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BizConCLE 2018 Features National Keynotes, Workshops and a Full Day of Learning

The 14th edition of Northeast Ohio’s only conference for small and middle market companies—BizConCLE—took place last week at the I-X Center and featured a full slate of nationally known speakers, educational sessions and hundreds of business leaders from across the region.

BizConCLE started off with a welcoming keynote from Brenda Kirk, executive VP and chief product and strategy officer at Hyland. She shared with attendees how Hyland grew from a 400-square-foot office space to the thousands of worldwide employees by following a blueprint of having a clear vision for the business, charting success and investing in its community.

Following a break to allow attendees to visit the full exhibit hall as well as mini educational sessions, the crowd gathered back in the ballroom for the day’s second keynote: Chieh Huang, who leads wholesale e-commerce disruptor Boxed. Huang told the crowd about the importance that a company culture plays in retaining employees and about some of the innovative ways that Boxed has used in the past to keep its employees happy and engaged in their work.

After another short break, the luncheon speaker took the stage. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He discussed his unique method on how he launched his business, grew his company to $10 million in revenue, and then sold for even more five years after launch.

The afternoon programming at BizConCLE featured back-to-back workshop sessions on a wide range of topics including:

• digital marketing;
• taxes;
• employee retention;
• business valuation;
• team building;
• how to recession-proof your business;
• the biggest HR mistakes businesses are making;
• what to know about analytics;
• how to be a trusted advisor for your clients;
• how to keep your business from running you; and
• the essential skills all successful entrepreneurs share.

Regathering after the workshops, the final keynote event of the day featured a special panel of Northeast Ohio’s leading “Girl Bosses”: Shibani Faehnle, founder of Bombay Taxi Boutique and co-founder of the She in the CLE! blog; Maria LeFebre, founder of Your Local Girl Gang; and Stephanie Sheldon, who runs the Indie Foundry and Cleveland Flea.

Stay tuned to this space in the coming weeks as we’ll dive deeper into all of the sessions that took place at BizConCLE 2018 and the lessons shared during the event.

BizConCLE is just one of the many events the Greater Cleveland Partnership hosts each year to provide education and other support to Northeast Ohio businesses. You can view a list of more upcoming events by clicking here.

Progressive Chooses Downtown Office Location

Progressive Corp. announced last week that it will be leasing office space in the Warehouse District of downtown Cleveland. This location will be home to a newly created specialized team for Progressive Corp. that will focus on innovative investments and products designed to better serve customer needs. The company anticipates 40 new jobs will be created at Downtown location by the spring of 2019.

“The GCP, along with our public and private partners, welcome  Progressive Corp. to downtown Cleveland,” said Deb Janik, Senior Vice President of Business and Real Estate Development at Greater Cleveland Partnership, “We appreciate Progressive’s continued investment in Greater Cleveland and look forward to our continued collaboration.” 

Learn more.

GCP/COSE Small Business Owners Present Before Cleveland City Council

Most employers recognize the importance and necessity of rules and regulations. Small businesses, however, can especially find specific government processes to be challenging to navigate related to licenses and certificates.  

That is why, for example, at the state level GCP supports legislation that requires the General Assembly to periodically review occupational licensing boards regarding their sunset, and to require the Legislative Service Commission to perform assessments of occupational licensing bills and state regulation of occupations.

It is also why current COSE Board Chair John Young and Former COSE Board Chair Mike Stanek were pleased to share their experiences last week at the local level with Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley and several other City Council members. 

Delays in license or certification renewals or unclear steps to complete these processes can pose a real burden for businesses that do not have a human resources department and are trying to focus on growing their business.  The issue can be even more problematic for businesses – like restaurants – who may require multiple licenses to operate in any given municipality.  

We will continue to advocate for our member businesses who encounter similar issues.  And, GCP looks forward to helping improve processes like these going forward to make our great state and city even more attractive to the business community.  

U.S. Senator Rob Portman Meets with GCP Members

GCP hosted U.S. Senator Rob Portman at the new Lincoln Electric Training Center in Euclid for a roundtable table on trade policy. More than 20 GCP member companies participated in the discussion as well as Congressman Dave Joyce. The roundtable provided an opportunity for Senator Portman and Congressman Joyce to share the latest on trade policy discussions in Washington ranging from the impact of tariffs on business to what still needs to happen to get to a final NAFTA agreement, and potential trade agreements with China and the European Union. GCP member companies shared a variety of issues with Senator Portman on how the recent trade decisions were impacting their companies. The Senator and Congressman encouraged companies to continue reaching out to their offices on how they are being impacted to support advocacy efforts for fair and balanced trade policy that provides predictability and stability for businesses. 

GCP will continue to work with Senator Portman and other leaders in the Ohio congressional delegation to push for trade policy that supports the needs of Ohio companies. 

Nominate Your Emerging Leaders for GCP LEAD

We are still accepting nominations of emerging leaders from Greater Cleveland Partnership member companies for the 2019 GCP LEAD Cohort 4. You may nominate one or two individuals.

GCP LEAD (Link. Engage. Advocate. Develop.) was created because the GCP recognizes the importance of cultivating our region’s future business and community leaders through becoming engaged in the GCP's work.  

Nominees must have at least five years of professional experience and an interest in getting involved in the GCP's priority areas of education and workforce, advocacy, diversity and inclusion, business development, physical development, and small and middle market initiatives. 

To submit your nomination(s), please contact Angela Finding at

Volunteer to Help CMSD Students at The Resume Checkpoint Workshop

GCP members are invited to continue the resume education process with Cleveland Metropolitan School District Academies of Cleveland 11th graders at a follow-up Resume Checkpoint event on November 13th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

The Resume Checkpoint is a continuation of a workshop held in August and is part of a series to help 11 grade students develop and improve their resumes so the resumes are “employer-ready” as they begin seeking jobs and internships.  The goal is for volunteers to review what the students have been working on from August to November and provide feedback to the student to help them further improve their resumes.

The Resume Checkpoint will be held at East Professional Development Center. For questions or to sign up, contact Angela Finding at or 216-592-2385.