Pounds: KickStart ToledoWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
Here is a promising idea we could pull together for great impact in Downtown Toledo.
Columbus recently organized a KickStart Columbus campaign. Columbus City Council and several community development organizations sponsored a contest and awarded free downtown office space for a year. According to a report in The Columbus Dispatch, “The goal is to help fledging local businesses take off, create jobs and make the Downtown corridor more vibrant.”
Doesn’t that mission sound familiar?
As many as three winners were possible in the competition, Councilman A. Troy Miller told The Columbus Dispatch.
After a year of free rent at properties owned by development organization Capital South, the KickStart winning companies pay 50 percent of the lease in the second year and 75 percent in the third year.
“Our goal is to have more activity Downtown, and retail is a key part of that,” said Amy Taylor, Capital South’s chief operating officer, in the news story. “KickStart is a wonderful mix of entrepreneurism and a perfect fit for us.”
Winning companies also get free mentoring from the Economic and Community Development Institute, a Columbus nonprofit, and up to $1,000 for signage.
A similar campaign would bring great attention to Downtown Toledo. A competition organizing space, signage and maybe even utility help could be a huge boost for the right companies.
Toledo Free Press will take the lead on starting the conversation with Toledo City Council and the appropriate development agencies. Using KickStart Columbus as a model, we could plan a competition that would offer a head start for a local business and bring further life to our revitalized Downtown.
I am open to your input and thoughts on this and will keep you updated on progress as we move the idea from concept to contest to reality.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.