Start Downtown

Start Downtown is a 6-month program providing site selection assistance, rent subsidies and marketing support to qualifying new and expanding business locating in retail or office space in the downtown Akron 42-block Special Improvement District.

With the support of Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the program is managed by Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) and led by DAP Director of Business Development, Laura Engle.

At this time, Downtown Akron Partnership is accepting for-profit business applications for the Start Downtown program.

We are seeking 3-5 participants that align with program objectives which include a focus on minority-owned and women-owned businesses.



Timeline - Please be sure to check back for updates.

  • March 3, 2020: Applications for Start Downtown open
  • March 9, 2020: Application review begins
  • March 18, 2020: Applications have been temporarily paused, due to unprecedented current events. For applications submitted prior to March 18th, only site selection assistance is available at this time. Additional applications, as well as any participant selections for rent subsidies and marketing support are temporarily paused.


Burton D. Morgan Foundation


Read the Start Downtown press release.