By Jessica Sublett, chief operating officer of Bounce Innovation Hub.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you a prosperous 2018. The past year was very exciting for us as we took on the task of building on our existing programs to grow something new in Akron. We really took the “New Year, New You” mantra to the next level for 2018 as we have officially transitioned to the Bounce Innovation Hub!
So what’s new?
A lot has happened in the last month! You’ll start to see communications coming from Bounce instead of the Akron Global Business Accelerator (subscribe to our newsletter here). We also encourage you to start following Bounce on Facebook and Twitter in order to get fully engaged with the community and programs. You can also join our Slack channel to get the most out of the Bounce community.
In early December, the Bounce board of directors was formally announced. They are Deborah Hoover as chairwoman, Ken Babby, Philip Brennan, Steve Charles and David Zipper. You can learn more about them here. The board’s first major task is hiring our vision-creator and leader – our CEO. The board has targeted a Q1 hire date, so be on the lookout for news on that front! In addition to the CEO, you’ll see more new faces throughout 2018 and we’ll be sure to introduce them to you as they come on board.
One of the exciting changes coming to Bounce is the complete renovation of our first floor in 2018! Our incubator will remain on the upper floors, but the first floor of Bounce will be a reflection of the new innovation hub model – open, collaborative and welcoming to all.
So what does this mean to me?
I’ve been working in the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past several years. I’ve met a ton of entrepreneurs, service providers, investors and others in that time. And for the last four years, I managed the incubation program as well as daily operations for the Accelerator. In that time, I have met some of the most incredible, inspiring people to date, in my professional career. Every one of them has left an impact on me and I’m reminded daily how I am a part of something that enables them to do some amazing things. Sometimes I have a hard time explaining the niche field I work in to people outside the startup world. So I tell them about a few of the companies in our building and their game-changing innovations and they are soon to realize how very awesome my job is.
I have seen some incredible successes here, evidenced in short by some of the news stories featured in this month’s newsletter. But I’ve also seen people struggle – to raise capital, find a co-founder, break through on the next iteration of their prototype, and/or deal with failing intercompany relationships. I’ve learned that being an entrepreneur isn’t always sunshine and roses.
Being able to serve and assist our companies through the ups and downs of their startup journey is why being a part of Bounce is such an amazing, humbling experience for me. As the new chief operating officer at Bounce, I continue to be inspired and strive to help find ways to ease their struggles. I have a front-row seat to watch them grow their companies and celebrate their successes.
On another level, I look forward to working alongside the exceptional people who have made Bounce a reality and a board of directors that is dedicated, enthusiastic and determined to ensure that Bounce and its companies succeed.
Every day, I am reminded how special of an opportunity I have to be a part of the team bringing Bounce to life. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me.
It’s been a big year for us, but we’re just getting started.