CLEVELAND -- Small medical and high-tech companies are said to be the future of Northeast Ohio's economy.

And many of them came together Monday to take part in JumpStart's annual Entrepreneur Expo seeking expert advice and prospective customers and experts.

The event was held in the Cleveland Museum of Art's atrium.

Case Western Reserve physics major Nicholas Barron is a man with seemingly the right idea at the right time.

He's co-founder of Holepatch, maybe a cheaper and faster way to fill potholes.

The concept is a durable plastic bag filled with a special fluid that solidifies on contact and can adapt to the unique shape of potholes

It's been tested for multiple cities.

Barron said, "Almost universally, we've received great feedback saying 'Can I have this now?' ... We're hoping to meet people with experience with what we're trying to do."

Daniel Mansoor just launched GiveNext, an online way to manage charitable giving.

"Fundraising is still based on technology from the 1920's, the postage stamp. Only 10 percent of giving is online," he said.

His goal, "to introduce the product to as many people as I can."

Nichelle McCall is a former Baldwin-Wallace guidance counselor. She's started Bold Guidance, an online way to organize college admissions testing information and deadlines.

She claims several hundred students are customers and many more are waiting in line.

"We're looking to talk to more investors, " she said.

This is JumpStart's eighth expo and is the largest.

Fledgling company owners got to participate in a kind of speed dating, getting 10 minutes with experts in business planning, organizations or prospective investors.

Among those attending was Mark Kvamme, the former head of JobsOhio who now runs Drive Capital, a Midwest investment fund.

"We'll see probably a thousand companies a year and will probably invest in 30. ... The caliber here is very, very high," he said.

JumpStart's Ray Leach says the event pulls together all the players in helping young companies get off to a good start.

Last year, Northeast high-tech new companies raised almost $270 million.

"Ninety firms were able to raise capital last year, and that's an all-time high here. ... These are the companies that are going to employ residents in our region," he said.

Leach says Ohio ranks 14th in providing capital to new companies and is trying to gain ground on leading states including California.