• Cleveland was a Fortune 500 mecca, overshadowing the needs of the small business owners.
  • Truck strike paralyzed small businesses.
  • 200 small business owners gathered at Cleveland City Hall, later named the “March on City Hall” to pressure the mayor into doing something about the truck strike
  • The Industrial Action Group (IAG) formed to speak out about small business issues. First ad headlines read “Does Cleveland Business Need Another Voice? We Say Yes! Read Why.” Dues were $100.


  • IAG interest faded.
  • Growth Association was encouraged to form a small business group to increase membership.
  • First brochure to attract small business read Grow With Us in the G.C.G.A. – Growth by Association.


  • The Small Business Council formed, which was eventually named COSE, the Council of Smaller Enterprises.
  • The compact disk was developed by RCA; Philips Co. introduces the video disk.
  • Electronic mail was introduced. Queen Elizabeth II sends her first e-mail in 1976.
  • M*A*S*H premiered on CBS.


  • Health care plans are offered.
  • First full-time executive director, Michael Benz was hired.
  • First COSE educational seminar offered.
  • First COSE newsletter published.
  • First small business presentation to Congress
  • Cease-fire marks end of America’s involvement in Vietnam War.
  • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed.
  • Jazz master Duke Ellington published autobiography “Music is My Mistress”.


  • Management Assistance Program established, providing one-on-one assistance for small business owners.
  • Membership jumped from 491 to 785 in 1 month.
  • Patty Hearst is kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
  • President Richard M. Nixon resigned.
  • “People” magazine debuted with Mia Farrow on the cover.


  • CEO roundtables began.
  • First presentation to Ohio General Assembly
  • Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia.
  • Unemployment was 5.6 percent.
  • Edward Albee’s “Seascape” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
  • “Saturday Night Live” premiered with George Carlin as host.


  • Creation of the first small business agenda resulted in the first small business presentation in Columbus.
  • United States celebrated its Bicentennial.
  • Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won the Academy Award for Best Picture.


  • COSE Programs for growth began.
  • Unemployment hit 7.7 percent.
  • “Roots” premiered on TV; “Star Wars” and “Saturday Night Fever” hit theaters; and Elvis died at Graceland at the age of 42.
  • The neutron bomb was developed.
  • Space shuttle Enterprise made its first test glide from the back of a Boeing 747.


  • Kaiser Permanente added to COSE health plan.
  • Membership stood at 2,500.
  • Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat sign “Framework for Peace” in the Middle East at a conference held at Camp David led by President Jimmy Carter.
  • The first test-tube baby was born in London.
  • Balloon angioplasty was developed to treat coronary artery disease.


  • COSE Strategic Planning Course offered to members.
  • The Shah leaves Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini took over; Iranian militants seize U.S. Embassy in Teheran, held hostages.
  • Soviet invasion of Afghanistan stirred world protests.
  • 3-Mile Island nuclear reactor overheated.


  • COSE played a major role in first “modern” White House Conference on Small Business.
  • Ronald Reagan elected president in a Republican sweep.
  • Median household income was $17,710.
  • “Do you believe in miracles?” The U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets in Lake Placid, New York.
  • Beatle John Lennon was shot in New York City.
  • Ted Turner launched CNN.


  • Business planning seminars began.
  • U.S. air traffic controllers strike, disrupted flights worldwide.
  • President Reagan wounded by John Hinckley Jr.
  • MTV went on air.
  • IBM introduced its first personal computer running DOS.
  • The FDA approved the use of artificial sweetener NutraSweet.


  • Mary Jane Fabish, first woman chair of COSE, elected.
  • COSE celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • Membership grew to 4,700.
  • Equal Rights Amendment failed ratification.
  • Space shuttle Columbia made its first mission.


  • Participants in COSE’s Entrepreneurship Conference go on to start 50 businesses.
  • 237 U.S. Marines killed in terrorist attack in Beirut.
  • Sally Ride was the first U.S. woman astronaut in space aboard Challenge.r
  • The FCC authorized Motorola to begin testing cellular phone service in Chicago.


  • Health insurance plan renovated with 3,000 companies and more than 20,000 subscribers.
  • COSE named 1 of 6 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) in the region to handle administration of COSE health insurance program.
  • COSE Group Services Inc. formed.
  • Ma Bell System broke up.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that taping TV shows at home on VCRs did not violate copyright laws.
  • Playwright David Mamet won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Glengarry Glen Ross”.
  • Apple introduced the user-friendly Macintosh personal computer.


  • First COSE Strategic Plan was written.
  • COSE worked to stop “Right to Know” legislation.
  • Tom Peters spoke at Annual Meeting.
  • Membership grew to 6,500.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev named leader of Soviet Union.
  • Desktop publishing became commonly used.
  • British scientists reported a large hole in the earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica.
  • Coca-Cola monkeyed with its 99-year-old formula by launching “New” Coke.


  • COSE officially designated as Small Business Development Center by U.S. Small Business Administration and Ohio Department of Development.
  • Space shuttle Challenger exploded after launch, killing all 7 on board.
  • U.S. House of Representatives rejected Reagan administration’s “Star Wars” policy.
  • “Oprah” hit national television audiences.
  • Barry Diller created the Fox Network.
  • Academic American Encyclopedia was available on CD-ROM.


  • Inner Harbor Project began.
  • Membership grew to 7,500.
  • Iran-Contra scandal exploded.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. released Prozac for use.
  • Montreal International Treaty called for 50 percent reduction in the use of chloroflouro-carbons by the year 2000.


  • COSE Cellular One service offered.
  • COSE chosen to produce Inc. 500 conference.
  • COSE chairman Brad Roller saluted by President Reagan for political activism.
  • Pan-Am Flight 103 exploded from a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland.
  • United State and Canada reached free trade agreement (NAFTA).
  • CDs outsold vinyl records for the first time.


  • Total health insurance premium volume exceeded $100 million.
  • COSE members testified before National Bipartisan Commission on Health Care.
  • Full-time COSE Government Action staff person added.
  • Tens of thousands of Chinese students took over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in a rally for democracy. Thousands were killed.
  • Exxon Valdez sent 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
  • The first World Wide Web server and browser were developed in England.


  • Membership exceeded 10,000.
  • 40 COSE members met with President Bush.
  • COSE insures nearly 150,000 Greater Clevelanders
  • South Africa freed Nelson Mandela from prison after 27 years.
  • “The Simpson’s” debuted on Fox and “Seinfeld” debuts on NBC.
  • Movies released include “Dances with Wolves,” “Goodfellas” and “Reversal of Fortune”.
  • President George Bush signed the Clean Air Act.


  • COSE Workers’ Comp program started.
  • Group Services Inc. expanded to include Toledo chamber.
  • Cease-fire ended Persian Gulf War.
  • The Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings erupted.
  • Rock group Nirvana launched "grunge" movement.
  • Gopher, the first user-friendly Internet interface, was created at the University of Minnesota.


  • President Bush called COSE a national leader in creating “workable solutions to healthcare challenges”.
  • Membership topped 12,000.
  • Yugoslav Federation was broken up. United Nations expelled Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia.
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed.
  • U.S. led UN effort to guard food for Somalians.
  • Violence erupted in Los Angeles after police acquitted of beating Rodney King.
  • Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for the last time.
  • Text-based Web browser was made available to the public.


  • CBG communication services offered.
  • 1,200 members attended Stephen Covey seminar.
  • Branch Davidian standoff with federal agents ended in fiery death in Waco, Texas.
  • Lorain native Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


  • COSE worked to defeat Clinton health plan.
  • Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in that country’s first interracial national election.
  • Major League Baseball players strike; the World Series was cancelled.
  • “Schindler’s List” won Oscar for Best Picture.
  • White House launched Web page and initial commerce sites were launched.


  • Membership included 16,226 companies.
  • Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland.
  • Cleveland Indians lost to Atlanta Braves in World Series.


  • Members saved a total of $95 million on health insurance, workers’ comp, long distance, and cellular phone services.
  • “Mad cow” disease outbreak in Britain.
  • Broadcasters, television and PC manufacturers agreed on a standard for high-definition television.
  • Approximately 45 million people in the world used the Internet (30 million of those in North America).


  • Workers’ Comp Program enrolled 5,007 companies.
  • 13,000 members enrolled in health insurance plans.
  • CBG had 2,800 COSE participants.
  • AirTouch netted 13,000 members.
  • Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule.
  • Indians lost to Florida Marlins in World Series.
  • Princess Diana; Mother Theresa; Jacques Cousteau; John Denver; Allen Ginsberg; and Jimmy Stewart died.


  • 77-year-old Ohio Senator John Glenn returned to space on shuttle Discovery.


  • Creation of the COSE Customer Service Team helped better serve the membership
  • www.cose.org went live.
  • Implementation of the e-strategy campaign within the Growth Association aimed at developing a new Web site and information system for the organization.
  • COSE’s Retirement Plan introduced.
  • War erupted in Kosovo.
  • World prepared for Y2K.
  • Internet users reached 150 million worldwide, with more than half from the U.S.


  • Launched the “Get the Most Out of COSE” membership e-mail.
  • COSE added a public relations position.
  • Introduced online health insurance plan administration
  • First local chamber of commerce partnership with the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Launched the “Best 100” Web sites listing on cose.org
  • Introduced online learning capability
  • Fought “living wage” ordinance
  • Helped pass HB 221, Mandated Benefit Review
  • COSE members named to Gov. Taft’s Small Business Advisory Council
  • COSE Update went full color.
  • U.S.S. Cole attacked in port in Yemen.
  • Cuban Elian Gonzalez was the center of an international custody dispute.
  • President George W. Bush won the closest election in decades.
  • “I love you” virus disrupted computers worldwide.



  • Creation of a new COSE Strategic Plan
  • Successful campaign advocating for Cleveland Hopkins Airport expansion for regional competitiveness
  • Launched the COSE Business Plan Challenge awarding more than $100,000 in cash and prizes to Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs
  • Reached the membership milestone of 16,700 members
  • Introduced the COSE Electric Program
  • Introduced the Power Breakfast Panel education series
  • Worked with community leaders, members of the Ohio congressional delegation to secure $70 million in funding for NASA Glenn Research Center.
  • Launched Capitolgate, an online advocacy resource center that gives state legislators comprehensive information about issues before them
  • Launched the COSE Key Resources Program with Baldwin-Wallace College
  • Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network launched terror attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.


  • COSE held its first ever Business Plan Challenge Contest awarding more than $150,000 in cash and prizes.
  • COSE offered Workers’ Comp Program to 700 Akron Better Business Bureau members.
  • Partnered with Disney Institute to offer “Disney Keys to Success” program to 250 attendees
  • Produced “Starting Your Business” series on WCPN radio
  •  COSE/Growth Association won 2002 Award of Excellence from NAMD.
  • COSE hosted 4 delegates from Open World  Russian Leadership Program.
  • Euro became standard currency in 12 European countries.


  • Launched the Boise Office Supply Program
  • COSE ConnectFest networking events attracted more than 3,500 for the year.
  • Launched COSE Box Office
  • Participated in the National Small Business Association (NSBA) Small Business Congress in Washington D.C.
  • Launched first Advocacy electronic newsletter
  • COSE.org had an average of 25,000 unique visitors each month.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia exploded killing all 7 aboard.


  • Greater Cleveland Growth Association merged with the Cleveland Roundtable and Greater Cleveland Tomorrow to create the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
  • COSE merged with NEOSA which becomes COSE’s Technology Network.
  • COSE entered partnership with Weatherhead School of Management to produce Weatherhead 100 Awards.
  • COSE launched www.neo411.biz with 11 other regional economic development partners.
  • COSE offered first HSA plans as health insurance option.
  • Launched the first COSE Member Satisfaction Survey online


  • COSE and Medical Mutual reached historic long-term agreement on health insurance.
  • COSE Ambassador Program created to help with member outreach.
  • First COSE Ten Under 10 Awards Program held.
  • COSE’s “Bedtime Stories for Entrepreneurs” book published.
  • COSE launched the online tool COSE OneForm.
  • COSE supported new established Entrepreneurship Preparatory School (E-Prep).
  • NEOSA held the first ever CIO of the Year Awards.
  • COSE held its third Business Plan Challenge competition awarding more than $350,00 in cash and prizes.
  • Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast.


  • First COSE Small Business Conference held at IX-Center Cleveland.
  • HR Answer Desk launched.
  • COSE Arts and Home Business Networks were launched.
  • COSE Business Space program started.
  • New $300 COSE membership announced.
  • COSE helped crew of Spiderman 3 movie film in Cleveland.
  • COSE member services team averaged 2,700 calls each month.
  • COSE’s online  “Candidate Information Center” had more than 15,000 unique visitors.
  • Saddam Hussein convicted of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court and hanged in Baghdad.


  • COSE moved offices to the Higbee Building at Public Square.
  • COSE launched Ibuyneo.com to support area businesses with “buy local” messaging.
  • COSE launched COSE MindSpring program with member editors as small business experts.
  • COSE held “holiday shopping” themed Annual Meeting in the Higbee Building.
  • COSE MindShare program launched to connect entrepreneurs.
  • COSE created Member Service Team to handle all customer service issues in-house.
  • COSE launched “Join Your Cause” media campaign.
  • COSE completed Health Care Scenario Planning Project.
  • The minimum wage increased to $5.85, up from $5.15--the first increase in 10 years.


  • COSE awarded 27 Wellness Mini Grants offering up to $1,500 for company-sponsored wellness initiatives.
  • COSE helped remove Issue 4 from ballot that would have mandated employers offer 7 paid sick days.
  • COSE launched www.smallbizvotes.org website for election information related to small business.
  • COSE released Home Based Businesses: Dispelling the Myths research project.
  • COSE Arts Network held first Arts and Business Innovation (ABI) Awards.
  • 155,000 Northeast Ohioans depended on COSE Health plans for a combined savings of more than $22 million.
  • Cuban president Fidel Castro permanently stepped down after 49 years in power.
  • Democratic senator Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the United States.


  • Newly resigned www.cose.org launched.
  • COSE helped pass Issue 6 - Cuyahoga County Government Reform.
  • COSE Strategic Planning Course celebrated 30thn Anniversary.
  • I Buy NEO launched “Buy Local Week”.
  • COSE launched www.socialmedialeaps.com.
  • More than 3,000 businesses participate in the COSE Electric Savings Program
  • PUCO names COSE “Energy Efficiency Administrator for Small Business” in the First Energy territories
  • General Motors files for bankruptcy and announces it will close 14 plants in the United States


  • COSE publishes the first Health Care Reform Gameplan™
  • The COSE Affiliate Program launches with 10 partners made up of local chambers and business support            organizations
  • More than 400 attend the Business Matchmaker event held by COSE and the SBA Cleveland Office
  • COSE launches its first online Energy Efficiency Resource Guide
  • COSE and Greater Cleveland Partnership gain Green Plus™ status
  • COSE awarded $100,000 in federal and state grants to support sustainability education for small businesses
  • NEOSA raises $15,000 for college scholarships through its Cool Tech Challenge program
  • COSE launches WellnessTracks program
  • COSE awards $10,000 in prizes through COSE Energy Efficiency Challenge
  • COSE/GCP named “Chamber of the Year” at Green Plus North America Sustainability Awards
  • After 86 days of gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP caps its leaking oil well


  • COSE moved offices to 1240 Huron Road in Playhouse Square neighborhood.
  • MRA position created at COSE to deepen member outreach and customer service efforts
  • More than 250 attended the first COSE Small Business Summit.
  • New COSE Strategic Plan completed.
  • COSE Energy received state and federal grants to promote energy efficiency among small businesses.
  • COSE holds its first Business Pitch Competition with guest judge Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank
  • COSE Small Business Conference attracted 1,500 attendees. 


  • Nearly 700 attendees enjoyed 2 days of education and networking opportunities at 2012 Small Business Convention at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky.
  • COSE celebrated its 40th Anniversary with member stories and reflections at 40 Stories/40 Years microsite.
  • The quarterly survey of members, the COSE Small Business Monitor launched in August. 
  • COSE received $50,000 grant from Ohio Department of Development and another $1.5 million over three years from Dominion East Ohio to provide energy efficiency assistance to small businesses.”
  • London hosted XXX Olympiad at 2012 Summer Games.