This year, we’re featuring dozens of all-new panel sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and discussions with industry experts. Whether you’re thinking of starting a new business, currently raising capital, looking for marketing help, seeking industry-specific business advice or just eager to connect with fellow attendees, there’s a session for you at Startup Scaleup.

7:30-8:15 am


Cash Is King

Understanding Your Financials

Aloft Hotel Ballroom

Whether you’ve been in business for months or years, business accounting can be a daunting task. Get back to the basics in this session, where we’ll break down the fundamentals in an approachable way and show you how to use your financials to make solid business decisions.

Jack Mencini
Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Radio Host

Digital Marketing in the Morning

Aloft Hotel Ballroom

Grab a cup of coffee and join this morning workshop dedicated to all things digital marketing. From web and social best practices to content marketing strategy and customer persona development, it’s all fair game.


Aloft Hotel Veranda

Start your day with an early morning yoga session and workshop on personal wellness, featuring GrooveRyde’s Anjua Maximo and Flow Yoga’s Adam Tilocco.

Adam Tilocco
Owner & Instructor, Flow Yoga Studio

8:30-9:30 am


Startup Scaleup Morning Kick-off

Join JumpStart CEO Ray Leach and several Startup Scaleup headliners to learn more about the event and get the day started right!

Aloft Hotel Veranda

Ray Leach
CEO, JumpStart

10:00-11:00 am


Building Your Talent Brand

Whether you are a catering company or a software startup, all businesses need quality employees to survive. But high-quality candidates are evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them. Join the JumpStart talent team for a conversation about utilizing basic marketing and branding principles to create an atmosphere that attracts and retains great employees.

Alley Cat

Flashstarts Startup Bootcamp

Do you have an idea for a startup? During the Startup Bootcamp we will guide you through a rapid process to help turn that idea into a working business. You will leave with a business model and learn about validation tactics, key resources in our region, and much, much more.

Thirsty Dog

How Women Founders Get Funded

Join us for a discussion about closing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs, celebrating the successes of female-founded companies and making the path easier for the next generation.


Anne Richie
Venture Partner, JumpStart

Lynn-Ann Gries
Managing Partner, First Check Fund

Renée DeLuca Dolan
President, Contempo Design + Communications

Married To The Job

Husband & Wife Teams Share Their Tips For Entrepreneurial Success

Being married to an entrepreneur can be challenging—especially when you’re an entrepreneur too! Join a conversation with two couples who are mixing family life and business life, with spectacular results.

Lindey’s Lake House

Mischief Managed

How to avoid common startup pitfalls

Starting and growing your business isn’t easy and there are many issues that can arise along the way. Join a panel of startup and small business advisors as they share their stories from working with hundreds of different companies across various sectors. You will learn the most common pitfalls they have encountered and strategies to avoid/solve these in your own company.


Women Talk Tech


Bold Food + Drink

Join Lauren Washington, co-founder of Black Women Talk Tech and JumpStart president, Cathy Belk for a conversation about how the entrepreneurial journey is different for women and how the next generation of women entrepreneurs are working to turn the challenges they face into advantages.

Cathy Belk
President, JumpStart

Lauren Washington
Co-Founder, Fundr and Black Women Talk Tech

11:15 am-12:30 pm


Social Hour

How to Develop a Strong Social Media Presence for Your Business

Pro-level social media is no longer a luxury. For most businesses, it’s a necessity. Join this interactive conversation focused on upping your social media game and using it to help your business grow.


11:30 am-12:30 pm


BLK hack Cleveland Presents: The Bigger Picture!

Raising and deploying capital to an underrepresented group that gets less than 2% of all venture capital investment is hard work. Join Harlem Capital Venture Partner John Henry and Radio One Cleveland Marketing Director Rohnesha Horne for a fireside chat focused on creating change by developing strong processes and staying focused on the bigger picture.

Bold Food + Drink

John Henry
Partner, Harlem Capital

Rohnesha M. Horne
Marketing Director, Radio One

Brand the Land

Cleveland is a city; but the images and emotions this city conveys have also made it a powerful marketing term. In this session, you’ll hear from the people who helped shape the modern image of the city, and local businesses who have weaved Cleveland into the branding of their products.


Freddie Coffey
Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, JumpStart

Greg Carlin
Lead Venture Partner, JumpStart

Equity Matters

Exploring Non-Dilutive Funding Options

Join the SBA for a conversation about funding your growing business while preserving your ownership stake using debt-based, non-dilutive funding options.


Dale Lenzer
Senior SBA Product Specialist, Huntington National Bank

Robert Scott
Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

From Maker to Founder

Tips for turning a physical product into a scalable business

Building a business around a physical product comes with unique challenges. Join the experts at MAGNET for a session exploring the product development process through the experience of a local up-and-coming founder.

Dante’s Inferno

Partnering to Build Better
with “Design Thinking”

Join 1848 Ventures, a subsidiary of Westfield, and IDEO, a global design firm, for a conversation about their partnership which uses the philosophy of “design thinking” to build better products, services and ventures. Explore tangible examples of this philosophy in action and learn how deep insights about human behavior–from customers to employees to partners–can be used by any business (from SaaS startups to manufacturing firms) to innovate and grow.

Alley Cat

Stuart Rosenberg
Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer, Westfield

Brian Bemiller
Venture Leader, Concept Development, 1848 Ventures

Deirdre Gannon
Venture Leader, Partnership Development, 1848 Ventures

Peter Jackson
Portfolio Director, IDEO San Francisco

Justin Massa
Executive Portfolio Director, IDEO Chicago

Ashley Reed
Venture Leader, Talent Strategy, 1848 Ventures

The Many Faces of a Modern Food Business

Join a panel of Northeast Ohio food entrepreneurs whose businesses range from franchisees and food trucks to catering operations and fine dining establishments. Learn what they all have in common and how they turned their love of food into viable businesses.


Jose Melendez
Owner & Chef, Melendez Catering Services

Tiwanna Williams
Owner, PearlFlower Catering

Pick Your Panel 

Join this eclectic session, made up entirely of panelists who were voted on stage by their fellow Startup Scaleup attendees.

Big Bang

12:45-2:15 pm


How to Grow a Magnetic Brand and Easily Attract Dreamy Clients

Big Bang

Join Jennah Lear of Blue Loui Studio for a client attraction workshop for purpose-driven women entrepreneurs and business owners. If you’re ready to play bigger in your business and easily attract the exact person you want to work with and can make an impact for, this session is for you. Are you ready to grow your brand this year?

Jennah Lear
Owner and Chief Creative, Blue Loui

1:00-2:00 pm


Diversity AND Inclusion

Why Every Organization Needs Both

Diversity is a thing you do. Inclusion is about how you leverage diversity to improve your organization. Hear from a panel of leaders who are leveraging both to build stronger cultures and gain competitive advantages in their industries.


Carmella Williams
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, YBI

Gloria Ware
Director, KeyBank Center for Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth

Lamont Mackley
Partner, Core City Services & Outreach, JumpStart

Magda Gómez
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Cuyahoga Community College

Exploring Venture Debt

Join a panel of funders and entrepreneurs for a discussion on funding a startup with non-dilutive venture debt. Explore the pros and cons of this fundraising tool and learn how it can work in tandem with venture capital.

Lindey’s Lakehouse

The Family Hustle



Did you know family businesses account for more than 60% of U.S. employment, and nearly 65% of our total GDP? So, what happens when the next generation takes over? Join us for a conversation with some prominent Northeast Ohio business leaders who have helped modernize and grow their family businesses, without losing sight of what makes them unique and special.

Barbara Bradford
Manager, J.B. Grill

Chrissi Sanders
Founder, Next Play

Waverly Willis
Proprietor, Urban Kutz Barbershop

The Future of Energy

From the lowering cost of energy storage technology to the continued rise of renewable power, the energy landscape on the verge of massive change. That’s why many of the major players are actively looking for new innovations to help them stay competitive. Join three industry heavyweights, First Energy, Dominion Energy and American Electric Power, to learn how startups are partnering energy companies to prepare for the future.

Dante’s Inferno

Hometown Luxury

Building a High-End Brand in Cleveland


Old Cleveland was built on oil and steel, but a modern wave of local entrepreneurs are carving out a new niche with their creative style and high-end sensibilities. Learn how they are building globally relevant fashion, jewelry and body care brands from right here in Northeast Ohio.

Anne Harrill
Founder, Océanne

Jackie Wachter
Co-Founder & Creative Director, FOUNT

Nicole Dzurko
Founder, Revival Body Care

Valerie Mayen
Head Designer, Yellowcake Clothing Company

Raising Angel Capital from the trenches

Join this conversation with experienced founders who have raised capital from angel investors. Here their stories and get insights on the ups, downs and in-betweens of the angel-fundraising process.

Alley Cat

Making Time for Your Health as an Entrepreneur

Despite the glamorous image of the fearless founder, startup life is full of stress. That’s probably why founders are much more likely than the general population to suffer from depression, substance abuse and a host of other health issues. Join us for an honest conversation about balancing your entrepreneurial drive with your own health and wellness.

Bold Food + Drink

Sweaty Startups

Turning Service Jobs into Scalable Businesses

Software and high-tech ventures get the headlines, but there are thousands of entrepreneurs building successful businesses in traditional service-oriented industries. From catering to cleaning services, meet some of the people who are turning hard labor into big business with just a small dose of innovation.

Bold Food + Drink

James Barnes
Founder & President, Immaculate Cleaning Co.

2:30-3:30 pm


Finding the Front Door

There are many organizations working to help startups grow in Northeast Ohio. But which should you be working with, and how do you get started? In this session, you’ll meet several representatives of the Northeast Ohio Startup Network, a collaborative group of people and organizations who work together to help entrepreneurs. Hear more about each organization’s specialty and learn how they all work together to get entrepreneurs the help they need.

Big Bang

Brandon Cornuke
VP of Startup Consulting, MAGNET

Hidden Gems

Five Community Orgs Ready to Help You Explore Your Great Idea

Northeast Ohio is full of organizations supporting entrepreneurs. But some of their amazing resources still fly under the radar. In this session you’ll meet several of these organizations and learn how they help entrepreneurs start and grow great businesses.


Making the Leap

How to Launch a Business While Holding A Day Job

Many entrepreneurs are holding down a steady job when inspiration strikes. So how do you get your big idea off the ground while still meeting your 9-to-5 responsibilities? And how do you know when it’s time to make the full-time leap to your new business? In this session, a panel of experienced entrepreneurs explore their transition from employee to founder and share their tips for making the process as painless as possible.

Lindey’s Lakehouse

The Paradox Prize

Investing in Big Ideas to Improve Worker Mobility


This session will provide background on The Paradox Prize. This $1 million, multi-year challenge from the Fund for Our Economic Future, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and The Lozick Family Foundation is designed to discover big ideas in transportation that will result in a seamless array of mobility options for our region.

Bethia Burke
Vice President, Fund for Our Economic Future

Dominic Mathew
Director of Mobility Innovation, Fund for Our Economic Future

Tesla Talks

A Poolside Chat with Tiara Thurston

Join Tiara Thurston, Tesla’s General Manager for the Central US, and Rick Stockburger from the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center (TBEIC) for a wide-ranging conversation about energy innovation. From electronic vehicles to home-based storage batteries and solar panels, get an insider view on the energy innovations that will shape the future.

FWD Day + Nightclub

Tiara Thurston
Regional Manager, Tesla

3:30-5:00 pm


Entrepreneur Resource Fair

Grab a drink and get connected with the many people and organizations focused on helping startups and small businesses succeed.

Big Bang

4:30-6:00 pm



The Official SuSu Afterparty

It’s party time! Help us toast another great Startup Scaleup event at our official afterparty, with music, food, drinks and of course, more networking.

FWD Day + Nightclub