Blogs from Cullen Naumoff Mon, 02 Jan 2017 19:35:21 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb SEED Ventures SEED Ventures Logo and Text

SEED Ventures (SEED) is growing local entrepreneurs for financial, social, and environmental success.  SEED, a new Oberlin Project initiative, is a pop-up marketplace and incubator aimed at developing sustainable business models, increasing foot-traffic and business activity in Lorain County, and promoting economic growth through innovation.  SEED works with local entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of development, targeting those entrepreneurs with a prototype with sales up to $10,000 in annual revenue.

Visit for the application to participate and more information.

A pillar of The Oberlin Project (TOP) is sustainable economic growth.  Growth results as entrepreneurs innovate and produce a better and/or new product for the marketplace.  SEED Ventures is one of the tools to create an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem.  SEED will support emerging entrepreneurs through business coaching, student-driven marketing and graphic design support and most importantly, free retail space in downtown Oberlin to test the marketplace.  Six entrepreneurs will be featured in SEED's inaugural run who have a commitment to the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.

The initiative will operate from September 2015 through January 2016.  Entrepreneurs will participate in business education workshops designed to assist SEED entrepreneurs identify goals and business needs, as well as transition their ventures after the completion of the program.  In October, a pop-up (ie: temporary) downtown marketplace will open for SEED entrepreneurs to test the market through sale of their product/service and will close at the end of December.  SEED aims to work with entrepreneurs in Oberlin’s four target markets: agriculture/local food, arts/tourism, energy efficiency, and resource recovery, althoughwe(delete we) will accept applications from entrepreneurs in any sector.

The Oberlin Project invites all emerging entrepreneurs and small business owners to submit an application. A review committee will invite the top 12 applicants for in-person interviews.  The application is due at 11:59pm on July 15th, 2015.  Entrepreneurs will be notified of their acceptance by August 14th.  

SEED is also currently seeking partnerships to support the initiative.  For more information on how to become a partner with SEED Ventures, please visit our partner page here.

You can follow SEED on Twitter @SEED_Oberlin to get updates about all of their deadlines and opportunities.  Questions should be directed to com or at 440.503.3748. There will be an information session about the SEED Ventures for applicants at 7pm on June 25th in the Community room at the Oberlin Public Library.

]]> (Cullen Naumoff) Resilient Economy Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:40:04 +0000
Entrepreneurism, Oberlin and Sustainable Economic Growth ID-10032685In Oberlin, sustainability is more than a buzzword, it is a tool that drives innovation—that transforms community by changing behavior and promoting sustainable economic development. Sustainable economic development generates economic wealth that is based on the triple bottom line, balancing impact and opportunity to people, profit and planet.  Market solutions are generated that produce improved economic opportunity (reduces the growing income disparity between the rich and the poor), accounts for impact to the environment and value of ecosystem services in financial accounting, and finally and most familiar, creates flows of dollars at the local, regional and global scales.  As you know, Oberlin isn’t afraid of doing something a little different.

The Oberlin Project is challenging individuals in and outside of Oberlin to use the triple bottom line to generate solutions that change the way we create, deploy and do business.  Oberlin is home to a wealth of human resources representative of many demographics including age, experience, socioeconomic status, race and educational attainment.  This diversity is key to the wealth of ideas generated in our community.  Of course, not all of these ideas are market ready, or even market worthy, but they do represent the seeds of economic development to be further evaluated and supported by technical service agents in Oberlin and northeast Ohio.  

Support comes in the form of capital, technical assistance, mentorship and entrepreneurial communities.

Going forward, you’ll hear more from The Oberlin Project about entrepreneurism, particularly as it relates to our four target economic markets: local agriculture, energy efficiency, resource recovery, arts/tourism and any possible intersection thereof.  Entrepreneurial ecosystems flourish because communities are supportive of big thinking, using information to evaluate the changing world and are open to a new and different future.  We are committed to this in Oberlin.

Interested in the entrepreneurial ecosystem?  Consider these call to actions:


  • Have an idea?  Need a partner for a business venture?  Join Oberlin’s first entrepreneur gathering to meet other local entrepreneurs,  learn about regional entrepreneurial resources and think big. Tuesday, January 20th from 5:30-7:30pm at Slow Train.

  • If you’re currently pursuing a business venture in Oberlin and need assistance contact Cullen at

  • Outside of Oberlin and considering a move or start-up relocation? Ohio and Oberlin have some interesting things to offer, including an electricity portfolio that’s soon to be 87% renewable.  Contact Cullen at for more information.


]]> (Cullen Naumoff) Resilient Economy Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:06:08 +0000
City of Oberlin's Zero Waste Plan Goals While this February’s fire that destroyed the City of Oberlin’s refuse fleet was not an ideal scenario, it did provide a catalyst for the City to rethink its public recycling and refuse program.  The new process, which launches this week, is one step toward realizing the City’s new Zero Waste policy, passed by City Council in May 2014.  Oberlin’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Commission worked closely with the City to develop the new zero waste policy.

Each residence will receive two 64-gallon carts; one for recycling and one for refuse.  The City’s revised recycling process does not require sorting on behalf of the residents.  Multiple sources have noted that mixed, single stream has proven to improve recycling rates in municipalities by 30%-%50%, nationally.  All recyclables will be taken to Republic’s recycling facility just east of town.  Republic’s facility was built in 2013 and uses an advanced sorting system with the latest technology in mechanical and optical sorting.  The facility is touted as one of the most advanced in the state.

Arguably, the most innovative aspect of the new recycling & refuse program is the purchase of three hybrid hydraulic recycling trucks with automated pickup.  Oberlin is the first municipality in the state of Ohio to purchase and utilize these fuel-efficient trucks.   Parker Hannifin, the collection by about 30%.

Students at Oberlin College played a role in enabling the City to purchase these state-of-the-art recycling trucks through funds made available by the Green Edge Fund.  In the fall of 2007, Oberlin College students voted to raise their student fees to support the creation of the Green Edge Fund.  Every semester students pay $20 toward the fund that uses this money to fund efficiency and sustainability project on campus and in the broader Oberlin community.  This year, the Fund approved a grant for up to $10,000 per truck for up to three trucks to the City of Oberlin to restore and modernize their recycling program.

The city also received, with the assistance of Lorain County Solid Waste Management District (LCSWMD), a grant for $200,000 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to use toward the purchase of the hybrid hydraulic trucks and recovery of recycling operations.  

]]> (Cullen Naumoff) Community Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:20:58 +0000