As we (many of us gladly) bid farewell to 2016, The Metropreneur provides a rundown of what’s been happening in the small business community over the latter half of the year. Tiny homes, grooming and hair care products, financial advice, social enterprises and more made headlines in 2016.
Tiny homes – enormous following. Modern Tiny Living brought the “less is more” lifestyle to Columbus with its wheeled and non-wheeled constructions. Chicago-based i.c.stars chose Columbus as its first city for expansion, creating a technology-based workforce-development program for low-income adults. roll: expanded from bike shop to building their own two-wheelers with a universal frame that can be outfitted for sport, city or adventure riding. Storyforge’s Barry Chandler shared why he crossed the ocean to help businesses in Columbus find their purpose on the Columbus Chamber cbuzz.
Telhio Credit Union rounded up four resources for business owners to increase their financial savvy. ECDI launched its Business-to-Business Directory. Yocum Law put a social spin on law practice, aiming to serve clients that fall in the gap – they make too much money to receive pro bono legal aid, but not enough to pay the average attorney fee. The firm rounded out its services with legal benefits programs and educational tools to help triage issues before they turn into major problems. A model for what a successful social enterprise can do for a nonprofit, Equitas Health shared the story of building its pharmacy that now funds 72 percent of the organization’s $57 million budget. You know the bars, but do you know the business? Troy Allen gave a look behind the curtain at Rise Brands – the group responsible for popular watering holes 16-Bit and Pins Mechanical Co.
Nature’s Touch Landscaping & Lawn Care is giving individuals with challenges to employment the chance at a fresh start. A program of Alvis, Inc., the nonprofit has been providing reentry services for 50 plus years. With the rise in popularity of subscription-based services, Florish added flowers to the list of delivery possibilities. New accelerator Lumos outlined their spin on a typically rapid-fire program, focusing on metrics and offering space to stay and incubate. Snapflunece relaunched as a resource for the content creator community. Food for Good Thought was honored as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and Besa runner-up, at The Metropreneur’s second annual Aspire event.
Local grooming products company Cliff Original landed a huge opportunity to provide the toiletries for the new Hotel LeVeque. The Columbus Chamber’s Jeff Zimmerman shared seven ways to find new customers. ECDI launched a pilot program for small business contractors to extend Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) a line of credit loan to help them land work on many of the large-scale construction projects happening across the city. Monthly pitch event WakeUp Startup celebrated five years. Exciting things are taking shape at the Columbus Idea Foundry as the renovation of the second floor nears completion. Coworking, office and event space, along with select programming, is poised to put the makerspace as a hub of entrepreneurial activity. A Milo-Grogan teen inspired with his why wait attitude when it came to starting his shoe customization business.
The latest At Work explored the beautiful, light-filled Gay Street studio of Yao Cheng Design. Also in Gay Street news, a new pop-up retail incubator program, POP Columbus is headed just around the corner to a once-vacant storefront at 44 N. High St. Retailers can cycle through the dual storefront spaces for as little as one day to one month or more. Local Snap Fitness franchise owner Tony Capuano shared his plans to give the five gyms he owns a refresh. Two powerhouses formed a partnership to benefit Columbus food-based businesses. A & R Creative Group and ECDI are developing programs to assist local food entrepreneurs in navigating Central Ohio’s complex food system.
Customers with and without allergies cleared the shelves of Lopaus Point’s soy, dairy and gluten-free waffles. Epicenter Event Space opened its doors on Morse Road, providing a blank canvas for larger-scale and multi-day events. Specializing in products for type 4 hair, Naturally Smitten owner Tasha Branham outlined how she went from selling her hair care solutions on Etsy to the largest retailer in the nation. New app Juggle appealed to parents looking to find a reliable, vetted sitter.
Here’s to another year of growth for Columbus’ small business and entrepreneurial community!