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Akron's entrepreneurial ecosystem gets a new tool to connect entrepreneurs to resources

A screenshot from the Greater Akron Business Navigator's website that gives business support resources to entrepreneurs.
Greater Akron Business Navigator
The Greater Akron Business Navigator launched this month to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need.

Entrepreneurs in Akron now have a streamlined tool at their fingertips to get them the help they need. The Greater Akron Business Navigator was launched earlier this month.

The website is part of Elevate Greater Akron, the economic development plan for the region. The business navigator was launched by the Greater Akron Chamber, but the project is a collaboration with Akron’s entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, Brynn Popa with the Chamber said.

“There’s over 60 organization as part of this work with over 200 resources that are highlighted in the website," Popa said.

Supporting organizations include the Akron Urban League, Bounce Innovation Hub, the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, the Downtown Akron Partnership and the GAR Foundation.

The website is helping to connect entrepreneurs with everything from capital assistance to strategy to help with finding a location or hiring staff, and it's designed to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need in a more efficient manner. That was a complaint entrepreneurs had navigating the ecosystem before, Senior Manager of Projects and Initiatives Paige Freel said.

“People were getting frustrated, because they would go one place and then get passed off to another place and passed off, right?," Freel said.

The hope is that the site will make accessing resources easier for entrepreneurs.

"It's really done under the premise that businesses are busy and getting help shouldn't be," Popa said.

This is just phase one of the project. In the next few months, resources from Medina and Portage Counties will be added to the site as well.

"Phase two over the next three to six months will be working to go through the similar exercise to enrich those resources in those counties as well in collaboration with the economic development partners in those regions," Popa said.

Popa hopes this resource, as well as the rest of Elevate Greater Akron, brings more business into the area.

"This resource is meant to be another layer of that support and to illustrate to businesses who are outside of the region potentially looking for a new home that our region is a place that wants to see them succeed," Popa said.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.