Cincinnati’s entrepreneurial community just got more tightly knit. On Wednesday, Union Hall was officially opened for business. Union Hall will house three of the city’s most influential actors in the startup space: The Brandery – a top-10 ranked accelerator; Cintrifuse – an organization committed to helping startups find and manage connections, Cintrifuse also operated a large fund; CincyTech – an early stage fund.
The Union Hall project began way back in 2013, and fits perfectly into the sense of community that all three organizations have been championing. Across the U.S., and the world for that matter, startup and small business ecosystems claim to be working for the betterment of their local community, and the betterment of society. This is not to say that they are not, but rather that Cincinnati may be the community that has done this the best. It is not just one entity doing all the work, though the revitalization movement was kicked off by one organization. Here is what we wrote about it earlier this year:
In 2004, one of the main drivers of Cincinnati’s revitalization – 3CDC (Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation) – began to pour what would amount to well over $700m into revitalizing the city’s Over the Rhine (OTR) district. Prior to these investments, and even well into the cycle, the OTR district was one of if not the most economically depressed inner city regions in the whole country. This was the spark that really ignited the whole community. Since this initial investment, Cincinnati has become a major innovation hot spot.1
Union Hall is just the latest in a long line of initiatives led by the Cincinnati entrepreneurial community. While, indeed, Union Hall will provide some real value to the community, it is almost more useful as a lighthouse, of-sorts, signaling the growth and health of the community. CincyTech CEO Bob Coy told Cincinnati Business Courier Reporter Andy Brownfield as much:
I think the building is symbolic of how far our region has advanced in its support for entrepreneurship…There’s innovation across the region, but it’s important for regions to have a symbol others can point to as evidence of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.2