-Entrepreneurial academy to launch brain-economy businesses in urban center-

Cleveland, Ohio – Oct. 28, 2010 – Bizdom U, a non-profit boot camp that trains entrepreneurs to launch and grow successful businesses, is coming to downtown Cleveland in 2011. The announcement was made by Dan Gilbert, Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lake Erie Monsters, Operator of the Quicken Loans Arena (the “Q”) and Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., while in Cleveland to accept the Ruth Ratner Miller Award from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. The award is presented annually to an individual for career achievement in the advancement and enhancement of downtown Cleveland.

Gilbert founded Bizdom U in Detroit in 2007 to help create a strong entrepreneurial core in his hometown. Now Gilbert wants to do the same in Cleveland. The first session will include up to 20 entrepreneurs and is planned to start in 2011.

“Entrepreneurs are the key to invigorating a city because they are the engines that create jobs and significantly contribute to the prosperity of a city and region,” said Gilbert. “Our program searches out people with a burning passion to be entrepreneurs and helps them turn their business dreams into commercial realities in urban areas that need the investment.”

The Bizdom U entrepreneurs undergo an initial four-to-six months of full-time, demanding training in the fundamentals essential for new business owners, such as marketing, sales and finance. During that period entrepreneurs begin developing plans for innovative and scalable businesses that must be located within the downtown urban center of the local Bizdom U operation.

The training is provided by accomplished business leaders with real-world experience, allowing participants to learn from highly-successful entrepreneurs in the region. The hands-on training bypasses the standard textbook and lecture format and immerses participants in situations they are likely to encounter as they establish their own businesses.

Bizdom U, a non-profit organization, charges no fee to the applicants who are accepted into its program.
After completion of the initial program, entrepreneurs present a detailed and complete business plan to a Bizdom U affiliate. If the plan is approved, the participant can receive:

  • Start-up funding from the nonprofit Bizdom Fund (up to $100,000)
  • A share of ownership in the business
  • An opportunity to earn a greater share of ownership in the business over time
  • Eight months of post-launch training, plus continued mentorship

Any future proceeds acquired from Bizdom U’s share of ownership in the launched businesses are reinvested back into the academy to create capacity for even more entrepreneurs and other start up companies. Bizdom U intends to launch waves of brain-economy businesses in the core of downtown Cleveland in the years ahead.

“Experience has taught us that the people who best succeed in our program are those who are willing to commit to a demanding training experience and have the passion to follow through on their vision,” said Ross Sanders, Executive Director of Bizdom U. “We are investing in entrepreneurs’ dreams to help make them a reality so we do a lot of up-front work and due diligence on the applicants and their plans in order to be confident we are selecting candidates who have the best chance of creating, owning and operating successful new businesses.”

Gilbert’s family of 25-plus companies employ 5,000 people nationally, with more than 2,000 in Ohio through the Cleveland-based Cavs, Lake Erie Monsters and Quicken Loans Arena, as well as the Quicken Loans Web Banking Center and Veritix, a paperless event ticketing company, all located in downtown Cleveland. In November 2009, Gilbert successfully backed a state constitutional amendment bringing full-service casino gaming to Ohio. Gilbert’s Rock Gaming will develop urban casinos in downtown Cleveland and Cincinnati, which are expected to create more than 7,500 new construction and permanent jobs.

For more information about the program, visit www.Bizdom.com or email getinfo@bizdom.com.

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About Bizdom:

Bizdom is a comprehensive, non-profit, entrepreneurship boot camp located in Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. The program was launched by Dan Gilbert, Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Operator of the Quicken Loans Arena (the “Q”) and Founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans Inc., in January 2007. Training is conducted by local entrepreneurs and professionals who share their real-world experiences with entrepreneurs in the program. During the four-to-six month, full-time, program, entrepreneurs prepare plans for a business which must be located within city limits. Entrepreneurs whose plans are approved can receive start-up funding for their plan of up to $100,000. Bizdom U maintains a share of ownership in each business, using its share of the proceeds to fund future entrepreneurs that will launch even more innovative businesses in these cities. For more information, visit www.Bizdom.com.

About Quicken Loans Inc.:

Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s largest online retail mortgage lender and among the five largest overall retail home lenders in the United States. The company closed more than $25 billion in retail home loan volume across all 50 states in 2009. Quicken Loans employs approximately 4,000 team members and generates loan production from five web centers located in Michigan, Ohio and Arizona. Quicken Loans also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Michigan as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. “QuickenLoans.com” has been named “Best of the Web” by Forbes and Money magazines. Quicken Loans has been named to Fortune magazine’s list of the country’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” seven consecutive years, ranking as high as #2. Quicken Loans has also been named in the top-15 of Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places To Work In Technology” for six years in a row. The company recently moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its full-time team members to downtown Detroit. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit www.quickenloans.com.

About Rock Holdings Inc.:

Rock Holdings Inc. is the parent company for several financial services related businesses. These client-focused and technologically-driven companies include Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online home lender and its One Reverse Mortgage unit, the fastest growing reverse mortgage lender in America; Title Source, a nationwide leader of title insurance and settlement services; Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (QLMS), a mortgage origination platform servicing community banks and credit unions across the country; In-House Realty, the preferred real estate partner of Quicken Loans that matches clients with trusted real estate agents in all 50 states; and, Quizzle.com, the online innovator and website where consumers manage their home, money and credit. Rock Holdings, Inc. also recently moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit.