Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office is pleased to announce an innovative initiative intended to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and reduce downtown vacancies. Project Pop-Up, supported by funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is designed to provide several Delaware entrepreneurs an opportunity to be “open for business” in select downtowns by offering commercial space, rent-free for three months during the 2012 holiday season.
Project Pop-Up is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in Delaware and creating a possible infrastructure for future downtown economic development. Both existing businesses looking to expand and new businesses looking for a low risk entry into the marketplace are encouraged to apply for the program which starts in October.
“We encourage fledgling business owners, new entrepreneurs and existing entrepreneurs that may be interested in locating in a downtown location to complete an application,” said Diane Laird, DEDO State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware. “The anticipated community support of these businesses will contribute to the entrepreneur’s success while providing the community with appropriate and sustainable retailers and/or service providers.”
The success of the business in this temporary location may lead the entrepreneur to commit to a long long-term lease. Spaces are available in currently vacant properties in four designated Main Street communities: Dover, Middletown, Milford and Wilmington. In downtown Milford, property owner Daniel Bond is providing 106 NW Front Street as the commercial space for Project Pop-Up.
Applications will be accepted from small business owners through Saturday, September 15, 2012. A panel of representatives from DEDO, USDA, and participating Main Street towns will review applications to select the best qualified applicant for each space.
At least one business owner will be selected for each participating town and will be notified by September 24. In preparation for opening the business, winners will participate in a one?on?one consultation with a business coach between September 26 and October 3 to ensure likelihood of a successful launch of the business by October 15, and then continued running of the business.
Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) will be helping DEDO find a suitable business partner that would benefit their business along with the downtown Milford area as a result of the project. DMI Director, Lee Nelson, is hoping that through Project Pop-Up a business can locate downtown and draw a large enough clientele to encourage them to stay as a permanent business.
“This project offers an entrepreneurial oriented business the opportunity to be successful and contribute to our already vibrant and growing downtown business area,” commented Nelson. “It is great to see DEDO taking such an active role in this project which will benefit downtown Milford.”