Funding Location

Eligible counties are highlighted.

Funding Options

Funding Option A

  • A |  up to $50,000 awards

    Up to $50,000 A level awards help entrepreneurs validate new technologies. They’re for entrepreneurs who have an idea, but need to prove the technology works. Founders typically use the funding to develop or test a prototype, file patents, or get clinical trials started. This money needs to be matched dollar-for-dollar. After the award period ends, entrepreneurs should be ready to apply for the next funding level - the "B" level award..  This money needs to be matched dollar-for-dollar and repaid if the business is successful.

Funding Option B

  • B | up to $150,000 awards

    Up to $150,000 B level awards help entrepreneurs validate their businesses. They’re for entrepreneurs who have developed a technology, probably have a working prototype, and are now ready to test the business model they’ve created around the technology. Most often, this funding is used to acquire first customers, market test products, make key hires, and advance product testing. This money needs to be matched dollar-for-dollar and repaid if the business is successful.

What We Look For

  • We invest in scalable technology startups that can have a positive economic impact on Ohio. The most fundable startups:

    • are led by coachable entrepreneurs
    • have strong intellectual property
    • are working in large markets ($50 million +)
    • will attract follow-on investment
    • can create jobs

Funding Requirements

  • Once you receive funding, there are a few things you're required to do: 

    • provide 1:1 match
    • agree to our mentoring process
    • provide educational experiences to students at Lorain County Community College or a partner university
    • keep your business in Ohio

Sectors We Focus On

  • We invest in companies that have innovative and cutting-edge technologies in one of Ohio’s high growth industry sectors:

    • Advanced Materials
    • Aeropropulsion
    • Agribusiness
    • Fuel Cells/Energy Storage
    • Medical/Healthcare Tech
    • Sensing & Automation Tech
    • Shale
    • Situational Awareness & Surveillance
    • Software Applications
    • Solar Photovoltaics
    • Other

Counties We Invest In

  • We invest in companies that are located in or willing to relocate to one of the 88 Ohio counties

Upcoming Dates

Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio is always accepting applications. Here are the deadlines you’ll need to meet to be considered for our upcoming funding cycles.

Open Application


Financial Requirement Due


Application Deadline


Open Application


Financial Requirement Due


Application Deadline


Learn More At An Info Session

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 9:00 am / ZOOM

Thinking of applying for the Innovation Fund? Then you'll want to join us for a free Innovation Fund 101 where we explain the ins-and-outs of our application process. We'll also highlight some of the region's most effective entrepreneurial support organizations.  This is a MANDATORY REQUIREMENT for application to the fund.


  • How to apply and who is eligible
  • How the funding can be used
  • Things to know before you fill out your application
  • What to expect if you receive an award
  • Financial reporting requirements
  • Educational requirements




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Northeast Ohio Portfolio Spotlight

"Innovation Fund America played a vital role in helping us build the earliest cornerstones of our company.  They helped change our trajectory from 'good idea' to working proof of concept, to traction-building minimal viable product.  Without their early-stage mentorship and funding, we would surely not be where we are today."

Lindsay Watson, Founder of Augment Therapy

Augment Therapy is a software company that combines telerehabilitation and augmented reality to improve the delivery of pediatric physical therapy.

“ As an early stage startup we could not complete our prototype even with funds raised by  friends and family and were ready to throw in the towel. The Innovation Fund America was going to be our last chance to secure funding to validate the technology. After  a rigorous screening process, we were selected to receive the initial grant money.  It  turned out to be the moonshot that we just needed."

- Vik Ramprakash, Founder of Strctured Monitoring Products

Our product detects vital signs--heart rate and respiration rate--without contact (no wires or leads are necessary).

“The money we were awarded by the Innovation Fund allowed us to validate our technology and attract the quality investors we so desperately needed to launch this product and company.  We now stand on the verge of launching a quality product that will save lives and make night riding more enjoyable, about a year ahead of our original plan!."

- Robert Schindler, Founder of  NVeyeTech, LLC

Our product is a night vision system for vehicles. The first offering will be for motorcycles, but can be expanded to boats, ATVs, farm equipment snowmobiles, and of course automobiles. 
Other night vision systems amplify the available light or use long wave IR thermal imaging. This system does not have the problems that the other systems exhibit with on-coming headlights, hot environments or very expensive electronics. The system will be able to record the visual data like a GoPro.

“The Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio’s money allowed us to develop our product and manufacture here. And the mentorship helped us identify opportunities and effectively manage expectations with investors and customers. Paired together these things helped us immensely, especially in the early stages.”

- Chris Wentz, Founder of EveryKey

While other access control products on the market today solve one problem or another, Everykey brings it all together. Its single, wearable device replaces the plethora keys and passwords that people use today.

Meet Our Mentors

Some call them serial entrepreneurs, financial wizards, patent gurus, and business professionals. We call them dedicated individuals who help our community’s entrepreneurs succeed. They’re experts in their fields and they are here to help at every turn.

Dennis Cocco

Innovation Fund

Dennis Cocco

Innovation Fund

Dennis Cocco is the Director of the Innovation Fund and is responsible for all activities associated with screening and vetting applicants, managing the website, and collaborating with successful applicants to ensure they meet milestones and educational requirements.  Dennis previously served as Co-Director of GLIDE and was instrumental in the establishment of the Innovation Fund in 2007.  Prior to joining GLIDE/Innovation Fund, he was Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications of PolyOne Corporation, a leading global polymer services company, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. At PolyOne and its predecessor companies, Geon and BFGoodrich, he was the company spokesperson for inquiries from the news media, prospective investors and analysts. He also had responsibility for communications with government officials and legislatures to make certain the company’s views were heard regarding legislative bills that can affect the future of PolyOne employees. His more than 37-year career included product and application research and development, as well as technical service and marketing. He served various business management roles including being named Director of Marketing. His experience also includes three years with Exxon Mobile Research and Engineering, and ten years with Diamond Shamrock Dennis graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. He has authored various papers including contributions to the Encyclopedia of Packaging and the Journal of Vinyl Technology. He was a member of the SPE (Society of Plastic Engineers) Vinyl Division Technical Program Committee and served in the past as secretary and chairman. He is also an active member of the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, the National Investors Relations Institute, board member and past president of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity and current member of the board for the Great Lakes Science Center.

Jim Walborn


Jim Walborn


As Director of GLIDE, Jim is responsible for the planning, organizing and directing of all GLIDE activities.  Jim's responsibilities include managing support services for entrepreneurs, including first level assessments, a comprehensive resource network, and providing business advisory services to companies.

Jim was Co-Founder of Banyan Technology, North America's leading innovator of live carrier and API connectivity for transportation management.  At Banyan, Jim served as CEO and CCO of a high growth software as a service (SaaS) model company.

A native of Northeast Ohio, Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ashland University.  He has been very active in the non-profit community serving on many boards including Leadership Lorain County, Lorain County Community Action Agency (LCCCA), and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Russ Donda


Russ Donda


Currently serving as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for medical device and biosensor technologies at GLIDE and JumpStart, Russell Donda has more than 25 years of management experience at both executive and entrepreneurial levels. As an EIR, he helps company founders assess the commercial feasibility of their technology; with that feasibility confirmed, he assists in creating and implementing their development plan and ushers them through the local seed funds. Among other projects, Russ was the founding CEO and chairman of the board for ViewRay Incorporated, (, a company developing a novel form of radiation therapy. It was subsequently venture funded by Aisling Capital, Fidelity Biosciences, Kearny Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors and Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) GmbH. Russ was a founding member of and co-chair of investment review for the Emergent Growth Fund, LLC (, an angel investment fund focused on technology businesses. Additionally, he was a founding manager of and spearheaded business development for the allograft implant company, Regeneration Technologies, a privately held, for-profit spinout of The University of Florida Orthopedic Tissue Bank which went public (

Robert Sopko

Youngstown Business Incubator

Robert Sopko

Youngstown Business Incubator

 Bob assists growing high tech startups as an EIR at YBI and JumpStart.

Northeast Ohio News

Our portfolio companies are making headlines. Read the latest news on all our current and former entrepreneurs and their businesses.


Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio was founded by the Lorain County Community College Foundation in 2007 to fill the capital needs of Northeast Ohio startups at the earliest stage of development. We think like investors, but our return on investment is a little different. We support startups so they can impact our economy and inspire future innovators.  


Northeast Ohio Vital Statistics

For more than a decade, Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio has been bridging the gap between great ideas and successful companies. And much like the businesses we help create, numbers define our success. This is what we, along with the companies we invest in, have been able to accomplish.

In Funding