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Release Date: February 2,2023

Downtown Akron Partnership seeks business owners and entrepreneurs for Start Downtown program

Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) is happy to announce the 2023 continuation of the Start Downtown Program, which matches business owners and entrepreneurs with downtown property owners who have space available 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 18 businesses to downtown over six grant cycles. The application process is now open and will remain open until March 3.

Da’Shika Street, owner of Street Craftery, states “The Start Downtown program helped relieve some of the anxiety that can come with opening a new brick and mortar store. Not having to worry about full rent payments from the start allowed me to focus on ordering inventory, building out the space, and other logistical matters essential to getting up and running while easing into the fullness of my overall operating expenses.”

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 downtownakron.comClick here to apply.