Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply?
The competition is open to any entrepreneur or small business with an innovative idea in the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio, including:
Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, and Wayne.
I applied last year. Can I apply again?
Yes, but please make sure to highlight any new changes to your product or business that will make your application even more exciting last year.
What are the judging criteria?
Each project will be evaluated for fit with MAGNET's existing services (including operations, employee development, product development, process innovation, quality management, sales and marketing, and talent pipeline) as well as feasibility, economic impact, and potential for job creation.
What types of submissions are you looking for?
Any product or process improvement in manufacturing is welcome. If you can touch and feel it (and it's new to the marketplace), your product is eligible to apply. Winning submissions will be a good fit for MAGNET's existing consulting and engineering services, and lead to economic growth and job creation here in Northeast Ohio.
What do you mean by "subsidized project"?
MAGNET is looking to help companies make their product ideas a reality, and we know that often requires prototyping, 3D printing, designing for manufacturing, growth consulting, quality management, sales and marketing support, and more. MAGNET has expertise - on staff and in our network - in all of these areas. But these projects have a cost; for example, creating a prototype can run $10,000, or launching a website for your product can go for $5000. For winners of [M]SPIRE, MAGNET will subsidize these specific projects and leverage its considerable resources to do them in an affordable, efficient manner that will make a tangible difference for your business.
What's the overall timeline?
- Monday, May 1 - Online application opens
- Thursday, June 1 (12:00 PM) - Application period closes and initial evaluation begins
- Thursday, June 15 - Initial evaluation ends; finalists invited for discussions with panel of experts
- July 1 through July 15 - Conversations with finalists
- Monday, July 31 - Winners announced