Entrepreneurism, Oberlin and Sustainable Economic Growth

Posted by Cullen Naumoff
Cullen Naumoff
Cullen Naumoff, joined the Oberlin Project in September 2014 as the Director of
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on January 14, 2015 in Resilient Economy

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


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Cullen Naumoff, joined the Oberlin Project in September 2014 as the Director of Sustainable Enterprise. In this role, Cullen leads the sustainable economic initiatives to drive smart growth in and around Oberlin, Ohio. Cullen brings to this role innovative and inclusive strategies that aim to both attract and grow triple bottom lined businesses in the community.

Prior to joining The Oberlin Project, Cullen was the Vision 2030 Project Director at the Charleston Area Alliance. The Charleston Area Alliance is a multifaceted, regional economic development entity re-charting the course of West Virginia’s economic future. She drove the long-term economic development strategy to capitalize on the strengths of West Virginia and match them with emerging megatrends to position the state to become a development model among many emerging entrepreneurial industries and policies.

Cullen was a Teach for America Corp member in New York City where she taught middle school math and science. Post completion of graduate school in 2010 in NYC, she joined forces with Bayer Corporation to assist in designing their North American sustainability strategy out of the Pittsburgh headquarters.

Cullen received her BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University and her MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. She resides in Oberlin, OH where outside of the office you’ll find her marathoning, teaching spin (indoor cycling) and exploring all things wild and wonderful.


Kyra N. Shields January 21, 2015

It's great to read about these opportunities in Oberlin! I wish I could make it to the Slow Train event :)

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