What is happening 
at the SBDC?


CANTON, OHIO (January 24, 2012) – The City of Canton, in conjunction with ystark! (a department of the Canton Regional Chamber) has awarded a $50,000 business grant to Jack Hooks in the first funding cycle of the Canton Entrepreneur Launch program.

The new program, conceived and launched last year with help from JumpStart Inc., provides grants to entrepreneurs who plan to locate new, high growth business ventures in the City of Canton. More than 60 applications were received for the very competitive inaugural funding cycle, and four finalists were invited to a formal presentation. After careful consideration and review by the Canton Entrepreneur Launch commission, entrepreneur Karl Beitzel's company, Jack Hooks, was selected for grant funding.

Canton Entrepreneur Launch is designed to create organic business growth by providing grants to start-up businesses that have the potential to attract additional growth capital, create substantial economic impact and develop job opportunities within the Canton community.

"We were thrilled to receive so much interest and to see such a healthy entrepreneurial spark in our region," said Mayor William J. Healy II. "This year we wanted to make a significant investment that could take a business to the next level. We believe that Jack Hooks can use this money to make great progress in their venture."

Jack Hooks manufactures a revolutionary series of fishing hooks for the retail consumer market that, according to Beitzel, are "are the strongest, fastest and sharpest hooks ever made." Jack Hooks' proprietary, patent-pending, knotless hook allows professional and recreational anglers alike to attach a hook to their line in fewer than five seconds.

The young company is already generating a buzz in the industry. The California Dreamin’ Series hooks were designed in collaboration with a veteran tournament angler, Marc Beyers of Norco, Calif., to meet the high demands of professional anglers in tournament competition. BassMaster's Elite Series Professional Angler Keith Poche has signed a one-year endorsement agreement with Jack Hooks and will use the Jack Hooks California Dreamin’ Series in the Bassmaster Classic tournament, held in Louisiana from Feb. 24 through 26, when he competes head to head with the world's best Pro Anglers for the 2012 Season Championship.

Jack Hooks is now in the process of establishing a North American sales distribution network. Operations and production will be located in Canton.

“This is my hometown and I am committed to creating jobs and value in the local economy," said Beitzel. "Growing new industry helps to keep a community healthy, and I hope Jack Hooks will contribute to that trend." 

The company plans to use the Canton Entrepreneur Launch grant to support an assembly operation in Canton, develop additional product inventory, and obtain basic marketing support to build up its operations until they are capable of perpetuating self-sustainable sales. Starting modestly with a handful of staffers, the company hopes to grow to 75 average-wage employees over the next five years.

Those companies who did not receive funding in this application cycle will have access to additional assistance. "We are partnering with Victor Pavona and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to ensure that all applicants receive necessary business support and advisory services," said Derek Gordon, assistant safety/service director for the City of Canton. "The SBDC will continue to remain an active partner as we move forward, supporting the program by providing needed connections and continued counseling, not only to Jack Hooks, but to other applicants of the Canton Entrepreneur Launch program."

The Canton Entrepreneur Launch program will begin a second round of funding later this year, and details about the next round of funding will be available online at CantonLaunch.org.

All applicants also have access to the Canton Entrepreneur Launch's partner, the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, a connected group of regional entrepreneur support organizations offering space, capital and connections to entrepreneurs across 21 counties of Northeast Ohio.

Holly Bolinger, Susan Lucas, Lance Lucas
Holly Bolinger and Tiffaney Craney
Tiffaney Craney and Tom Queen,community relations coordinator for  congressman James Renacci
On December 3, 2013 the SBDC honored one of their successful clients at a recognition luncheon in conjunction with SCORE.  The event was well attended and special thanks were given to the local sponsors who help make our programming possible.   Honored this year were  Kathy and Brian Jeffers from Pheasant View Dairy Goats.


    Kathy and Brian Jeffers

Pheasant View Dairy Goats, Marlboro Township, Ohio

Pheasant View Dairy Goats was started by Kathy Jeffers in 2007 with two goats and has grown to a herd of more than 25.  Client uses the milk from her goats to create soaps, lotions, and fudge which were initially sold via farmer’s markets and the internet.  This has expanded into a store and production area within the Hartville Marketplace and an increased variety of soap scents.  Despite a large setback last year when a pit bull attacked and killed several of their animals, the business has bounced back, continues to grow, and has garnered a large following.  The Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is proud to have provided on-going support and encouragement to the business and looks forward to the great things yet to come.  
                                                      January 27, 2014

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program
Jay Fernandez, Business Service Director, Cuyahoga Community College
Al Lucarelli, Lead Faculty, Cuyahoga Community College
Joe Jackson, Business Advisor, Cuyahoga Community College
Pat Grospiron, Director, JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network
Victor Pavona, Director, Small Business Development Center

Scholar Panel:
Lisa Teague, Akron Thermographics
Jesse Caver, Caver Brothers Construction
Kirby Freeman, Office of Development of the City of Canton

Goldman Sachs

The 10,000 Small Businesses initiative is designed for established businesses that need resources to grow.  Applicants must be the owner or co-owner of a business that meets the following criteria:  

       *In operation for at least two years
       *Revenues between $150,000 and $4.0
         million in the most recent fiscal year
       *A minimum of four employees

The curriculum focuses on skills that can immediately be applied by business owners including accounting, negotiating, marketing and human resources management.  Businesses also receive one-on-one business counseling from a dedicated advisor, and each participant graduates from the program with a growth plan developed specifically for his or her business.  

Stark Entrepreneurship Alliance (SEA)

The SEA is a virtual network to assist start-up, early-stage and small/medium-sized companies in the Stark County, OH area.  

Our goal is to be a single point of entry for companies seeking assistance in their formation, growth and sustained viability.  The alliance provides assistance in all aspects of creating and growing a business including business consulting, recruiting management, financing, real estate, product innovation, mentoring and coaching, legal and accounting, and more.  

What makes us different from similar programs is that we have the willingness, experience and resources to assist more complex start-ups involving technology, capital investments and national or global sales opportunities.  

Al Lucarelli
Pat Grospiron
Lisa Teague, Akron Thermographics
Kirby Freeman, Office of Development of the City of Canton
Jesse Caver, Caver Brothers Construction
Jay Fernandez.
Joe Jackson
                              Tiffany Craney
Dragonfly Tea Room and Gift Shop, Canal Fulton, OH
     Susan and Lance Lucas
    Copy Cat Graphics, Massillon, Ohio

On November 29, 2011, the SBDC honored two of its successful clients at a recognition luncheon in conjunction with SCORE. The event was well attended and special thanks were given to the local sponsors who help make our programming possible. Honored this year were Susan and Lance Lucas of Copy Cat Graphics and Tiffany Craney of the Dragonfly Tea Room and Gift Shop
Susan and Lance Lucas were highly motivated to start a one stop graphic design and digital printing business when they approached the Small Business Development Center. Susan had considerable experience as a graphic artist while Lance, a home-town boy, had worked in the printing industry since his days at Tuslaw High School and R G Drage. The business planning process occurred very quickly and in February of 2011, the business opened its doors providing two new jobs to Perry Township. Since that time, the business has grown quickly and has easily surpassed its first year projections
.​When Tiffany first approached the SBDC, she was a tea enthusiast who wanted to bring an eclectic tea room into the area. She spent a year working with us to complete a well defined business plan and on June 1st took the leap into business ownership. Her firm, The Dragonfly Tea Room and Gift Shop has brought seven new jobs into the area. This delightful shop is nestled in the heart of Canal Fulton, and is decorated in a light and airy English garden theme. It also offers a fairy garden room for children’s parties and other special events. To date the business has been well received by the surrounding communities and the tourism industry.
 2014 Clients of the Year
Krista Gesaman
Aeration Septic, Inc. 
Canal Fulton, Ohio
Angie Giltner, Empower Training & Assessment Company, LLC 
Wooster, Ohio
We first met Krista and her mother, Candice, at one of our Small Business Seminars.
Then, we met again during an initial counseling session relating to a family business.  Later, Krista, requested individual counseling as an investor and participating partner in a small business acquisition.  Now, following the full acquisition of the business, she is President and Owner of Aeration Septic, Inc. 

Dating back to Krista’s initial involvement; and, not unlike most small businesses; Aeration Septic needed to increase sales, address management and employee responsibilities and establish financial controls. Krista addressed those needs by prioritizing the business’ direction, streamlined the management functions, reaffirmed the field service staff and took responsibility for day-to-day operations.  

More specifically, she developed a plan that increased sales revenue from the core residential business and then added staff to generate and support the potential of new business from the commercial/industrial market. In addition, she changed or reassigned personnel when necessary and appropriately.  Furthermore, Krista has been adept at managing and changing the culture of her business. Never an easy task. However, she did it by promptly and candidly addressing all matters with management, employees, suppliers and customers. 

Empower Training & Assessment Company, LLC is a consulting firm devoted to developing human and organizational potential. Its founder, Angie Giltner is a licensed social worker, licensed chemical dependency counselor, and holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. These skills give Angie a unique perspective on human interaction within an organization making her a top notch consultant. To date, Angie has trained thousands of professionals and organizations in specialized areas spanning all levels of leadership development, business ethics, and team building. Empower has experienced rapid growth is now expanding into new geographic markets, including Stark County. In addition, Empower has partnered with Kent State to provide learning opportunities for students in the Management and Information Systems degree track. The SBDC is proud to salute Empower Training and Assessment Company, LLC and its founder, Angie Giltner for the great work they are performing. 

There were over 90 people in attendance for the The Canton Regional Chapter of SCORE and the Small Business Development Center Annual Recognition Luncheon, on December 6th, 2014. 
On December 3, 2014 the SBDC honored one of their successful clients at a recognition luncheon in conjunction with SCORE. The event was well attended and special thanks were given to the local sponsors who help make our programming possible.

HomeContact UsAbout UsMeet the StaffHelpful LinksEntrepreneur Experience
Past EventsSEA Speaker SeriesStudent Scholarship 

Small Business Development Center 
2015 Client of the Year
The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and SCORE hosted a recognition luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, at Kent State University at Stark to honor the owners of four small businesses that have been successfully launched in Stark County. Each of the businesses has received guidance from an SBDC counselor or SCORE volunteer. 

Mark Dowd, Paul Hugenberg, J. Richard Iler

InfoGPS Networks, Inc. is a software company that targets highly regulated industries required to manage the risks associated with collecting non-public information. InfoGPS' "Information Governance Software", at its most basic level, views, tracks, monitors and classifies data in real time for businesses and organizations of all sizes within various market segments.

Pat Grospiron 
 2016 Client of the Year
​What started out as a personal fitness journey and workouts with friends in a local park has turned into a very successful small business for Theresa Carson.  With the assistance of the Small Business Development Center, Carson has grown from teaching four ReZist fitness method classes a week at the personal gym to 28 studio and corporate classes per week at three locations.  She is no longer the only instructor, now employeing 15 part-tiem instructors. 
Theresa Carson
The Ohio Small Business Development Center and SCORE hosted a recognition luncheon on December 6, 2016, at Kent State Universtiy at Stark to honor the owners of four small businesses that have been launched in the area,  Each of the businesses has received guidence from an SBDC counselor or SCORE volunteer.  The event was well attended with over 100 guests. 

     InfoGPS Networks, Inc., located in North Canton, Ohio 


Jay Fernandez