighborhood house by house, and is taking the leap to commercial renovating his first restaurant space.

May

“Diversity isn’t the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.” The Technology & Inclusion Summit highlighted the benefits of a diverse workforce – but the severe lack of it, especially in the tech industry. If you make one of these six statements, your business might want to have an employment lawyer handy, according to Barnes & Thornburg. Veteran-owned business resource provider Bunker Labs established its presence in Columbus. Event Marketing Strategies gave small business owners some tips on diving into experiential marketing. VC firm LOUD Capital described their hands-on investing strategy, then gave business owners some pointers on perfecting their pitch deck at Startup Week Columbus. During Startup Week, the business community also heard from the city’s leading fashion players on their efforts to build a space for fashion in Columbus. Big banks weighed in on the rise of FinTech.

June

Bake Me Happy added the perfect pairing to go with its gluten-free goodies: a coffee shop. The Merion-Village bakery expanded into the space vacated by its neighbor T.Y. Fine Furniture’s move to Clintonville. Grypmat became the savior of mechanics everywhere with its flexible, non-slip rubber tool mat. (And later made it all the way to Shark Tank.) Flat 51 opened in German Village, offering a blank slate of a room that can host photo shoots to events – and comes with parking. Shoppers started saving with name-your-price tool Savy, and the 20-year-old entrepreneur behind the idea shared her startup experience. The $470 million invested in Ohio companies last year is a 26 percent increase over 2015’s $373 million. The numbers were detailed in the annual VentureOhio report, tracking the state’s VC activity.

Additional Reading: 2017 Year in Review: July – December

Additional Reading: 2017 Year In Review: Coworking, Social Entrepreneurship & Trends to Look for in 2018