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Columbus Hosts Inaugural Ohio Entrepreneur Expo This Weekend

Tom Manning at the expo.
Nick Evans
Tom Manning at the expo.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center hums as exhibitors put the finishing touches on their booths for the three-day Ohio Entrepreneur Expo.

Tom Manning, publisher of Columbus Startup magazine, spearheaded the first-of-its-kind effort, which is pitched toward small and medium businesses looking to grow or network.

Walking through the vast space, Manning shows off areas for people interested in purchasing a franchise or established businesses. There’s an open lounge area where someone with nothing but a good idea can get advice on patents and planning, while another walkway is lined booths for companies offering various services.

Manning is a proponent of building wealth through business, as opposed to investing in the stock market or real estate.

“It’s the only one that you’re in control of,” he says.

He says Columbus is a fertile environment for entrepreneurship, but more can be done to support emerging companies.

“So we’re good at starting a businesses, we just don’t really have a whole lot of help and resources for people to grow,” he says. “And that’s kind of why I’m kind of putting this show on—is to get people connected to all the resources.”

In addition to helping existing companies, organizers are holding a competition for business pitches with $50,000 in support services to the winners.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.