John Paganini, a well-respected tech evangelist in this region

Niche tech and startup events in Cleveland are becoming more popular: Tech Czar Talk

 

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The growth of Cleveland's and Northeast Ohio's tech industry has brought with it an explosion of corporate events, industry panels, hackathons, and much more. Many of these events focus on niche issues or industries, such as cyber security or nonprofits or women in technology.

Michael C. DeAloia mug.jpgMichael C. DeAloia

NonProfit Tech Baptism. One of the more profound and helpful tech summits recently in this region was the Ohio Nonprofit Technology & Communications Summit produced by Business Volunteers Unlimited, or BVU, and sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation and Fathom.

The summit was Sept. 30 at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. More than 200 attended and plenary sessions included: "Use Data & Analytics to Better Communicate with Your Audience," "Cloud Solutions: They are Transforming the Way Nonprofits Work," and "TechSoup: Leveraging Product Donations and Services."

 

BVU works with 400 nonprofits in the region and has the goal of improving the capacity and efficiency of the nonprofit entity. The organization does this through a board matching (essentially placing well regarded business professionals at the nonprofit board level), pro-bono consulting and a resource center.

It became painfully clear to Melanie Meyer, director of Communications and Technology at BVU, that nonprofits are struggling with technology limited budgets. In fact, 55 percent of the attendees were nonprofits with an operating budget of less than $1 million. To fulfill the social mission and manage the expanding available tech resources is tough to do with such a challenging budget.

According to Meyer, BVU and the Cleveland Foundation were pleased with the knowledge shared at the event. Other sponsors and attendees stressed the need to have another tech event for nonprofits next year.

The HIMSS Hymnal. One of the more exciting tech events in Cleveland is the Summit Healthcare Day at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Downtown Cleveland. This event will be Oct. 26.

HIMSS, or the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, is a global, nonprofit dedicated to better health technology.

The core emphasis of the event is security in healthcare. Cyber security breaches are a constant threat to all organizations, but especially to the sensitive data being collected by healthcare institutions. Many companies and organizations are ill-prepared to handle Ransomware issues, mobile device proliferation and basic security protocols and processes.

The HIMSS Innovation Center is managed by John Paganini, a well-respected tech evangelist in this region. Diversified Health Partners, a Cleveland based healthcare consulting firm, is also a partner in this summit.

This summit is ideal for healthcare IT executives, experts or evangelists. For more information or to register, go to https://www.informationsecuritysummit.org.

Celebrating Women in Technology. There has been overwhelming discussion in Northeast Ohio on how to engage more women into the technology space. A great way to do that is to engage high school girls who have an interest or proficiency in tech. And now there is a way to celebrate women who are helping out with tech at the high school level.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) has opened the nominations for its eighth annual Ohio Aspirations in Computing Award. The award is given to high school girls throughout the state who demonstrate a great attitude and deep interest in computing, have excellent academic performance and are thinking through plans for a post-secondary education. The award is sponsored by Key Bank.

NCWIT developed the award in 2010 to help young girls build confidence in pursuing a career in technology. I hope everyone in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio will encourage young women who love tech to apply for this prestigious award. Winners of the award will receive a cool plaque, scholarship and internship opportunities and access to a peer network. Interested applicants should apply on this website: https://www.aspirations.org/participate/high-school.

Angels and Startups. Flashstarts, a tech accelerator in Cleveland, hosted its fourth Angel Soiree on Oct. 18 at the FlashStart offices in Terminal Tower.

Flashstarts is a key player in the tech entrepreneurial movement in Northeast Ohio. The accelerator has produced a number of thriving tech companies including <remesh, InTouch and Complion. Tech guru and Flashstarts Co-Founder Charles Stack said he is positioning Flashstarts as a partner between angel investors and startup entrepreneurs.

The expectations in this area will be high, and they should be, for a new angel network to succeed.

In 2000-01, Jim Cookinham, then the executive director of the Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA, now known as OHTec) created the NEOSA Angel Network. One of the first meetings of this network took place at Landerhaven on Cleveland's east side and you couldn't get a seat. The venue was packed with angel investors, venture capitalists, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, academics and civic leaders. It created excitement on how regional investors could propel Cleveland's new economy.

But the NEOSA Angel Network never quite lived up to those early expectations. With start-up funding and venture funding beginning to decline (nationally not just in Cleveland), it becomes ever more important to create a fundamentally strong angel investor network.

Here's to hoping that Flashstarts makes those connections tangible, lasting and financially powerful.

Read more Tech Czar Talk columns here.

 

Media Contact:By Michael C. DeAloia, special to The Plain Dealer