Pop-up stores coming to town

Have you started a new businesses and need help marketing your product?

A new Oberlin Project initiative called SEED Ventures might be exactly what you need.

It’s a pop-up marketplace that will provide six entrepreneurs with downtown store fronts and help start-ups learn to build their business, be productive, and increase foot-traffic.

Cullen Naumoff, director of sustainable enterprise at the Oberlin Project, said SEED ventures allow entrepreneurs to test their products in a temporary space.

“They’ve been proven to be very successful from an entrepreneur prospect and increasing vibrancy downtown,” she said. “Entrepreneurs are the driver for growth.”

The location for the temporary businesses has not been chosen yet, but expect SEED to blossom in a vacant property that could use some care. The site will be open from October to December in Oberlin and free for the entrepreneurs to use.

Scott Hulver, lead SEED “grower,” said this initiative aims to have the six start-up companies work together in one store and help each other grow.

“We’re trying to build the community and bring people together,” he said.

Each entrepreneur will receive education on running a business from September through January.

The deadline to apply is July 15.

Then the top 12 applicants will be brought in for interviews on Aug. 15.

“We want businesses that compliment each other and people that will work well together,” Hulver said.

Naumoff said the program is looking to support entrepreneurs that match Oberlin’s four target markets: energy efficiency, local food and agriculture, resource recovery, and arts and tourism.

While those are the ideal categories, any start-up company will be accepted.

Anyone from Lorain County can apply for the program online at www.SEEDVenturesOberlin.org.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.