Clutch MOV is proud to sponsor this year’s Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneur of the Year. We envision a community where citizens can take risks on the promise that success would uplift the residents of our valley. Artists, creators, makers, and small business owners strive to build something anew, something worth putting their stamp on – to promote and share with each other – and entrepreneurs are on the edge, finding ways to build in a way that hasn’t been done before. This year we received dozens of nominations for innovative, forward-thinking, community-building entrepreneurs from the Mid-Ohio Valley. The panel believed six individuals stood out for the impact they are making through their work. We are sharing their stories in this series.
Jared Perry is the Director of Operations for Sixmo Architects & Engineers and an avid entrepreneur with investments in software, real estate, and more. He also happens to be a co-founder in IncSwell, a collaborative workspace and business incubator based in Marietta, OH.
Located on Front Street in downtown Marietta in a newly renovated historic building, IncSwell is a collaborative co-working space where entrepreneurs, small businesses, and creatives can come together to scale their passion. Focused on growing and encouraging economic development in the Mid-Ohio Valley, IncSwell offers space to individuals and organizations on a daily, monthly or annual basis. Sixmo Architects & Engineers is located on the third floor, co-working alongside more than a dozen other local small businesses and nonprofits that call IncSwell home.
For Jared, starting a business was less about seeing a need and more about connecting to what he most loved to do. “I started an Architecture and Engineering firm because I love structural engineering. I love designing and I love crunching numbers. I started developing real-estate because I love construction and seeing things being built. I started IncSwell because I love business and being around other people who talk about business, marketing, and strategy. I started a software company because I love efficiency and finding more hours in the day to literally do more. I think if you start a business out of ‘seeing a need’ you run the risk of doing something you’re bound to fall out of love with eventually or end up doing ‘just for the money.’”
I enjoy chasing new opportunities and solving problems while at the same time having the flexibility to travel and spend time with my family.”
In addition to launching and managing a host of businesses, Jared sits on the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board for Marietta College, the City of Marietta’s Historical Review Board, the Enrich Marietta Steering Committee, the Friends of the Museum Advisory Board, as well as his church’s Finance & Executive Boards. The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur, he said, is the adventure and flexibility. Flexibility to invest in his community and choose how he spends his time.
“I enjoy chasing new opportunities and solving problems while at the same time having the flexibility to travel and spend time with my family.”
The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur, he said, is letting go and trusting those hired to do the job they were hired to do. “When you build things from the ground up, everything is personal, and everything has your reputation on the line.” Jared said this is something he still struggles with from time to time.
Jared draws a distinction between small business ownership and entrepreneurship and believes it’s important to understand the difference. “When I started Sixmo Inc., I was a small business owner. When I started developing real-estate, operating a collaborative workspace and investing in and developing software – all at the same time – that’s entrepreneurship in my mind.”
One is not better than the other, he said, but they are different – and the advice and mentorship that a person needs is drastically different for each. “Small business ownership is much more conservative and stable than entrepreneurship. I see too many people confusing the two and trying risky initiatives with their small business just because they read an article in Entrepreneur magazine. Or even worse, an entrepreneur who is too risk-averse to make the bold decisions necessary to take their startup to the next level.”
Jared believes competition drives innovation and designed IncSwell to fill the competition void by encouraging other entrepreneurs and small business owners to make that leap through its incubator and accelerator programs.
“The goal of our collaborative workspace and incubator is to help people grow beyond our walls,” he said. “To use us as a launchpad so that they can stabilize their businesses and attract investment and/or lending that helps them create jobs and develop/re-develop other parts of our community.” That, he said, is a high-tide that raises all ships.