Sunday, October 24, 1999

Support group greases the wheels




BY JOHN J. BYCZKOWSKI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Bell's ZoomTown.com high-speed Internet service is the newest sponsor of Main Street Ventures, serving as a consultant to technology start-up companies. Main Street Ventures was created five months ago to formalize an informal support network for Internet start-ups. The nonprofit group helps to find anything such companies need, from programming to office space to writing a business plan. It also serves as a business incubator, providing office space.

        “The resources in the region (for helping start-ups) are rich but fragmented,” said George Molinsky, an attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister and a founder of Main Street Ventures. The group will help direct companies to those resources, he said.

        “We want to help these companies if it's a valid idea and a good group of people,” said Brad Wolfe, a Main Street Ventures board member and computer consultant with Conley-Canitano Associates Inc.

        Current sponsors of Main Street Ventures include Taft Stettinius & Hollister, the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche, consultants Conley-Canitano Associates Inc., Ethos Interactive, Synchrony Communications, VisualNet and Digital Bang. Mr. Molinsky said the group is in discussions with other sponsors.

        Sponsors offer money or services. ZoomTown, for instance, can offer technical consulting or use of the ZoomTown network to test new services.

        Intelliseek of Sharonville, a developer of Internet search technologies, will also become a sponsor, CEO Mahendra Vora said. He wants to help Cincinnati develop a community of Internet developers and bristles at any suggestion that local talent isn't as good as that on the coasts.

        “We are in Cincinnati not because we are idiots,” he said. “We like it here, and we want to raise our families here.”

       



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