Skip to Main Content

 View All News

Release Date: February 1,2022

Downtown Akron Partnership Launches the 6th Cohort of Start Downtown to Bring Small Business Downtown

Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) is happy to announce the 2022 continuation of the Start Downtown Program, which matches business owners and entrepreneurs with downtown property owners to bring new businesses to downtown Akron. In alignment with Opportunity Akron and the Elevate Greater Akron Strategy, the program encourages new business growth with an emphasis on businesses owned by women and people of color. The program, which began in 2015 as the Pop-Up Retail Program, has brought 13 businesses that are currently operating in downtown. Of those businesses, 23% are owned by women and 38% are owned by people of color. The application process is now open.

Downtown Akron Partnership Director of Business Development Kimberly Beckett said, “Start Downtown allows us to build more vibrancy downtown because it brings new, lively businesses into the storefronts, which attracts more foot traffic. Storefront activation is vital to the culture and character of the downtown neighborhood.”

Downtown Akron Partnership will assist in the location and expansion of downtown businesses through a rent subsidy program. This grant-based initiative provides rent and marketing assistance over a 6-month period to qualifying businesses starting or expanding in the downtown Akron 42-block Special Improvement District. The rent stipend program supports ready to open businesses by off-setting startup costs and is distributed at the discretion of DAP. The Start Downtown Program is made possible with support from Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

´╗┐Business owners and entrepreneurs interested in participating in the program should complete the initial application available on Click here to apply.

Find out more about Downtown Akron Partnership. Follow us at, and on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.