Rocket Innovations

Ohio Entrepreneurial Services Provider Program (ESP)


The goal of the Ohio Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program is to significantly increase the positive technology-based entrepreneurial commercialization outcomes in Ohio. Efforts are focused on strategic technology-based sectors that offer exceptional economic development prospects.

Led by Executive Director, Norman Rapino, Rocket Innovations represents the University of Toledo as a partner on the Northwest Ohio Jumpstart team.

Jumpstart itself is a venture development organization, combining the principles of (private) venture capital and (non-profit) economic development to help entrepreneurs start and grow companies. The team’s work is focused on three core areas:

  • Making Investments: Tech entrepreneurs can be funded with the capital they need to grow their startup businesses quickly.
  • Delivering Services: Technical assistance is provided to help high-potential businesses solve problems, drive growth and create jobs.
  • Acting as a Value-Added Partner: Jumpstart and the Northwest Ohio team works on behalf of private, public, and philanthropic funders who want to assist entrepreneurs by making grants and convening networks to turn their vision and resources into action and impact.

The ESP program supports University of Toledo staff as they work to help entrepreneurs develop ideas and grow businesses. Our University team provides many resources, and the following are examples:

  • Market Research; We help clients research their potential market, develop a compelling value proposition, and create/validate their business model.  
  • Sales & Marketing; Our team can help you connect with your customers to close more sales and generate more revenue.
  • Investor Readiness; We work to determine the best funding options for your business and help you make a favorable impression with investors.
  • Growth Planning; We help your leadership team make the plans, acquire the resources, and set the key milestones you need to grow.

For more information please connect with norman.rapino@utoledo.edu.

Last Updated: 3/15/21