First Batch

Cincinnati's way to retain creative talent
by connecting prospective entrepreneurs with community resources
to form small businesses making real things

The Challenge

Over the last few years there has been an uptick in the number of talented and ambitious locals wanting to start companies building physical products, and we also noticed many of those prospective entrepreneurs with great designs did not know how to turn their ideas into viable companies. Frequently the key to their stability relied on how they would scale production, but there turned out to be very few resources focused on helping people in the area between lone artisan and established manufacturer. We know that that Cincinnati has a healthy manufacturing industry well tooled to handle small and medium runs, a consumer branding and marketing hub that understands positioning and selling, great urban light industrial spaces, as well as a supportive community looking to buy local products. We just needed a way to bring that all together.

The Approach

With all the above forces coinciding we knew we had the potential to make the connections to launch interesting new physical product companies and the ability to showcase Cincinnati’s ability to be a entrepreneurial manufacturing hub. The result is First Batch: a four month physical product accelerator that connects entrepreneurs with the resources, training, and funding needed to move a product from prototype to production in Cincinnati.

The First Batch Program takes a select group of entrepreneurs through the process of refining prototypes, creating local connections, scaling up production and bringing a product to market.  Simultaneously, participants are enrolled in the CO:START business planning course, and matched with a local branding firm so as to develop a solid business plan and brand.  Participants go beyond just the pitch, and plug into the versatile Cincinnati manufacturing community. From prototype to customer feedback to sellable product in 16 weeks.  In the end, the entrant will have manufactured inventory to sell, giving them the opportunity to run or grow their business directly after the program.

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