BIG IDEAS: Annal Vyas and NEXTOhio

So, Annal Vyas, what’s the BIG IDEA with NEXTOhio anyway?

photography by Svetla Morrison

See more of her work, including her Akron’s Big Ideas series, at her website here

Name: Annal Vyas
Age: 34
Hometown/Home now: Lives in Stow and works in Akron
Occupation: Visiting Professor at the University of Akron School of Law

Annal may also be the cheeriest guy in Akron. (PHOTO: Svelta Morrison)

What’s your BIG IDEA?

“NEXTOhio is an internet startup conference for founders, programmers, investors, and the broader community. The goal is to let people know just how great a place Northeast Ohio is for starting an internet company.”

Why do you pursue it?

“I didn’t organize NEXTOhio, so much as the event organized itself. I teach Business Planning Law at Akron Law, and I also help run the SEED Legal Clinic at the Law School, which is a clinic that helps qualifying small businesses with legal issues. We started seeing a ton of internet startup companies at our Clinic, and the idea for NEXTOhio took off from there.”

When did you know your Big Idea was also a good idea?

“I had no clue how many people would show up on April 9th for our inaugural event. We ended up having 300 people there.”

How do you hope your Big Idea will make Akron a little better?

“(I want to) help people realize that you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley to start an app or internet company. Akron is a great place for that. We’re not The Rust Belt. Believe it or not, we’re moving toward The Tech Belt.”