Greater Columbus Makes Progress in Strengthening Entrepreneurship

Staff Report From Columbus CEO

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement in principle with Frank Braski to lead the region’s entrepreneurial work as part of the Columbus 2025 strategic plan.

As part of this agreement, Frank will assume the title of Chief Entrepreneur Officer with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and will lead the day-to-day activities to accomplish the entrepreneurial goals set forth in Columbus 2025. In addition to his work at ColumbusMakesIT, Braski also created the RiverCity Foundry, a StartUp Business Accelerator program, and STEAMuL8!, the celebration of brilliance, both of which encourage entrepreneurial innovation and creative geek culture through MeetUps, hackathons, StartUp Weekends, robotics competitions and drone racing.  Frank has also held numerous leadership positions in technology and innovation at both regional and international financial and technology companies, including Aflac, Synovus, TSYS and IBM.

The Enterprising Culture Action Area is one of five strategies detailed in the plan that have the greatest potential to make meaningful, positive change in the region over the next decade and beyond. It is chaired by Russ Carreker, CEO of Day 6 Outdoors and Chair of the Development Authority of Columbus.

“After meeting with the sub-committee chairs, it was evident that hiring a CEnO had to be our first step and that it needed to be done quickly so that the other objectives identified in the plan could be achieved in the timeframe identified in the strategy,” said Russ Carreker. Adding, “It was clear that Frank showed the most immediate promise of making substantial progress on this front based on what had been accomplished over the past three years.”

The key objectives of the Enterprising Culture Action Area include strengthening the culture of entrepreneurship in Greater Columbus and expanding resources to open pathways to entrepreneurship for all residents.  Success will be measured by increases in the percentage of workers who are self-employed, the number of employees working for firms less than five years old, and increases in incomes for business owners. 

Billy Blanchard, who serves as Chair of both the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Columbus 2025, shared Carreker’s optimism about the partnership with Braski. “We have seen significant progress on a number of fronts with the Columbus 2025 initiative, including a banner year for economic development, a refocused cradle-to-career initiative, investments in better-connected neighborhoods, and a new community brand.  With this announcement, we make significant headway in creating an entrepreneurial culture that will drive job growth in our region.”