Ice Cream Innovation

“We couldn’t wait to taste them, and we popped them in our mouth at 250 below zero.”

Curt Jones, founder and president of Dippin’ Dots Inc., describes the first time he created what later became a distinctive form of novelty ice cream — served in the form of tiny beads created by a unique nitrogen freezing process — in 1987.

“Dots” have since become a favorite, particularly among children, at sporting events and amusement parks in the Tristate and throughout the nation.

Jones addressed area entrepreneurs at the EO Cincinnati Surge event in November. The event was hosted at the Phoenix downtown by the Cincinnati chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, an international peer-to-peer entrepreneurial community.

Sporting the tagline “creating an entrepreneurial wave of growth,” the event consisted of several workshops led by area experts and culminated with Jones’ keynote address. Jones, who grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois and founded his company in a 24-square-foot garage in Paducah, Ky., shared many insights into how he created his product and grew his company.

A few things he’s learned about along the way: establishing the correct market niche, guarding intellectual property … and storing his ice cream at a more reasonable 30 degrees below zero.

— Lindsay Kottmann

High Schools

Making Waves

In a town preoccupied with high school football match-ups, one sport is changing the tides at Cincinnati Country Day School: rowing.

With the oldest rowing program in the Tristate and a coach from the Mexican national rowing team, CCD has graduated rowers who have gone on to win college championships, and some grads have even qualified for the U.S. national team.

Pedro Palacios, the team’s varsity coach and owner of No Limits Rowing, a training service for rowers that operates out of a gym in the East End, is confident this will be a season to remember.

Last year, the CCD rowing team won the Men’s Junior Double and Women’s Junior Four at the Scholastic Rowing Championship in New Jersey. They went on to place four boats at the USRowing Youth National Championships, including another win for the Women’s Junior Four.

“A pretty small program qualifying four boats to nationals is very successful,” Palacios comments.

This year, the team will begin practice and conditioning in February. On their spring break, they will travel to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where they will practice three times a day and be matched with teammates for the season. From there, the team should be ready to dive into its regattas, which begin in April.

“The team is very excited right now for the upcoming 2010 season,” Palacios says. “We have a big commitment now to continue excelling.”

— Gretchen Keen


Repairing the World, One Sale at a Time

Cincinnati native Mark Heiman, a patent-holding textile innovator, has spent time in Southeast Asia, working in places such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. He’s seen how people in developing countries live and decided long ago that he wanted to help.

Toward that end, he founded the Loveland-based apparel company Tulong (meaning “help” in Filipino) in 2008 with the mission statement “to repair the world.” For Heiman, that means manufacturing sustainable, environmentally friendly clothing and reinvesting a significant portion of the company’s profits into developing areas worldwide.

The funds will go toward health education and services, community infrastructure, education, livelihood training and opportunities, microfinance and agriculture. They’ll also ensure that workers developing Tulong products receive a living wage.

“We’re looking at fair wages, not just minimum wages,” Heiman says. “We really had to do a lot of research to identify responsible manufacturing companies to work with.”

Heiman will roll out the first of Tulong’s Repair the World® product line early this spring. The apparel, consisting of T-shirts, hoodies, polo shirts, yoga and sleepwear, is made from fabrics that contain Tencel Lyocell, an environmentally friendly fiber made from trees, recycled polyester and recycled cotton.

“We’re taking what ends up in the garbage dump and making a new product out of it,” Heiman says, adding that in addition to being eco-friendly, the clothes are high quality and soft to touch.

The clothes will be first introduced in cities where studies have shown people are more apt to buy products based on social responsibility: Philadelphia; Boston; New York; Austin, Texas; Chicago; Minneapolis; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. With Tulong based here in the Tristate, though, local boutiques will be the first to see Repair the World products.

“We’re focusing a lot on active wear and sportswear,” notes Scott Jacobs, a consultant for Tulong. “We want to have an impact with events like the Flying Pig Marathon.”

— Colleen Weinkam


Miami MBA Named Ninth Best

When Roger Jenkins, dean of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, assembled a team to create a new MBA program, he led an effort that resulted in a unique product: one that wouldn’t be in direct competition with programs such as those at Indiana and The Ohio State universities.

The program, rolled out in 2005 and based on an accelerated model popular in Europe, was recently recognized in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best of its kind in the world.

Published in September 2009, the article ranked 48 accelerated programs based on a survey of recent graduates and alumni. The study considered only programs that have graduated four or more classes with 12 or more students. Miami’s was ranked ninth, the third in the United States after Northwestern University in Illinois and Babson College in Massachusetts.

The analysis was The Journal’s “first close look” at accelerated MBA programs, which have been growing in popularity because they take just 10 to 15 months to complete.

Miami’s program starts with a business “boot camp” and incorporates two internships — a 15-hour-a-week, local internship amid classes, and an international, full-time internship during the last five to six weeks of the course.

“We’re constantly fine-tuning it,” says Program Director Brad Bays about the future. “We’ve proven that we can do something really well here, and we’re looking to make it sustainable long-term. We can really see the program growing beyond the small size that it is now.”

— Lindsay Kottmann