Thursday, July 9, 2009

E4S: Akron Startups

Last night, I made the trek to our southern Northeastern Ohio major city, Akron, to see a showcase of sustainable start-up companies from the extended Akron area. The organization, Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), put together the event with free flowing Great Lakes Beer and some slather products from Vegitteranean (can't spell check that one).

Nine separate companies presented their business in five minute flashes regarding what they do, what goals that want to achieve, and what is needed to achieve those goals. Probably the coolest company in terms of writing is Myers Motors who has built an electric car with a sales price of $30K, speed of 76 MPH, and a 50 mile daily range. Myers' goal is to get it below $20K. Unfortunately, I stepped out of the room right before Myers was presenting so all the details are a little fuzzy. But just check out that vehicle. America just may have something to battle the popular Euro designs like the Mini and the newish Beetle.

Stephen Spoonamore was amazing presenter for his corporation, Absorbent Materials Company. Basically, what they do is change the state of glass from a liquid to a formal solid, and then somehow this solid glass "eats" volatile organic compounds. I would have like more information as to how the glass is eating these VOCs, but that wasn't the purpose of this event. Their customers are large players like the US Army.

Several companies, including Legacy Polymers, REDUSA Enterprises, and Polyflow, are doing the waste recycling/re-using thing. Polyflow is actually taking plastics (like cheap carpet and tires) and transforming this waste into synthetic car oil. Mars Systems has a patented system to remove arsenic and lead from water and needs streams to demonstrate their technology to the public. I'm not sure what BioDynamicz do or does as their presentation was a prepared, read statement that had more touchy-feely things about the founders of Akron rather than substance. Something about greenhouses? 4 Seasons?

The event was awesome overall, as I had no idea that so much was going on down there in the southern part of Northeastern Ohio. I may be missing something, but Akron may have its leg up on us here in Cleveland (somebody, I invite you to correct me on this). What I would have liked out of E4S from this event is formal tables/booths for the companies to display materials/cards/etc.

In other exciting news, the other day I had a super informative meeting with Bobbi Reichtell of Neighborhood Progress. She taught me the ins and outs of the Ohio Green Print website and our Cuyahoga County auditor's site. Tomorrow, I'm armed with a list of about 30 potential properties in the far west side of Cleveland that MAY BE grant eligible. I'm also thinking about making salsa verde with my tomatilloes.

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