(ATLANTA, Ga.) Online businesses in Decatur will soon be able to become a brick-and-mortar location for a limited time in the city.
Thanks to Decatur’s new retail incubator program, many businesses in the area that operate solely online will be able to test their concepts through the new initiative. The retail incubator program is a joint effort between the city and the Decatur Downtown Development Authority (DDA.) The program was announced Monday, a month after the DDA allocated $25,000 for the program.
Funds will go toward providing rental assistance for six months for a pop-up or co-op space for up to six businesses that operate either solely online or in a festival/expo setting, according to a news release. In addition to short-term leases, the program will offer businesses training and mentorship from an array of business community members, including fellow small business owners, accountants, bank representatives and more.
"This incubator program presents a tremendous opportunity to entrepreneurs who have built a strong business online and are confident the market will support a physical presence," DDA Chair Conor McNally said. "Our research showed similar programs have been very successful in places like Memphis, Tenn., and Dayton, Ohio, so we are excited about the economic growth and innovation this can spur for Decatur."
To be eligible for the program, applicants must:
- Have been operating for at least two years.
- Have no more than 10 employees.
- Pay for half of the rent associated with the temporary space.
- Share income statements.
- Produce a business plan.
The application opened at 8 a.m. Monday and closes Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. No more than 10 finalists will be chosen by Sept. 12 and six winners will be selected by Sept. 15 and moved into the retail space by Oct. 15.
"From The Square to the Old Depot District, our economy is largely built on experiences, so the incubator is an investment both in our future and budding entrepreneurs," Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said. "This program signals Decatur is committed to bringing people back together and supporting the brick-and-mortar retailers that make our culture second to none."
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