The Entrepreneur Beat

WKSU is undertaking a year-long examination of entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio.   We will take a 360-degree look at business creation in the region and examine the resources available to start-ups, the opportunities, and pitfalls in the local business climate. We will look at impediments to success, and the entrepreneurial mind-set.

The project will include ongoing check-in's with local entrepreneurs as they navigate the challenges of starting a new business and promoting an innovative idea or product, putting a face to business creation statistics.

The project will also include long-form features as part of WKSU's ongoing Exploradio series as well as shorter pieces that will appear in newscasts throughout the week.

Ways to Connect

Photo of one of VR Rage's indoor signs
Reid Smith

A new bar in Northeast Ohio is putting a fresh spin on virtual reality. VR Rage in Parma gives customers a chance to play virtual reality games while enjoying food and drink.

Owner Tom Jenkins says virtual reality isn’t just for kids.

“It’s endless -- the possibilities and the number of layers to this. We’ve only got 14 games so far, and these various machines, but there is a whole series of possibilities moving forward,” Jenkins says.

Photo of Jonathan Maletic
Kent State University

A Kent State University computer-science professor has received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to further his development of eye-tracking software.

Jonathan Maletic will work with Youngstown State University professor Bonita Sharif on their project, iTrace.

Current technology tracks where viewers’ eyes range on a webpage but doesn’t accommodate scrolling or switching from one page to another, a problem iTrace aims to fix.

Maletic expects his project will help researchers better understand how computer scientists scan lines of code.

photo of Nsisong Udosen, Rohan Sinha, Josef Scheidt

Devices that break down barriers were among the winning entries at this past weekend’s third annual Cleveland Medical Hack-a-thon.

George Albercook calls himself “an inventor who tries to make the world a better place.” His team took third place at the hack-a-thon with a device that helps blind people sense objects around them.

Barb Ewing, CEO Youngstown Business Incubator
Commerce Department

A major Israeli business accelerator is now set to work with the Youngstown Business Incubator to bring high-tech start-ups to the Mahoning Valley. 

Youngstown incubator CEO Barb Ewing says the agreement with The Junction connects entrepreneurial tech ventures in Israel with markets and operating opportunities in Ohio.  

TWISTER robot arm
Greg Lee

What started as a “fun hobby project” based on a love of origami may turn into a device with the potential to work in manufacturing, surgery, and even in space.

Kiju Lee,  an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University is the principal investigator for a project called TWISTER, short for TWISted TowEr Robot.