Columbus and The Ohio State University Help Launch Mod Squad Handyman Service

Columbus and The Ohio State University Help Launch Mod Squad Handyman Service

Believing that doing good can be good business, a team of students and faculty from The Ohio State University worked with Rebuilding Together Central Ohio (RTCO) as part of the pilot C-Biz program funded in partnership with the Columbus City Council. The challenge? How to modernize the organization and create a sustainable system for growth.  The collaborators’ big idea – Mod Squad, Central Ohio’s go-to source for handyman services. The bonus? Every Mod Squad project helps fund grants for eligible low-income Central Ohio seniors to make needed home repairs.

Recently, Columbus City Councilmember Jaiza Page, Executive Director of RTCO Julie Smith and Ohio State’s Paul Reeder, executive director of the center for innovation strategies, proudly introduced the culmination of two years of work – Mod Squad – Central Ohio’s one-stop shop for handyman services, a program of RTCO.

“We are excited to help grow our partnership with local small businesses and students,” said Councilmember Page. “Repeated investment in both people and capital is how our City is going to continue to grow smart and provide our residents with needed services.”

C-Biz is a public-private partnership between Council and The Ohio State University that began in 2016. The program selected two existing community-based companies for the pilot the nonprofit RTCO and for-profit Watt One Electric.

The partnership was created to connect established, small and minority-owned businesses with undergraduate and graduate students who are capable of providing advanced, in-depth consulting and analytical services that may otherwise be unavailable.

The program is conducted in conjunction with faculty members from The Ohio State University and the Max M. Fisher College of Business. Council provided an initial $20,000 investment.

“As an institution dedicated to building future leaders, Fisher is proud to be associated with such an incredible, forward-focused program,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher College of Business. “Our work with the C-Biz program demonstrates how meaningful connections between our students and small business owners and entrepreneurs can positively impact and uplift our local community.”

Students and faculty from The Ohio State University evaluated the current business assets, including its structures, management, cash flow, strategy and execution. Company leadership and student teams also worked with the City to explore funding options.

“It was a pleasure collaborating with C-Biz program students as we developed the concept for Mod Squad,” said Julie Smith. “The C-Biz program gave us a unique opportunity to hear new ideas from area students that see social enterprise as a vital part of our community. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives helped energize project development with support from the city, collaborative partners, area entrepreneurs and volunteers.”

In true Columbus fashion, word spread of the collaboration and Mod Squad received additional support from The Columbus Foundation, SocialVentures and The Buzz Maker.

“What makes this exciting is that everyone in Central Ohio now has a go-to source for handyman services. It’s a ‘pay-it-forward’ program that will help our local seniors age in place with dignity,” said Smith.

The Mod Squad’s slogan – Fix it. Modify it. Replace it. – says it all. Whether it is fixing a leaky faucet or installing a new ramp, they have it covered.

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Printed in OhioMBE – Oct. 1, 2018 – pdf