SEED Ventures

Posted by Cullen Naumoff
Cullen Naumoff
Cullen Naumoff, joined the Oberlin Project in September 2014 as the Director of
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on June 17, 2015 in Resilient Economy

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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.

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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.


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