How Abre and IncludeHealth are making waves in some of their industry’s biggest events
It’s been a challenging 2020 for most small businesses. But in southwest Ohio, a pair of companies are thriving more than ever before. In May, Cincinnati pair IncludeHealth and Abre both earned national recognition for their work, putting their companies further on the map and showcasing the strong innovation coming from Ohio, even in the year of COVID-19.
Last month, TechOhio showcased IncludeHealth’s push for a $50,000 grant from Orgain’s Grants for Greater Good. The Cincy startup is striving for inclusion in the fitness space, creating equipment and software to better serve all. Battling companies from across the country, they had so much support they took home the grant over larger companies. For founder and CEO Ryan Eder, the win was much more than a piece of funding — it provided the chance for IncludeHealth to give back.
“We saw it as an opportunity to donate our technology to those who need it most,” said founder and CEO Ryan Eder. “Orgain created the grant to support companies with great ideas and a commitment to helping others live healthy, vibrant lives. Winning this grant helps us to use the funds to offset our costs and donate one of our inclusive trainers, the IncludeStrength, to a deserving partner that is delivering long-term access to health and wellness for those living with neurological conditions. There is no better feeling in the world than to enable someone who has previously been denied independent means to stay healthy, and this grant provided the opportunity to further fulfill this mission and build on our ideology as a company.”
It’s an exciting time for IncludeHealth, both within the company and for the execution of their mission of inclusivity. For Eder, that means a strong outlook for the future, even on the heels of a pandemic.
“Navigating this new world is a challenge for us all, but our team is laser-focused and closely collaborating with leaders in the healthcare and performance industries to determine how we can come out on the other side more efficiently,” said Eder. “Technology can help us navigate this new normal and ultimately come out the other side with a powerful evolution of care delivery.”
At Abre, it’s been a busy spring. When COVID-19 first hit schools hard, the digital education company made their award-winning Abre Hub available free to schools and districts, allowing educators to keep in touch with students working from home. But the Cincinnati startup wasn’t finished there. Abre beat out some major corporations to win Best Administrative Solution and the Best Overall Education Technology Solution for 2020 at the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Education Technology 2020 CODiE Awards.
“These awards are probably among the more prestigious awards you can win in education technology,” said CEO Damon Ragusa. “The program is robust, requiring direct demonstrations of your solution to judges as well as voting from the SIAA membership. This award is important to us because it reflects the perspectives of educators. Abre is still a very early-stage company, so an award like this builds awareness of us in ways traditional marketing cannot do. Since winning the award, we’ve seen a significant increase in schools and districts reaching out to us for conversations.”
For Ragusa, the experience showcased his company’s resilience and reach. Not only was Abre able to take home major recognition, but they’re heading out of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic even stronger. Ragusa said that’s due to a company-wide mentality of staying innovative and adaptable, now more than ever.
“A lot has happened for all businesses,” said Ragusa. “Back in March, the charge for the entire Abre team was to ‘not be idle,’ so we all got very busy thinking about how we can innovate and support our customers and our marketplace while they go through a very challenging time. Then we started to think about how we innovate. It led to providing the Abre Hub for free, a place for communications and access to a school’s software. From a business perspective, we’ve seen an amazing increase in the interest in the Abre platform. We feel very good about the direction of the business and the product as we look toward the next school year.”