News


Local entrepreneurs will pitch ideas at Richland Idea Audition

October 12, 2018
by Emily Mills, News Journal
Richland County residents will pitch their ideas for new products, businesses and services during the Richland Idea Audition next week.The Richland County Foundation, Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Richland Community Development Group, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, Braintree Business Development Center, Small Business Development Center and North Central Ohio SCORE are co-hosting the event.

Richland County residents will pitch their ideas for new products, businesses and services during the Richland Idea Audition next week.The focus of the contest is to support new businesses, help entrepreneurs get businesses off the ground and introduce entrepreneurs to the community for support, according to a press release.The audition will be Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Founders Hall at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, 1760 University Drive, Mansfield.The five contestants who make it to the final round will pitch their ideas to an audience and a panel of judges, made up of local entrepreneurs.About 30 entrepreneurs, mainly Richland County residents, who are participating in the audition will have four minutes to explain their ideas for a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. The second place idea will receive $2,500, and third place will receive $1,000. The public is invited to attend a reception to meet and talk with the entrepreneurs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The final round starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.It is the first year for the Richland Idea Audition. Applications to compete in the audition closed in August.Richland County Foundation chief advancement officer Maura Teynor said several years ago, she and others from the foundation attended a similar event in Cleveland's Ohio City and were inspired to plan a Richland County event "to encourage entrepreneurship locally."The Richland County Foundation, Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Richland Community Development Group, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, Braintree Business Development Center, Small Business Development Center and North Central Ohio SCORE are co-hosting the event.

Read more: Local entrepreneurs will pitch ideas at Richland Idea Audition URL: https://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2018/10/12/local-entrepreneurs-pitch-ideas-richland-idea-audition/1592946002/


Braintree board member Jack Stewart debunks estate planning myths

September 10, 2018
by Emily Dech, Richland Source
There’s an adage that goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”When it comes to estate planning, this doesn’t necessarily apply — at least, it doesn’t have to, according to Jack P. Stewart, one of the area’s only certified elder law attorneys.

There’s an adage that goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”When it comes to estate planning, this doesn’t necessarily apply — at least, it doesn’t have to, according to Jack P. Stewart, one of the area’s only certified elder law attorneys. “We do encourage a meeting ahead of time so people aren’t trying to do everything at the last minute … but contrary to belief, even though they didn't do any planning and they're coming to see me at the last minute, a big myth out there is people sometimes feel there's nothing they can do to save money or save their assets, and there are things they can do. There's a lot they can do,” he said.Stewart, who operates his own law and tax practice in Ontario, said estate planning typically involves drafting living wills, healthcare powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney, trusts and deeds.He offers consultations to help people understand the various legal documents associated with estate planning.“A lot of people, I guess you’d call it a myth, when they come in they think estate planning means I just need a will,” he said.Unbeknownst to many is the need for a healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney, he said.A healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make crucial healthcare decisions in the event you are unable to do so, whereas a financial power of attorney grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues.“People get those two confused all the time,” Stewart said.The difference between a will and a trust can also cause some head-scratching.“A last will and testament is a document basically that states who gets your property when you pass away,” he explained. “Sometimes people feel they don't need a will because they're married or something like that.“They don't realize sometimes a will can help for other reasons.”He noted that it’s much easier to administer your estate if you have a will and that the process is slower and more expensive if you don’t have one when you die.“A trust is a vehicle where you're giving your assets to someone, a trustee … and that person takes care of the assets for the benefit of a beneficiary," he said. "Now, a lot of people do a trust and it's a trust for themselves, so they're the trustee and the beneficiary. A typical example is you have a husband and wife — they'll do a joint trust."They’re both trustees and the trust is for them for the rest of their lives."The big kicker is trusts can aid in avoiding probate, he said.Probate is a legal proceeding that involves the distribution of a deceased person’s assets. An executor must be appointed, who will then have the authority to transfer assets to the beneficiaries.“Usually it’s your spouse or one of your children, and they're in charge of dispersing the assets according to your will,” Stewart said.Stewart recognizes the complexity of estate planning. Given the detailed and intricate nature of the estate planning process, it can cause some misunderstanding. He expounded on one of the most common misconceptions.“When people go into nursing homes, especially if they are single, they feel that they have to spend all of their assets on the nursing home and they can't save anything — that’s the biggest myth we face,” he said. “That's the biggest one we fight every day and try to tell people, 'No that's not the case."There are techniques we can use that have been used before that can help them.’"Say, for instance, a single person with $80,000 has a stroke and now they’re in a nursing home.“Someone will tell them they must spend all $80,000 first and then they can get on Medicaid,” Stewart said.Who that person is depends — it could be someone at the nursing home or even a friendly neighbor, he said.Why would they say that?“Because, I believe they don't know any better, No. 1. No. 2, they’re reading the law literally because if you read the law it says if you spend all your money down and you get it under $2,000 you’re eligible for Medicaid, so they know they're not telling them a falsehood because that's what the law says," he said. “But they don't tell them that there might be some other options in addition to spending some of your money where you can save some money.”Some people may think estate planning is too costly to pursue.“But if you’re not talking trusts, and most people are, for the cost of one or two car payments, you can get all of your estate planning documents done," Stewart said.Why even do estate planning at all?“One reason is to prevent guardianship,” Stewart said. “If they don't have these documents in place and suddenly they get very sick, now they might have to go through that whole process of guardianship. That means if someone is incapacitated and they don't have power of attorney, if someone wants to help them, they have to go to the probate court and become a guardian for that person to handle all of their affairs."That process is expensive and it takes awhile to do.”There are all sorts of reasons why people may put off or completely avoid estate planning."But I always tell people, I mean, if you're still standing, it's never too late,” Stewart said. “There's always something — that's the biggest message I can give people — that it's never too late.”

Read more: Braintree board member Jack Stewart debunks estate planning myths URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/gray_matters/elder-law-attorney-debunks-estate-planning-myths/article_69e6ef06-8f6d-11e8-ad78-9bd03bc9bcd5.html


If Bob Cohen has his way, Mansfield won’t be left out of a regional blockchain initiative. Cohen of Braintree Business Development Center spoke about Mansfield’s potential role in Blockland Cleveland Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the monthly Richland Community Development Group meeting.

If Bob Cohen has his way, Mansfield won’t be left out of a regional blockchain initiative.Cohen of Braintree Business Development Center spoke about Mansfield’s potential role in Blockland Cleveland Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the monthly Richland Community Development Group meeting. “The idea (is) that Cleveland and northeast Ohio could be an epicenter of blockchain activity,” Cohen saidThe initiative has been led by Bernie Moreno, a Cleveland area car dealer, who imagines the region as a hub for blockchain technology, which is likely best known for its use with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Cleveland, Akron, Ashland and Mansfield all have representatives currently involved.“One of the questions that came up has been how ‘Cleveland-centric’ this effort is. I met last week with Dean Elad Granot of Ashland University’s Dauch College of Business and Economics to specifically ask if the effort was intended to be regional and he said, ‘Yes, definitely,’” Cohen said in an email. Granot is the co-chair of the BlockLand entrepreneurship committee. But Cohen hopes to see even more involvement from Mansfield in the coming months.“I don’t want them to someday say, we tried to make it regional, but nobody came,” Cohen said at the RCDG meeting.The next meeting about Blockland Cleveland is set for Friday, Sept. 21 in Cleveland and is open to people who are interested. They should contact Bob Leach at Braintree for more details.Later this year, from Dec. 1 to 4, the organization has planned Cleveland’s first international blockchain conference at the Huntington Convention CenterCohen related blockchain’s information tracking capabilities to Carfax.“This keeping track of everything is not a new concept; it kind of reminds me of Carfax, where you can look up everything that’s ever happened to that car, but what makes it a little bit different is this distributive nature, that it’s stored on hundreds of thousands of computers,” he said.This makes it more difficult for information to be hacked, as it is stored on thousands of computers, Cohen explained. Read more about this initiative at blocklandcleveland.com

Read more: Braintree and Ashland University are both part of regional blockchain intitiative URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/news/mansfield-participating-in-regional-blockchain-initiative/article_d0d41be0-b087-11e8-aaef-87991df0d5d8.html


Congratulations to the Holden Agency (THA) was founded in 2013 by CEO/Broker Jerry Holden, a longtime Richland County resident who has been at the forefront of commercial and residential real estate in Ohio since 2005

The Holden Agency, North-Central Ohio based real estate agency headquartered in downtown Mansfield, recently celebrated five years in business.The Holden Agency (THA) was founded in 2013 by CEO/Broker Jerry Holden, a longtime Richland County resident who has been at the forefront of commercial and residential real estate in Ohio since 2005. As a local resident, Holden said it was clear to him that north central Ohio lacked what the market was demanding in a more fast-paced, modern, up-to-date business model, which he set out to address with the formation of The Holden Agency.THA was built upon the foundation of four key principles: innovation, partnership, vision, and integrity. Holden’s goal was to build an agency that provided clients with a redefined real estate experience, where clients have an entire team working on their behalf rather than the industry standard of competing agents.

“It was amazing to me that, all throughout the country, there was basically just a bunch of individual agents working for themselves and not collaborating as a team. Most seem to lack the understanding that they will provide their clients with better service and be more successful when they work together as a unit,” Holden said.With that in mind, Holden set out to foster a team atmosphere where agents would trust, share, and collaborate with one another, creating a win-win situation for both clients and agents.Holden is no stranger to operating in an environment driven by team success. Before real estate, he enjoyed a career as a pitcher in minor league baseball, where many of THA’s same goals apply.“I have been involved in sports all my life. No matter what accolades I received, I know I couldn’t have succeeded without my teammates on the field with me,” he stated. “When everyone involved contributes, each person succeeds. We operate under this same business model as an agency.”The success of THA’s model is evident in the agency’s rapid growth. In just five years, THA has grown exponentially to a team of 34 agents serving clients throughout the state of Ohio.“I think our key principles, as well as the hard work and dedication of our team are why clients have enjoyed working with us and we have been able to expand so quickly,” Holden said. “This agency is nothing without the incredibly skilled agents that we have on our team, and all of wonderful clients throughout Ohio who continue to provide us with referrals and repeat business.”One of the longest-tenured members of THA is agent Hollie Brenner. Brenner joined the agency upon its inception in 2013 and has since taken on additional roles as a coach for other agents within the company.“I think I speak for the others on our team when I say we look forward to coming into the office every day. We can all sit down at the same table and give and take advice from one another,” Hollie said. “We have built strong relationships with each other and help each other out whenever we can, which allows us to really put the client first.”In an effort to continually meet the growing demands of the market, Holden has also expanded into other service offerings, providing clients with a “one-stop-shop” experience. In August of this year, THA Mortgage, a partner entity of The Holden Agency, was launched. The company strives to provide a quality, convenient lending experience to home buyers while also providing significant cost savings to customers.“There’s no reason for borrowers to have to spend $7,000 on closing costs when borrowing money to purchase a home,” Holden stated. “We’re happy to give customers the opportunity to save a significant amount of money and get off to a great start on their new home.”The industry-disrupting, non-competing approach of The Holden Agency has caught the attention of some of the largest media outlets in the industry.

The agency has been highlighted on numerous occasions in RIS Media’s Real Estate Magazine. Globally-recognized Inman News has also published several features on THA including “My big break: 7 top producers on the moment that changed it all” and “Should in-house agents compete? This indie broker says 'no'” by Gill South.In addition, the agency has also been honored with several awards and nominations. In 2017, Inman News recognized The Holden Agency as one of the nation’s 32 finalists for the prestigious Innovator of the Year award. On a local level, Holden was named the 2016 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Winner by the Richland Community Development Group (RCDG), as well as a member of Richland County’s 2016 “10 Under 40” along with THA agent Jessica Gribben.As an agency, THA was honored as a nominee for the 2016 Small Business of the Year award from the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce.Holden recognizes that the success, growth, and accomplishments his company has achieved are all attributed to the communities that THA operates within.“We are so fortunate to be involved in so many great communities throughout the area. We try to be invested in every chamber in the cities that we serve. It has been a pleasure to give back where we can and take part in so many great events that benefit groups in our local communities.”As Holden looks forward to what the next five years hold, he makes it clear that he and his team have no plans on slowing down, and that there will always be room to improve.“Over the next five years, I see us working on getting even better. One thing that we focus on each day is improvement. I’m a true believer that you can raise their skill level every day, no matter what profession you are in. We plan to continually expand to new areas throughout the state of Ohio, remaining focused in the local communities that were involved in, and taking care of our customers that have been gracious to us.”

Read more: Braintree board member Jerry Holden celebrates 5 years of the Holden Agency URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/business/the-holden-agency-celebrates-years-of-redefining-local-real-estate/article_9e20a428-b048-11e8-8fa7-df4fd0256519.html


Four Richland County natives will return in late September for Mansfield's first-ever Techstars Startup Weekend. Among them is Lexington grad and Mansfield SunDown RunDown alum Dan Manges. Dan is not CTO of Root Insurance, but was formerly the cofounder of Fractal Surfing, a Braintree tenant company.

Matt Armstead, a 1991 Lexington graduate and co-founder of Horizon Two Labs; Crestview product Falon Donohue, CEO of VentureOhio, 2003 Lexington alumnus Dan Manges, co-founder of Root Insurance, and Madison product Marquise Stillwell, founder of Open Box Design Studio, will all partake in Startup Weekend Mansfield, set for Sept. 28 to 30 at Idea Works, 40 W. 4th St. Donohue and Manges will travel from Columbus, Armstead from nearby Powell, and Stillwell from New York City. They will act as judges, speakers and mentors.

Here's what they said when asked about their experience with startups.What’s project has your immediate attention?Armstead: I’ve got two. I’m on the board of Bybe, a company that digitizes rebates from wine and spirits. And there’s SMRTSVR. It’s a 1099 worker’s tax saving plan. It automatically helps you save, and at the end of every quarter, it pays the IRS for you.Donohue: VentureOhio is working with top venture capitalists from across the state to create and publish the Watchlist – Ohio's 50 most promising startups of 2018. The goal of this list is to highlight the caliber of companies being built across the state in an effort to attract talent and capital to the region.Manges: We've seen an incredible response to Root in the 20 states that we're currently in. Root is now a top 50 Finance app on both iOS and Android, with a 4.8-star rating in the iOS App Store. We're working hard on making Root available nationally.Stillwell: I’m currently working with a robotic startup, Artmatr. It’s focused on disrupting the printing industry with 2D printing. The community of artists and engineers working at Artmatr are merging digital technology with traditional painting methods.Why did you agree to be part of Mansfield's Startup Weekend?Armstead: I truly believe great companies can start anywhere. They can start right there in Mansfield. If they are surrounded with support, anything is possible. That’s why I continue to give back and participate in these kinds of things – it’s one of my greatest joys.Donohue: I grew up here and know that Mansfield is full of talented and creative people. I can't wait to see what the groups come up with over the weekend.Manges: I grew up in the Mansfield area and want to help support local entrepreneurs who are working on creating new companies and products.Stillwell: I believe Mansfield has untapped potential for fostering great talent, and Startup Week is a good platform to begin that process. I’m happy to be a part of it.

What impact have you seen Startup Weekend have on other communities?Armstead: I think Startup Weekend helps build a community of entrepreneurs, designers, hustlers and other people who are experimenting with startups. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, network, come up with ideas. It’s rare, but companies do come out of this. But at the same time, the odds of failure with any startups are extremely high.Along with other events, it’s a great step towards Mansfield building a stronger startup ecosystem.Donohue: Startup week is an incredible opportunity to learn, engage with your community, make friends and meet potential co-founders. The ripple effect that Startup Weekend Columbus has had on the community has been incredible - there is a strong bond between participants that lasts.The intent of startup weekend is to learn, meet like-minded people and improve the entrepreneurial culture of your city. However, a few promising companies have been born out of Startup Weekend, including RapChat, born out of Startup Weekend Athens. RapChat has gone on to raise $1.7 million.Manges: Startup Weekend in Columbus is a great initiative to help provide entrepreneurs with support in launching new ventures. I'm hoping that we can create similar momentum in Mansfield.Stillwell: I have spoken and judged many types of Startup Weekends. Startup Weekend is a great place to inspire and encourage entrepreneurs to continue to dream and find other entrepreneurs that they can borrow, build, and share with. It’s a great place for leaning, collaborating, and being inspired.

Read more: Former Braintree tenant Dan Manges is among prominent entrepreneurs returning to Mansfield for Startup Weekend URL: http://www.richlandsource.com/business/locally-raised-entrepreneurs-will-return-home-for-mansfield-s-startup/article_372dcf38-a48c-11e8-8e1b-1b8173ba1b0f.html