PG&A Entrepreneur Seeks Help From Ohio Business Development Program

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An Akron, Ohio, entrepreneur hopes to get a leg up for his motorcycle PG&A business from a new business incubator designed to create local industries.

Gary Green has prototypes for 28 fiberglass products from saddlebags and trunks to fenders, and says he has so much dealer interest that he can envision needing 40 or more employees by the end of his first year. Lucky for him his company, AORT Inc., is just the kind of minority-owned enterprise that a new statewide program, Launch100, wants to help.

The initiative’s goal is to create a pipeline of 100 high-potential minority and inner-city based businesses over the next five years. Northeast Ohio economic development group JumpStart, which came up with the concept, and the Ohio Department of Development Minority Business Enterprise Division will test the program in 21 counties, with plans to roll the effort out across the state next year, according to Ohio.com.

Those accepted into the program must show how they plan to increase annual sales by over $15 million in the next three to five years, and that they have the potential to create more than 50 local jobs. The program helps find investors to move participants forward. Participants must also have a significant competitive advantage, such as a patent on a new product or process, or an exclusive license or business relationship.

The program is open to minority-owned companies and those based in inner-city areas that are likely to hire within the community.

Green, who has been working out of his North Hill home, says Launch100 could help him move into a manufacturing facility and start taking orders.

''We've talked to dealerships, and they love what we have,'' Green told the publication. ''It's going to be huge. It's impossible to do this thing on your own (but with help) we're talking about a $100 million-a-year company. We're ready to put people to work.''

Posted by Holly Wagner