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Ohio Among the Best States for Young Entrepreneurs

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Friendly Business Climate, Highly Ranked Entrepreneurial Colleges and Business Assistance Encourage Students and Young Professionals to Build Work-Life Balance

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — College students and young professionals alike are finding that Ohio is one of the best states for entrepreneurs and starting new business ventures, according to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. Ranked among the nation’s top 10 states for its business-friendly environment and tax structure by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, Ohio’s entrepreneurship education programs, access to markets, low start-up costs and access to business capital and support services create the ideal business start-up location.

When Bloomberg Businessweek sought out the nation’s Top 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs for 2010, the founders of three Ohio companies rose to the top of a field of hundreds of nominees:  CitizenGroove of Cleveland, Freshbox Catering of Columbus and LifeServe Innovations of Cleveland.

Freshbox Catering founder Joe DeLoss said he found the perfect business start-up location in Ohio after living in Minnesota and New York. After eating “a lot of really bad boxed meals” from corporate caterers while working as an investment analyst, the 25-year-old Capital University graduate found a way to serve better lunches — and a higher purpose. In 2009, he launched Freshbox Catering, a for-profit company owned by nonprofit Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio. With a tagline of, “Feed Your Appetite. Nourish Your Community,” Freshbox employs and empowers residents of Faith Mission Shelters by offering a competitive work environment focused on giving them life-changing skills and training.

Many promising ideas flounder from lack of business capital and support services. But, in Ohio, DeLoss found the resources to take Freshbox from inception to reality in a few short months. The company generated positive cash flow in its first year, and he plans to take the concept to other cities once proven.

“Ohio offers young entrepreneurs all they need to succeed, including access to knowledge, capital and skilled labor, an extensive supply chain and markets for goods and services,” said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. “Ohio’s programs for entrepreneurs, pre-seed funding opportunities, incentives, research programs and business assistance also help businesses grow and prosper.”

Another key benefit for young entrepreneurs, he said, is that Ohio offers a work-life balance available nowhere else.

DeLoss agrees, “After school, I searched and interviewed for positions all over the country. Ultimately, and happily, I wound up here in Columbus. Our city is ripe with opportunities for entrepreneurs and young professionals.”

After establishing himself in Ohio and starting Freshbox, he found he could achieve professional success and a rich personal life without sacrificing one for the other. In any given week, he can be found hitting Club 185 in German Village, sipping tea at ZenCha Tea Salon in the Short North, taking his Weimaraner to a dog park or taking a last-minute backpacking trip to Zaleski State Forest in Southern Ohio.

“It’s not just a place you go to spend your twenties,” he concluded. “It’s a place you come to build a life.”

For more information on business development or business relocation, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com. PWA-OBDC-12162010.

SOURCE Ohio Business Development Coalition

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