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Cleveland aims for prominence with Futureland

3-day conference highlights diversity in tech, arts, culture
Cleveland Script
Posted at 4:30 PM, Oct 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-27 18:45:34-04

CLEVELAND — The future is Cleveland. That’s the message at the inaugural Futureland Conference in the city. Three days of events kicked off Thursday highlighting diversity in tech, culture, and art.

The Aloft Hotel hallways were packed with entrepreneurs looking to connect with potential clients, collaborators, and each other. They all set up booths, prepared with a dream and a pitch.

Jizal Seiklai is the founder and CEO of DenTemp, an online platform looking to fill staffing shortages in the dental industry. It connects dental officers with professional dental workers.

Seiklai told News 5 she hopes it will empower women to work on their own terms, who may have taken a break from the office to care for children or aging parents.

"Giving them an opportunity to come back into this space, because they are certified and licensed, giving them a chance to work one to two days a week, a couple days a month, just to make some extra money,” she said.

Seiklai got her start in the dental industry and says it was short-staffed even before the pandemic. At one point she was working in several different offices. She realized she was seeing a problem in need of a solution.

"It was a challenge as a female to stand up for yourself and say, I need to walk away from this situation and find something better,” she said about branching out to found DenTemp.

Feloh is where beauty brands and beauty lovers can meet. Feloh CMO Zari Ivey described it as a place where social media meets commerce. Independent beauty brands can post their products and share videos like makeup tutorials, and consumers can share as well.

"As a beauty junkie, a beauty lover, you're able to go into the app, upload your own beauty content, sometimes their reviews on the products they’ve purchased,” she said. Consumers can also earn points for their posts that can be used in the marketplace.

Cambron Jones and Stephen Prewitt are at the forefront of augmented reality. They developed the app Montre.

"It's an easy way to promote your business because now you don't have to worry about FB friends, Instagram followers, algorithms,” said Prewitt. "Montre allows anyone within 150 feet to share and interact with augmented reality. That could be anything from sharing links to business websites, to artwork. All this inspiration, home grown. Cleveland is now looking to become more than 'The Land.' We’re aiming for 'Futureland.'”

“To see the kind of growth within the city at large when it comes to entrepreneurs, businesses, arts, and culture is tremendous,” said Ivey.

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