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Akron, Ohio

City of Akron Announces Winners for Second Round of Rubber City Match

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of City of Akron Press Office
Published: 08-16-2021

Akron, Ohio, August 16, 2021 — This week, Mayor Dan Horrigan announced the winners of the first two award levels of the second round of Rubber City Match, a program that pairs emerging and existing businesses with the right resources to propel them forward to the next stage of growth.  Rubber City Match includes four possible award levels, which include financial aid, design assistance, technical support, or curated matching with vacant retail properties in one of Akron’s Great Streets neighborhood business districts.  The program has been designed to boost Akron’s neighborhood retail zones and remove barriers for new and expanding businesses to thrive locally.

"Akron's small business community is the backbone of our local economy," said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. "These last 18 months have been incredibly difficult on our small businesses. The Rubber City Match program allows us to continue on our path to recovery, uplift these small businesses, and push our economic development momentum forward."

In the first round of the program, Akron helped 5 business owners complete the MORTAR at Bounce program, paired 4 businesses with vacant retail space, connected 3 businesses with architects to start working through their designs, and aided in the opening and expansion of two businesses.

Today, participants are being announced for the 2021 Rubber City Match Business Plan Award and Space Award. 80% of the winning businesses are Black-owned and 75% are woman-owned.

Through the Business Plan Award, accepted business owners will receive free tuition to attend MORTAR at Bounce, a 15-week accelerator that helps both existing and aspiring non-tech entrepreneurs learn the nuances of business ownership and build a comprehensive business canvas; the goal being to launch businesses that create jobs and circulate dollars locally. Businesses receiving the Business Plan Award in 2021 include:

  • All Walks Yoga
  • Candied Confection
  • Fit Over It
  • Food On Da Move
  • Pearl's Pantry
  • Zoe Wheels

Through the Space Award, accepted business owners will have the opportunity to be matched with top commercial properties in Akron and receive technical assistance from Bounce, the Minority Business Assistance Center, or the Small Business Development Center to help them choose their space.  Enrolled businesses will also be eligible for micro-grants to have attorneys review their lease documents. Businesses receiving this award include:

  • All Walks Yoga
  • Beautiful Minds Group
  • Project Sew United
  • Discovery Point Early Learning Center
  • Ernie's Catering
  • Fat T's Cookies
  • Get Grit Fit Athletics
  • Kenmore Brew Works
  • Law Office of Kandee Robinson
  • Sweet and Savvy LLC
  • American Karate Institute of Akron
  • The Tea Lady
  • Tipped and Waxed Nail Nook
  • Diamond Paws

Telia Anderson, owner of Tipped and Waxed Nail Nook, was forced to close down her previous salon at the height of the pandemic. After spending the last year operating as a traveling manicurist, Anderson is eager to relaunch what will be the only Black female owned nail salon in Akron. “I’m very excited to be part of the Rubber City Match program,” Anderson said. “This opportunity will allow me to hire within our community again, as well as provide an affordable, professional, healthy nail spa that caters to the needs of those within the community.”

“Starting a business is one way to create generational wealth, but Akron’s Black residents face additional hurdles when launching a business,” Sean Vollman, Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development said. “Programs like Rubber City Match are designed to remove some of those barriers and make it easier for entrepreneurs to get the startup capital and support they need.  The goal is to help them create a thriving, sustainable business right here in Akron.”

For more information on the program, please visit www.rubbercitymatch.com.

For further information, contact:
City of Akron Press Office
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

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