2023 Was a Year of Transition and Impact at Bounce Innovation Hub

2023 began with new leadership for Bounce, as Jessica Sublett assumed the Chief Executive Officer role and the team welcomed Susan Berg Herman as Bounce’s new Chief Administrative Officer. Despite this significant transition in leadership, Bounce continued to drive impact in the communities we serve. In an ever-changing environment, our commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and innovation stays constant. 

 Our dedication to community impact is evident. In 2023, Bounce Innovation Hub served 197 companies across all of our entrepreneurial support programs and welcomed over 13,000 visitors to our building! We invite you to join us in celebrating the moments that define Bounce Innovation Hub in 2023, recognizing our commitment to innovation, growth, and community impact.

Turning Ideas into Impact: Featured Events in 2023

Fifth Annual Start-up Showcase + Highlighted Events

On September 28, 2023, we proudly hosted our fifth-annual Start-up Showcase—an event dedicated to celebrating the clients served in our programs, showcasing extraordinary new companies, and fostering connections within the entrepreneurial community. The day was filled with inspiring speakers, interactive workshops, informative presentations, and invaluable networking opportunities.

This year’s keynote speaker was Amy Mucha, the owner and chief pop artist of Daisy Pops in Kent, Ohio. The evening session featured a diverse range of activities, including entrepreneurial  workshops, networking sessions, fireside chats, and more.

In addition to the flagship Start-up Showcase, we hosted new fundraising events, our summer Food Truck Wednesday series from May to September, and fun-filled occasions like Halloween mini-house decorating, 1st Paw Prints capturing pet photos in front of the Christmas tree, and more, adding an enjoyable cadence to our year of in-house activities. 

In addition, Bounce was thrilled to host several notable events from partners, including University Hospitals and Northeast Ohio Medical University’s  Ideator, Akron Bazaar, University of Akron Research Foundation’s I-corps, and the ARCHAngels meeting!

 Building Innovation from Within: Facility Growth & Generator Expansion 

Providing affordable, clean, and productive spaces for startups to grow and scale is a critical component to Bounce’s mission. We ended the year  with 43 tenants occupying 84% of our rentable space in the incubator; a testament to the success of our efforts. 

 We welcomed the following tenants in 2023:


Given Charge Services, LLC & Bridge The Village Inc

Harmoni Solutions

Narrative Digital Media

Sabertooth Public Art

The Green Photograph

Our first-floor Generator space continued to be a hub for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and freelancers. In 2023, we hosted 155 large events. With 153 members and 468 total day passes sold, the Generator space buzzed with creativity and collaboration throughout the year.

In addition, the team spent a great deal of time preparing for the Generator 2.0 expansion project, which kicks off early in 2024. The Generator space will expand to the second floor, adding more coworking space, 10 additional private offices, 4 more conference rooms and two new classrooms. 

 Innovation in Action: Programming Milestones of GROW

Our GROW program served a total of 88 clients in 2023, with 67 of those being new client companies.

MORTAR at Bounce: A GROW Program

MORTAR at Bounce, our 15-week small business accelerator, continued to help entrepreneurs gain

confidence in business ownership while building a solid support system.  

Throughout the year, we hosted three Life’s a Pitch competitions. Life’s a Pitch is an exciting evening where each cohort celebrates graduation, creating an excellent opportunity for clients to showcase their businesses to the community. Clients participate in a live pitch competition to win a $3,000 business grant. The vibrant atmosphere filled with networking, food and music showcases the local small businesses served by Bounce.

The 2023 winners were:

Additionally, our Entrepreneur Light Awards recognized cohort members who exemplify camaraderie, teamwork and support for their fellow entrepreneurs.

Congrats to the following winners:

Tech Triumphs: Our Commitment to Regional Advancement

In 2023, Bounce Innovation Hub continued to play a pivotal role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurial growth through its Software Accelerator and Technology Incubator programs. Tech programming provided participant companies with comprehensive support, including valuable business advice, professional development, access to purchased services  and mentorship opportunities. Entrepreneurs in the programs benefited from extensive networking opportunities, potential investment prospects, and dedicated workspace to enhance productivity.

At the end of last year, Bounce Innovation Hub and NEOMED partnered to launch KINETIC, an innovative initiative focused on enhancing the development and commercialization of advanced medical technologies in the healthcare sector.  KINETIC will provide crucial resources and support to healthcare startups, streamlining the path from research to clinical application. This collaboration addresses a crucial need for a comprehensive support infrastructure in Northeast Ohio, ensuring that innovators have the tools and expertise necessary to bring their solutions to fruition and address unmet medical needs.

In 2023, Bounce Innovation Hub made a significant impact by serving a total of 109 companies through these innovative programs, solidifying its commitment to driving innovation, supporting local startups, and contributing to the success of the tech sector in our region.

Spotlight on Success: Bounce Clients in the News

In 2023, we celebrated the success of several Bounce companies on our blog. From groundbreaking product launches to industry-disrupting innovations, these featured companies demonstrate the spirit of innovation that defines our collaborative ecosystem. Their success stories not only inspire but also underscore Bounce’s commitment to fostering an environment where bold ideas flourish and ambitious ventures thrive. 

Check out some of the featured stories from 2023:

GROW Programming:

LaJAshley combines nature and science to elevate hair care | Bounce Innovation Hub (bouncehub.org)

CDK’s Greener Flame Candles Co. Promotes Holistic Health and Wellbeing | Bounce Innovation Hub (bouncehub.org)

Tech Companies:

CyberSafely.ai supports schools and parents in keeping kids safe online | Bounce Innovation Hub (bouncehub.org)

Pigybak App Is Building a Community of Homeowners and Contractors | Bounce Innovation Hub (bouncehub.org)

Forward Momentum: 2024 and Beyond 

Excitement is building as we approach the eagerly awaited release of our new strategic framework. Bounce’s new framework promises to be a pivotal time, ushering in a new era for our organization. With a focus on adaptability and growth, the revised strategy will reflect a meticulous reassessment of our goals and aspirations. Stay tuned for communications that will outline the course ahead, navigating the currents of change and propelling us towards a future brimming with possibilities. Get ready to embrace the evolution as we set sail into uncharted waters, guided by a vision that encapsulates innovation and resilience at its core.