Cleveland has a lot to smile about these days, and not just because the Cavaliers recently won the NBA Finals – the city's first major sports championship since 1964. Cleveland also played host to the 2016 Republican National Convention, which attracted an estimated 50,000 visitors who spent about $200 million in the city. The rental market downtown has exploded in recent years, with an occupancy rate at 97.6 percent. Partial credit for the boom goes to an expanding tech scene, a 50 percent increase in the portion of the region's college-educated millennials choosing to live in Cleveland, and the desire of many young residents to live, work, and shop downtown.
One reason for the population growth downtown may be the rise of Cleveland as a hub for startups. According to online tech educator Uncubed, groups like Jumpstart, StartMart, and Startup ScaleUp are all helping to fuel Cleveland as a popular destination for entrepreneurs. The city is so gung ho to grow its tech scene, in fact, that city officials even created the position of Tech Czar. And should you have a vision for a tech company but lack the technical chops, there are plenty of coding boot camps that can help get you up to speed. Coding boot camp reviewer Course Report highlighted Cleveland as one of its "5 Unexpected Cities for Coding Bootcamps."
If you're contemplating a move to Cleveland, rest assured you won't have any problem connecting with its tech community. Cleveland Tech Events boasts a frequently updated calendar of events, as does Nextplex, which also features listings of Cleveland startups, tech groups, funding groups, shared work spaces, and business incubators and accelerators, including LaunchHouse.
One LaunchHouse graduate is Handelabra Games. The company started as an app studio but has since evolved into a digital tabletop game studio, adapting board games for digital platforms. President Jeremy Handel returned to Cleveland after a short detour to Milwaukee with his wife while she attended grad school.
"We like it in Cleveland, our family's here, and there's a pretty vibrant startup community," says Handel. "There's an evolving ability to raise capital and there's quite a talent pool here too, with engineering as well as artistic people, which is great, especially for a game studio. There is a lot more interest and businesses downtown. We stuck our tent pole down with our office in Cleveland, and watching the rest of the world see that and take part in it is pretty cool."