Cleveland Healthcare Has Venture Feel

Posted on May 22, 2010


In its future-gazing “Fast Cities 2010” profile, Fast Company provides a nod to Cleveland’s healthcare heavyweights—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Summa Health System—and Case Western Reserve University for helping establish BioEnterprise. BioEnterprise is what many mid-sized cities (the Baltimores, the Charlottes, the Denvers) covet: a legitimate start-up incubator; in this case, for healthcare. Incubators, which lead to innovation hotspots and beget biotech corridors, are support networks that feed entrepreneurial ventures through industry expertise, relevant research and access to capital.  Those three items, along with a talent-rich workforce, are the recipe for technology start-ups and a homegrown, self-fertilizing economy.

Entrepreneurial ventures have a way of feeding off themselves. As author Richard Florida discusses in his research on The Creative Class, talent is divergent—becoming more concentrated in a few areas, not evenly spread out across the nation. Smart creative people want to work with and gravitate toward smart creative people. Just as Nashville is the mecca of for-profit healthcare systems, Cleveland is making a name for itself as a launching pad for fledgling healthcare companies.  People who are interested in that will head there to see if they have the magic to add to the BioEnterprise’s 100+ companies and tap the $1 billion in funding.

More importantly for Cleveland, a venture capital (VC) business has sprung up to support the healthcare market. Venture capital follows opportunity and as of late, the hot spots for VC money were places like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin and Boston. Also in the write-up, I am intrigued with what is described as the “Medical Market & Convention Center”, a structure set to break ground later this year. The architect in me wonders what such a thing is, how it functions, and what it might look like as the local symbol for healthcare innovation.

In the May issue, Fast Company portrays eleven other cities executing eleven other bold initiatives that the magazine feels should be embraced for future city success.