ONE Fund Offers Tech Startups Money

The Ohio Third Frontier and The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business are attempting to stem the tide of the state’s brain drain with an unorthodox pilot program aimed at young entrepreneurs with exceptional ideas for commercially viable technology startups.

The program, called Ohio’s New Entrepreneur Fund, is being billed as “an innovative business accelerator” designed to attract and retain the best and brightest talent to Ohio to support its future economic development.

“We want young entrepreneurs from all over to see what Ohio has to offer as they look to start a business,” says Mark Kvamme, Ohio’s director of job creation. “This program is more than supporting their ideas; it’s making an investment in their future and the future of the state of Ohio.”

ONE Fund participants will be competitively selected teams of two to five people. About 10 teams will be given $20,000 each for business and living expenses, and will work under the guidance of experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors to prepare technology concepts and business models over the course of the 11-week program.

Out-of-staters should consider this requirement, though: participants must agree to live in Ohio for the duration of the program and any company formed through the program must be set up in Ohio. However, companies and their founders won’t be required to stay.

Once ONE Fund concludes, they are free to go where they wish, but after seeing all that Ohio has to offer, the state’s Department of Development is confident they will choose to remain here, says its spokeswoman Katie Sabatino.

The Ohio Third Frontier, which claims to have assisted in the creation and retention of more than 68,000 jobs for Ohioans, and Fisher’s Center for Entrepreneurship will select the program’s participants. Additionally, participants will have access to resources provided by the center’s New Venture Accelerator program, also known as 10x.

“The Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to partner with Ohio Third Frontier in the launch of the ONE Fund and the 10x program, an information technology startup accelerator for young entrepreneurs,” says Michael Camp, the center’s executive director.

“The 10x program is modeled after other established accelerators, like the Y-Combinator and TechStars, where we recruit the strongest technology entrepreneurial teams, provide seed funding, and, along with experienced mentors and coaches, develop the innovative ideas to attract significant follow-on venture capital,” he adds.

Applications are available at and are due no later than April 24.

The session begins June 13 and ends September 1 with a New Venture Showcase, where participants will pitch their ideas to dozens of venture capital and angel investors based in Ohio and other states across the country.

ONE Fund administrators will maintain an ongoing relationship with participants following the program to track their success.