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Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, applications for Rubber City Match have been extended to May 8, 2020

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 03-26-2020

Akron, OH (March 26, 2020) — One month ago, Mayor Dan Horrigan formally announced the City of Akron’s Rubber City Match program. This program will pair new and existing businesses with financial aid, technical assistance, and vacant retail properties in Great Streets Akron districts. It has been designed to achieve two goals at once: boost Akron’s neighborhood retail zones and remove barriers for new and expanding businesses to thrive locally.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, applications for Rubber City Match have been extended, and are now due on May 8, 2020.  Visit for more information.

Entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses often face three major hurdles: Lack of training to create retail ready businesses at a meaningful scale, finding the right space for their business, and finding the necessary funds to open. Rubber City Match aims to help entrepreneurs overcome these major hurdles to not only start up their business but to grow and expand, providing a catalyst for a booming local economy.

“Now, more than ever, our small and startup businesses will fuel Akron’s revival, and supporting their success is a key pillar of my economic development strategy,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “We’ve extended applications for the Rubber City Match program to ensure everyone has the time and ability to apply. This program will guide entrepreneurs through the steps to viability. It will also help our property owners find vetted tenants who will be partners in renovating these important neighborhood corridors.”

The program features four award levels for business and building owners:

  • Business Plan Award: Free tuition to attend Mortar at Bounce, sharpen your business skills and develop your business plan. 
  • Space Award: Get matched with the right space for your business, receive technical assistance to help you choose your space, and be eligible for microgrants to have attorneys review your lease documents
  • Design Award: Meet with architects and be eligible to receive grants to pay for architectural drawings for the build-out of your new space
  • Cash Award: Up to $100,000 in grants will be given away to small businesses in year 1 of Rubber City Match! Meet with lenders who focus on supporting small businesses. If there is a gap between what the business owner can put into the project and what the lenders are willing to lend, business owners are eligible to receive grants from the City to fill the financial gap.

Rubber City Match is based on a successful program launched in Detroit in 2015, which has now served over 1,300 businesses and leveraged over $41 million in investment. Winning businesses must also agree to locate within the City of Akron for at least two (2) years and demonstrate a benefit to the community.

A special thank you to our partners including Bounce, the Minority Business Assistant Center at the Akron Urban League, Small Business Development Center, Economic Community Development Institute, ASIA Inc., HFLA of Northeast Ohio, American Institute of Architects (AIA)- Akron Chapter, and Akron Bar Association.

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary & Senior Strategic Counsel
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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