Creative energy, green ideas flow at entrepreneurial center | The Columbus Dispatch
Zack Griffin probably could have continued running his business out of his home office forever.
So, too, could have Eric Zimmer.
Because both men are in the business of making companies and organizations more energy-efficient - Griffin conducting energy audits and Zimmer focusing mostly on solar- and wind-power projects - most of their work occurs on the clients' sites.
Neither needed actual office space as much as they needed a network, a collection of like-minded people who could brainstorm and collaborate on projects.
They found everything they wanted on the new "Green Integrator" floor of the four-story Dublin Entrepreneurial Center. The center, which is a high-tech incubator space for start-up companies, celebrated its first anniversary and officially opened the green floor during on open house yesterday, Earth Day.
The center houses 40 businesses, 10 already in the newly-opened green space. One of the ideas behind the new floor was that the businesses could come together for projects that would both benefit the community and gain exposure for their own companies.
Several of the businesses, for example, are voluntarily working together on ways to make Tolles Technical Center in Plain City more energy-efficient.
"These businesses are already developing green technologies that are important and strong," said Chaz Freutel, who runs the business-development company Get-U-Connected from the center and is chairman of Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman's green-business committee. "But maybe they would be even more important and even stronger with the help of someone else."
And that's exactly what Zimmer and Griffin discovered. Griffin doesn't even have
He is working with Zimmer, CEO of Tipping Point Renewable Energy, to secure a grant and develop and install solar-powered lights on a bike trail in Loudonville in Ashland County.
"This has been the perfect fit for us," Griffin said, adding that the meetings, mixers and training that happen several times a week in the center's conference rooms and open spaces are invaluable.
The center is one of the factors that helped land Dublin on the list of "Top Seven Intelligent Communities" chosen by the Intelligent Community Forum, a New York-based think tank.
Dublin was praised for being able to produce new
Lou Zacharilla, founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, visited the Dublin center earlier this year and said it was unlike incubators in many other cities.
"There is not a wall between innovators in the public and private sectors in Dublin," Zacharilla said. "You can feel the energy among the entrepreneurs working there. I witnessed collaboration of the type that can only come in a community that is dedicated to ambient entrepreneurship."