Tech Czar: In a rural setting, startups are nurtured by Braintree

June 11, 2017
by Michael DeAloia, special to the Plain Dealer

Sometimes the best startups can be found in the most unusual places. There's a great bastion of entrepreneurial spirit in the hinterlands of Ohio and that's where one particular tech company is solving a staffing problem in the medical field.Michael C. DeAloia (Courtesy photo)Startups in the Hinterland. When one typically thinks of Mansfield, entrepreneurship does not immediately come to mind. It's a Rust Belt city with a rural economy. But as Bob Cohen, executive director of Braintree will quickly note, "The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Mansfield."Braintree is a regional non-profit incubator and citadel of entrepreneurial thought. Cohen became executive director in 2004 and has grown the footprint, relevance and influence of the organization.The organization was launched 30 years ago in an abandoned grocery warehouse on the outskirts of town. It was a joint project of the City of Mansfield and Richland County as a way to spark entrepreneurialism. Since its inception, the incubator has helped more than 100 startup companies, and focuses on advanced manufacturing, alternative energy, IT, bioscience and agriculture. Braintree has expanded from its humble origins in Mansfield to now include Canton, as well.

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