Flashstarts And Global Cleveland Announced Strategic Partnership

Cleveland, Ohio - Flashstarts, a startup accelerator and venture fund focused on unique and disruptive uses of software and technology, today announced a new strategic partnership with Global Cleveland. The partnership will combine Flashstarts’ expertise in startup and innovation with Global Cleveland’s interest in having more talented global entrepreneurs succeed in Cleveland, and to deliver solutions for international entrepreneurs who are struggling with their immigration status.

The partnership between Flashstarts and Global Cleveland will mark the beginning of partnerships of regional organizations and universities with Flashstarts who come together for the same mission: bring and support world-changing startups through enabling immigrant founders to locate in the Northeast Ohio. The new partnership will be a stepping stone for setting up a Flashstarts Global Entrepreneur-In-Residence (GEIR) program with local universities in Northeast Ohio. 

International entrepreneurs who are interested in Flashstarts Global EIR program in NEO will first apply to the program through Flashstarts. Through a competitive selection process, successful applicants will be selected and form a collaborative partnership with a partner university in exchange for a cap-exempt H-1B visa pathway. International Entrepreneurs will work on campus for 20 hours per week to serve school’s mission, while the remaining 20 hours per week they will work on their startups.

Jessica Whale, Global Cleveland’s Director of Global Talent and Economic Development, says “partnering with Flashstarts to bring more global talent to Cleveland and help more immigrant entrepreneurs grow their businesses will be very beneficial to our community. While Global Cleveland seeks to help talented immigrants thrive in the region, given current immigration policy, getting proper visa status can be challenging. This program aligns perfectly with Global Cleveland’s vision of transforming Cleveland into an international hub of innovation.”

“As we expand our startup accelerator program, we want to attract more innovative ideas from all around the globe. This program will allow us to draw talent from anywhere in the world” said the CEO of Flashstarts, Charles Stack. Flashstarts has expanded it’s global presence each year and had two startups from outside of U.S. last summer in its new Lab Program. 



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. For more information, visitwww.flashstarts.com  or follow@Flashstarts on Twitter.

About Global Cleveland

Global Cleveland is a nonprofit organization that welcomes and connects international newcomers to social and economic opportunities in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Global Cleveland views engaging immigrants as an ingredient of regional economic development and is positioned to catalyze and launch efforts that will help attract newcomers to the region and support those that are already here. You can learn more about Global Cleveland atglobalcleveland.orgor follow @GlobalCleveland on Twitter.

Jergens Shanghai Creates Access for Northeast Ohio Companies to Expand into China

Recently, Global Cleveland spent time with the team at Jergens, Inc. to learn more about their innovative approach to connecting Northeast Ohio to international business opportunities. Bryon Shafer, General Manager of ASG and Jergens Shanghai, oversees the ASG Division of Jergens, Inc. and has operational responsibility for their wholly owned foreign enterprise (WOFE), Jergens Shanghai Commercial Co., Ltd. In our conversation, Bryon shares more details on how Northeast Ohio companies can partner with Jergens to break into the Chinese market:

What are some of the legal aspects that Jergens has gone through in opening an office in Shanghai? Were any aspects of this process unexpected or more difficult than planned?

Our WOFE in China was established in 2006 to grow market share of the Jergens brands into the Chinese market. In 10 years, our business model has grown and evolved to include other US mid-market industrial product manufacturers, providing them access to a proven platform to introduce their brands into the Chinese market.

Compliance is one of our top priorities in China. More specifically, ensuring all our HR and related social benefits for staff are handled properly, as well as customs and other regulations associated with doing business in China. (pricing, invoicing, tax, A/R, A/P, etc.)Compliance is also one of the core commitments we make to partners giving them the comfort of knowing we’re handling the operations correctly, so they can focus on growing their brand in China.

How was the decision made to locate in Shanghai?

Shanghai is the commercial hub of China, centrally located on the East coast, with easy access to ports and commercial flights from the USA. Our first few offices in Shanghai were located in the financial district of PuDong.

Prior to establishing the Jergens WOFE, our first staff were hired in Shanghai through AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology) and it was a natural progression to establish our first office in Shanghai. As our business grew, in 2014 we signed a long-term lease and moved to an industrial park in the Jinqiao district of PuDong, providing abundant access to office and warehouse space and the ability to expand our brands into China.

How can Cleveland area manufacturers partner with Jergens Shanghai to work in China?

Once a Cleveland area manufacturer has determined it’s time to take their brand to the Chinese market, Jergens can provide them access.

The core services available include:

  • HR & payroll
  • Accounting & finance
  • Logistics & warehousing
  • We’ll also soon be adding marketing to the lineup

Our goal is to provide partner brands with a low threshold of entry to the Chinese market that is compliant,  customizable, flexible and scalable.

What do Jergens Shanghai colleagues say about their visits to Cleveland?

Jergens Shanghai team members that have the chance to visit Jergens HQ in Cleveland are often impressed. The NBA is extremely popular in China and the Cleveland Cavaliers (and of course LeBron James) are a hit! Everyone wants tickets to a Cav’s game! Jergens hosts visits a few times a year for training, trade shows, or other special events. Of course, they prefer to visit in the spring, summer or fall months over winter.


If you or your organization would like to learn more about opportunities to partner with Jergens Shanghai, contact:

Bryon Shafer
[email protected]

International Hiring 101: Tap into New Talent Pools

Join Global Cleveland, MidTown and Health Tech Corridor for an informational session on how to grow your business and impact your hiring goals by bringing on international talent.

Did you know?

  • International students in STEM fields can work for a period of up to 3 years after graduation under OPT (optional practical training) which does not require visa sponsorship
  • Refugees come to the US with full work authorization (no sponsorship required)

With support from local refugee resettlement agencies and experts with the Refugees Services Collaborative of Cleveland (RSC), local employers are discovering a new talent pool, finding the skilled employees they need, and experiencing increased productivity. The local economy is benefiting too, with about $50 million generated by refugee resettlement and employment.

Join us to learn how your organization can benefit from tapping into these talent pools. Speakers for this session will be Erin Brown, Immigration Attorney with and Kerissa MacKay, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).

Breakfast and coffee will be provided, and seating is limited - please make sure to RSVP!

Date and Time

Fri, February 10, 2017
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM EST


Midtown Cleveland Inc
5000 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103