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Customer Connections Program Helps Mid Cap Companies Stay Innovative

Steve Shifmans pictureSteve Shifman, President and CEO of Michelman, wants his associates on the lookout for new technology all the time. That’s easier said than done however. As a mid cap advanced materials manufacturer, Michelman doesn’t have the resources that allow it to be in every startup ecosystem across the country. Which is why the Customer Connections program at Cintrifuse is so valuable to Steve and his company.

The program is designed to help Cincinnati’s largest corporations stay ahead of the innovation curve. Engagement in the program can take many forms – from simply becoming involved with the startup ecosystem to identifying Innovation Champions within your organization to helping develop pilots between Cincinnati’s BigCos and startups.

“I want our people to look everywhere for technology,” Steve said. “Some of that is material and chemical technologies but some of it is not. I also want to know what kind of management, sales and HR technologies are out there that can make my business better and more efficient.”

I can tell you that when my associates spend time at Union Hall they come back with tremendous amounts of enthusiasm
– Steve Shifman, President and CEO of Michelman

That’s why he started engaging with Cintrifuse and #StartupCincy. We were able to plug his associates into Cincinnati’s startup community and so far the results have been promising.

“I can tell you that when my associates spend time at Union Hall they come back with tremendous amounts of enthusiasm,” he explained. “They’re thrilled to be in a cool space in the middle of Over-The-Rhine. They also get to network with some very interesting people. The entrepreneurial spirit is infectious and my organization and associates are more innovative when they spend time with entrepreneurs.”

For instance, Aaron Hoffman, Global Sales Manager for Fibers and Composites, has taken his sales team to Union Hall for meetings. Aaron noted how his team always enjoys spending time at Union Hall and how they always comes back energized and focused.

“Michelman is going through a transformation and deciding what kind of company it wants to be in the next five years,” Aaron said. “In order to do that we have to challenge our embedded assumptions. Being at Union Hall and hearing different folks really fuels new and unique things. It’s made my sales team more engaged and more effective.”

Being at Union Hall and hearing different folks really fuels new and unique things. It’s made my sales team more engaged and more effective.
– Aaron Hoffman, Global Sales Manager

Melissa Young, HR Leader for the Americas at Michelman, has also spent time engaging with #StartupCincy. Her involvement went further, though, and through the connections Cintrifuse facilitated she has engaged Blackbook HR in a pilot. Blackbook HR’s tech is still in the implementation phase but Melissa is already seeing benefits to working with a startup.

“What I liked about Blackbook HR is they are thinking about associate engagement in a different way,” she said. “Their sales manager contacted me last week to ask if I would sit on one of their focus groups to help develop their product which I think is super exciting. That takes time for me but I’m willing to do it because I’m going to benefit in the long run from the product they have to offer.”

The world is changing faster than ever and it can be challenging for companies to keep up. Whether it’s a Mid Cap or Fortune 500 company, Cintrifuse’s Customer Connection makes it easy for BigCos to interact with startups and become more innovative.

Intrigued? Apply for Cintrifuse membership.

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