Commentary: I Couldn’t Stay Retired

By Jim Cossler

The Youngstown Business Incubator is always looking for its next startup. We are always driven to be as helpful and resourceful for our founders as possible. And best of all, our work with our startups is always held in the strictest of confidence and delivered without cost.

I’ll get back to startups because they are so much easier, with our help, than you might imagine. But, for now, a couple of recent changes at YBI.

First, I’m back at YBI. After taking six weeks off, I decided that retirement isn’t for me. So, I’m back, on a part-time basis, focused exclusively on coaching our founders to a successful launch and scaling of their startup ventures. The same as I have done for the past 23 years.

And, I have a new boss as well. His name is Corey Patrick. And if you have not met him, I’d like to introduce you to this remarkable young man.

Corey is one of the brightest and most talented persons I have ever worked with.  I first met him when he was an undergraduate at Youngstown State University, at the Williamson College of Business Administration, where he majored in finance and marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship. There he was president of Enactus, the YSU student entrepreneurship organization, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma, Student Government Association, Emerging Leaders Program, WCBA Student Leadership Council, YSU IGNITE, and Students in Nonprofit Leadership. To top off his academic career, Corey was in the first class of Monus Fellows, the highest level and most competitive internship program offered to YSU by YBI.  

Corey, even when still in school, has been active in the greater community as well. He has served as an adviser for the youth group at St. Joseph’s Church in Austintown and has volunteered his time with Inspiring Minds Youngstown. Corey also currently serves as president of The Walnut Grove, a therapeutic playground for individuals and families with special needs that he has been deeply involved with from its inception.

In 2019, Corey’s work in our community was recognized when he was named a H.O.P.E. Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.

Upon graduation from YSU in 2016, Corey became YBI’s first director of marketing and communications, a perfect position for him given his academic training and the impressive number of certifications he has earned outside of YSU in key digital, social media, and software platforms.

Recently, Corey was promoted to director of the entrepreneurial services program at YBI. Here he acts as the lead startup adviser to our new and early-stage companies. He also directs the five part-time entrepreneurs in residence who are available to assist YBI portfolio companies when their specific skills are needed. As one of those entrepreneurs in residence, I report to Corey. Life really does come full circle sometimes.

Now back to startups. Your startup. Seriously. The one that you don’t even know about yet.

Having done this for over 20 years, I’m convinced that almost everyone has the ability to start a successful business. They just don’t know how. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know what steps they need to complete and in what order. They don’t know about the resources, services, and assistance organizations that are readily available to help. That’s where YBI comes into play. We know all those things and are ready to share them with you.

Maybe you would like to have a startup of your own but just can’t think of the right idea. That’s fine. We hear this all the time. YBI has developed its own ideation methodology that can help you uncover very promising ideas that were previously invisible to you.

Maybe you have an idea, but are uncertain if there is a large enough market for it to create a profitable and successful business. We’ve got you covered. YBI can teach you simple market verification and customer discovery techniques to gain you that exact information.

Maybe you don’t think you have the requisite skills or education to be a successful founder. No problem. YBI offers, at no cost, a digital entrepreneurship education program that is as good as ones offered at many universities. And you can access it at your own time and pace.

We are here for you. We have an unbelievably extensive range of services and resources. They are yours for the asking. And we truly want to help. Give us a call today. Even if you’re not sure. Just make the call. Tell us you want to “start.” We’ll take it from there.