News Roundup: Permits Online, SEA Change Winners, Rise of the Rest Pitches & More

All photos provided by Clayton Fuller.

When a news roundup is packed with this much info, it’s an exciting sign for the small business and entrepreneurial community in Columbus! From pitches to permits, get the latest updates below:

Eight Finalists Selected for Rise of the Rest Pitch Event

The Rise of the Rest tour will make its way to Columbus on Friday, October 13, where eight local businesses will pitch to billionaire investor Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chairman of Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, Revolution. Celebrating and funding emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S., Columbus is one of seven cities that will see a visit from Case who will be joined by J.D. Vance, venture capitalist, Ohio native and author of Hillbilly Elegy.

The Columbus tour stop will feature a fireside chat from Mary Grove of Google for Entrepreneurs, as well as special guests Eric Reis, author of Lean Startup, and Amy Nelson, CEO of Venture for America.

Finalists for the pitch competition include:

  • Solutions Vending International – SVI provides vending machine operators with actionable customer insights to optimize sales.
  • inmobly – inmobly pioneers the use of Artificial Intelligence for over the top (OTT) video delivery.
  • SafeChain – SafeChain eliminates fraud and inefficiency in real estate transactions using blockchain.
  • Nikola Labs – Nikola Labs creates wireless power solutions for the Internet of Things.
  • Auditgraph – Auditgraph provides technology to improve big pharma drug label safety.
  • SHARE – SHARE is a mobility provider for communities.
  • Liberty Mobility Now – Liberty provides mobility as a service for rural and small urban communities.
  • MentorcliQ – MentorcliQ helps companies develop their global workforce through employee mentoring.

For more information and to register, click here.

Department of Public Service Launches Online Permitting System

Columbusites can now access permits 24/7, 365 days a year with the launch of the Department of Public Service’s online permitting system. Anyone needing permits can now access the materials online as well as from the permits desk at the Department’s headquarters at 50 W. Gay St.

Permits are available for:

  • Building
  • Engineering
  • Right-of-Way
  • Zoning

“This new system puts in place yet another way that residents and businesses can obtain permits,” Director of Public Service Jennifer L. Gallagher said. “This will improve communications between the department and constituents and help our department work more efficiently and help reduce costs.”

For more information, visit

Resource/Ammirati Now IBM iX

The agency now know as IBM iX has been through a number of name changes since its founding by Nancy Kramer 36 years ago. Morphing from Resource Marketing, to Resource Interactive, to most recently Resource/Ammirati, IBM acquired the Columbus-based agency in early 2016 to add to “IBM’s global, leading design and digital experience capabilities,” according to a press release issued during the acquisition.

The Columbus IBM iX team has grown to over 300 associates serving clients like DSW, White Castle, Sherwin-Williams, Smart Columbus and L Brands. By joining IBM, the Columbus “studio” is now a part of the second largest digital agency network globally, joined by six other studios in North America and 34 across the globe.

For more information, visit

Columbus Chamber of Commerce Joins Ohio Business Competes

The Columbus of Chamber is taking a stand with Ohio Business Competes, a non-partisan coalition of businesses committed to achieving nondiscrimination policies at the state level.

Ohio is one of 29 states where individuals are not protected from being denied jobs, housing and services based upon perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Chamber joins over 200 businesses across the state that are pushing for fully inclusive nondiscrimination policies at the state level.

In a press release, the Columbus Chamber stated, “Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Ohio’s nondiscrimination statutes for housing, public accommodation, and employment will attract the best talent to the region, strengthen relationships among businesses and consumers, and ultimately grow Ohio’s economy.”

For more information, visit

Social Enterprises Pitch for $100,000 in Funding at SEA Change Pitch Day 

Last month, eight emerging social enterprise pitched for up to $100,000 in funding at the conclusion of the 14-week SEA Change Accelerator. It was the second cohort of Columbus-based businesses to complete the social enterprise accelerator which started in Cleveland three years ago. A field of 50 applicants was narrowed down to 14 that completed the accelerator programming, with the top ideas receiving pitch time in front of community members and investors.

Five startup social enterprises took home anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 to further develop their ideas. Businesses awarded funds included:

  • Makeshark – $5,000: Web design with a social mission, Makeshark will help small businesses access professional, quality websites while training urban youth in high-demand tech skills.
  • EmpowerBus – $10,000: EmpowerBus aims to connect dependable workforce-ready citizens with jobs at distribution and manufacturing facilities through dignified, reliable and on-time transportation to and from work.
  • CareCutz – $22,000: The CareCutz platform will connect individuals with disabilities to hair care professionals trained to provide customer service that best fits their needs.
  • Growlers Dog Bones – $23,000: Growers Dog Bones provides employment opportunities for you adults with disabilities by utilizing the by-products of local breweries to bake and sell dog bones.
  • DACA Time – $40,000: DACA Time wants to build a TurboTax-like software to fill out the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) application in a more cost-effective and efficient manner. (Between winning the pitch event and publishing this article, DACA was rescinded – find out what the startup will do now.)

Additional businesses that had to the opportunity to pitch included Blossom, NuWave San and Too Good Eats. Funding was provided by The Columbus Foundation, the Business of Good Foundation, United Way and IGS Energy.

For more information on the accelerator, visit