Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program logo

BW joins first-of-its-kind program in Ohio to fuel the growth of startups by international entrepreneurs.

Pioneering Ohio partnership aims to attract global entrepreneurs

June 15, 2017

Baldwin Wallace University has joined forces with Flashstarts, a Cleveland-based startup accelerator and venture fund, to launch a first-of-its-kind program in Ohio to fuel the growth of startups by international entrepreneurs.

Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program logoBW is one of the first two academic partners to sign on to the Global Entrepreneur-In-Residence (GEIR) program, which will provide an alternative U.S. visa pathway for talented international entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create jobs in Northeast Ohio.

At the same time, these global business innovators will mentor and coach college students at partner schools like BW.

Serving students and startups

BW and University of Akron Research Foundation are the first two institutions to establish GEIR academic partnerships in Northeast Ohio.

A competitive selection process will identify successful applicants to the program, match them with an academic partner and provide a cap-exempt H-1B U.S. visa track. As part of the residency, entrepreneurs will divide their time between work on their partner campuses and work on their startups.

At BW, the global entrepreneurs-in-residence will align with the University’s existing international focus. "BW will look to further deepen our relationships in areas of the world where we regularly send our students for study and service abroad, such as Ghana, Zambia, Brazil, Guatemala and India," said John DiGennaro, director of strategic initiatives and library services at BW. "We are especially interested in hosting entrepreneurs that build on our growing global exchanges."

Cultivating key immigrant talent

"Our goal is to cultivate and recruit successful entrepreneurs to build startups that create jobs, wealth and knowledge in our region," said Charles Stack, CEO of Flashstarts.

A recent study by the nonpartisan National Foundation for American Policy affirms the vital role international entrepreneurs play in developing new, high-octane companies with more than half of the billion-dollar startups in the U.S. founded by at least one immigrant.

The Northeast Ohio GEIR, which is now affiliated with the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Coalition, takes inspiration from a similar, successfully tested program at the University of Massachusetts. Since 2014, UMass has

  • sponsored 28 entrepreneurs,
  • generated more than 400 jobs and
  • garnered $227 million in private investment.

Support and information

Participating startups will benefit from the resources of Flashstarts and receive support in the move to Cleveland from Global Cleveland, GEIR’s strategic partner. The program is also partially supported by the generosity of Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

Interested applicants can apply or find additional information through the Global EIR website.

Read more in Crain's Cleveland Business and on

About Flashstarts

Flashstarts is a Cleveland-based business startup accelerator, consultancy and venture fund focused on unique and innovative uses of software and technology. Startups will benefit from Flashstarts’ executive team’s deep expertise in HealthIT, SaaS and Enterprise software. Flashstarts’ rigorous 12-week summer accelerator program is powered by rapid cycles of feedback and iteration, customized guidance from dedicated coaches, and an extensive network of top-tier, experienced mentors.

About the Global EIR Coalition

Global Entrepreneur In Residence (Global EIR) enables the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs to build their businesses and create jobs in the United States. They partner with universities to connect entrepreneurs with visas and allow them to grow their companies locally through a service commitment to the local community.