Frequently Asked Questions
Scalerator is a proven program for entrepreneurs and leaders who want to deliver immediate growth into their business and are open to learning new ways to do so. The Scalerator curriculum focuses business leaders on the 3 Cs of growth – Customers, Capacity and Cash – and is led by faculty primarily from Babson College. Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation brought Scalerator to Northeast Ohio in 2017 to accelerate the growth of companies with sales revenues of roughly $5M and $15M from any industry.
Scalerator NEO is a six-month cohort-based educational program that provides practical sales and marketing, organizational development and entrepreneurial finance skills.
Who developed the Scalerator? Professor Dan Isenberg, founding director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Platform, along with Professor Vini Onyemah and the Scalerator team, have been developing and running the Scalerator since 2009. Dan is or has been a professor at Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and Babson Executive Education (the nation’s top provider of entrepreneurship education), is an active investor in over 20 ventures in , author, and a globally recognized authority on entrepreneurship. More than 180 companies have gone through the Scalerator curriculum. (Scalerator is a registered ® trademark of Daniel Isenberg, used with permission).
What kind of companies should apply to be in Scalerator NEO? Highly-motivated and ambitious entrepreneurs that operate companies with roughly $5M and $15M in sales, are motivated to aggressively grow their business, and are able to scale their business. Companies from all sectors are encouraged to apply. A diverse cohort of companies makes for a more successful Scalerator experience.
Do companies have to be located in Northeast Ohio to be eligible? Yes.
Who brought Scalerator to Northeast Ohio? Scalerator NEO is supported by a collaboration of Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation, two foundations committed to supporting entrepreneurship and free enterprise in NEO. The foundations have retained EDGE, a non-profit organization that helps mid-sized companies grow, to help them administer the Scalerator NEO program.
Why are the foundations supporting Scalerator NEO? Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation are covering all of the costs of the inaugural class of Scalerator NEO to demonstrate that Northeast Ohio is rich in high-growth potential companies and that growth can be unleashed through education. The foundations champion the entrepreneurial spirit, and rapidly growing companies, like those that will emerge from the Scalerator NEO, embody that spirit and improve their communities by creating economic growth and opportunity.
How does Scalerator NEO fit with other economic development efforts in the region? Scalerator NEO is a valuable addition to the services that are offered to established, growing enterprises in our region. Several economic development organizations are working to help companies “scale-up” for growth. Those organizations are helping identify candidates for Scalerator NEO. The foundations expect Scalerator NEO will become a valued part of the ecosystem that is strengthening Northeast Ohio’s reputation as a vibrant region full of the entrepreneurial spirit.
How is Scalerator NEO different from services offered by JumpStart, MAGNET or other economic development programs? Northeast Ohio has a number of strong programs that offer consulting services to entrepreneurs eager to accelerate their growth. Scalerator NEO complements those programs by offering highly-motivated entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn practical skills with a small, select group of peers. The cohort learning environment is proven to stimulate new growth strategies and to inspire entrepreneurs to aggressively grow their businesses. Multiple economic development groups have rallied behind this this concept and are part of the team that is working to identify this first cohort. The inaugural class will be free to participating companies.
How is Scalerator NEO different from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses? Both educational programs benefit from the world-class entrepreneurial education talent at Babson College, but the programs have distinct curriculum and serve different sizes of companies. The 10,000 Small Businesses program targets companies between $150K to $4M in sales revenue. Scalerator NEO is specifically designed to help companies with $5M to $15M in sales grow.
What does the program cost? There is no cost for the companies at this time. Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation are collaborating to support Scalerator NEO to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in Northeast Ohio.
How can companies apply? Complete the short application at Apply Now.
How will companies be chosen? A Selection Committee made up of regional business leaders and Scalerator faculty will evaluate the applications, conduct interviews and select the companies.
How many companies will be chosen for each cohort? The Selection Committee will select a diverse group of about 15 to 20 growth-minded business leaders.
Is Scalerator NEO looking for companies from specific industries or sectors? No. All types of businesses that meet the revenue criteria, have the ability to scale and are run by business leaders and owners that are committed to growth will be considered.
Are there other criteria beyond revenue that will be used to pick the class? The Selection Committee will be looking for highly-motivated entrepreneurs and leaders committed to accelerating their company’s growth. A diverse class of entrepreneurs eager to learn with others will enhance the value of the program. The primary leader with significant equity stake in the company will need to commit to attending all of the workshops, engaging members of their leadership team in individual workshops, and attending peer-to-peer meetings between each session. In addition, participating companies need to be able to scale their growth (rather than simply grow by acquisition or one customer at a time.)
When will the selections be made? Interviews will occur on a rolling basis, and the Selection Committee will accept qualified companies on an ongoing basis with final decisions made by March.
When will the Scalerator NEO workshops begin? April (annually).
Where will the Scalerator NEO workshops be held? For 2020: Bounce Innovation Hub, Akron, OH
When will the Scalerator workshops be held? For 2020: April 16-17, May 12-13, June 11-12, July 8-9, August 6-7, September 1-2, October 1-2 (2 full days; finale)
Questions potential companies might ask:
Can the Scalerator really help a company grow? The Scalerator curriculum has proven to help companies from diverse industries and sectors grow -- many increasing 25% or more following the program. In the first Scalerator NEO cohort, of the 16 companies that started the program, 9 were manufacturing, 5 were service-related, and 3 were software or computer-solutions-related. Visit For Prospective Company to see some of the testimonials from entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Scalerator program.
Who attends the workshops? The owner / CEO of the business commits to attend each of the workshops. Appropriate members of the company’s executive team may accompany the owner at specific workshops. For example, the company’s top sales executive may be encouraged to attend workshops focused on sales strategies.
Where has the Scalerator program been used and proven? Well over 200 companies have participated in and benefited from the Scalerator program in NE Ohio as well as in Milwaukee, Colombia, UK and South Korea.
What kind of companies will be in the program? One of the proven benefits of the Scalerator program is that entrepreneurs benefit from learning from their contemporaries in diverse industries. The Selection Committee will choose a diverse class of companies to maximize the value of the program for the participants.
Who is teaching the classes? Scalerator NEO is taught primarily by faculty form Babson College. Dan Isenberg, founding director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, developed the curriculum and selects the faculty. Dan is a former entrepreneur and investor as well as a professor at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and Columbia University Business School. Babson College is ranked as the nation’s top provider of entrepreneurship education.
To Apply: Go to Apply Now to complete a short application.