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Founder Feature: Emil Barr of Step Up Social

Meet Emil Barr.

Founder / CEO of Step Up Social and Winner of Launch It: Cincy 2022.

"Reach out to others! You're only as strong as your network."

Step Up Social is a digital marketing startup that leverages college student labor to disrupt the traditional agency model and offer services to startups typically unable to afford agency work.


Q: You were a winner of the Launch It: Cincy Pitch Competition. How was your experience?

A: Launch It: Cincy has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had on my journey as a student entrepreneur. The program was extremely well organized, fun, and helpful: offering access to resources all over the city and support for my social media startup. During the summer, I was connected with a variety of subject experts in relevant fields as well as a personal mentor who took an extra-ordinary interest in my business and our growth. Overall, the program gave me the sense of community and confidence I needed to take my business concept to the next level

Q: How will the Main Street Ventures Grant impact you and your business?

A: The Main Street Ventures Grant will let us establish a new vertical for our business, Reddit marketing, to expand our services to new channels and clients.

Q: What does a typical day in your life look like?

A: Since I'm a college student, my workday looks pretty different from a typical entrepreneur! I wake up around 7 am, spend between 9 am - 5 pm in meetings or classes, and tend to roll my sleeves up and work on big projects till about 10 pm.

Q: What makes Cincinnati a great place to start a business?

A: Cincinnati has strong support for new businesses through resources like Cintrifuse & Main Street ventures and a welcoming marketing community that's willing to mentor new businesses and provide introductions in a way that doesn't exist in NY or LA.

Q: What is next for Step Up Social?

A: By April, we plan to become the first-ever million-dollar college student-run marketing agency in the country. From there, we hope to keep growing and scaling to become the biggest TikTok and Reddit agency in the USA!


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