Business Catalyst Program Launched at Akron-Canton Airport

Apr 22, 2022

Link: https://www.akroncantonairport.com/home/business/newsroom/airport-news/news/369


Local entrepreneurs have a new opportunity to establish a footprint at the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK), reaching thousands of potential customers each week.


CAK has launched a business catalyst program aimed to encourage the success of disadvantaged and minority owned business enterprises by supplying terminal space at a trial rate.


“The program is intended to help local entrepreneurs jump-start business and grow into permanent retailers at the airport,” said Ren Camacho, CAK President and CEO. “The end goal is to increase exposure and grow business for program participants which in turn will help our region prosper and grow in an equitable way.”


By eliminating the financial barrier of rent, a physical storefront or installation can be tested for various products and services to gauge long-term success. Upon establishment, rent is $1 per 30 days for the initial 180 days of implementation on airport property. Beyond day 181, the business and airport have the option to enter into a traditional concession agreement.


Not only do the entrepreneurs learn more about curating an in-person shopping experience, but the airport also receives valuable feedback as to what travelers seek from the concession space.

The program was piloted with Defining Enterprises, LLC, an Akron-based multi-faceted, female, minority-owned enterprise. Defining Enterprises produces automated retail machines that offers products ranging from over-the counter pharmaceuticals to flat irons, with the ability to adapt and cater to demand. The machines also offer high-definition advertising space.


“Guided by CAK’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the travel experience while supporting local business, this new amenity offers additional retail options requested by our guests,” said Camacho. “We are also proud to onboard another local, minority-owned business partner as we strive to create more opportunities for meaningful economic growth within our community.”

As a fitting candidate, the Western Reserve Community Fund provided small business start-up capital for Defining Enterprises to produce the automated retail machines, now found at CAK.

“We are pleased that Akron-Canton Airport jumped on the opportunity to become our first airport partner to host this concept, which adds a new element to their travelers’ experience,” said Celeste Brown, CEO and Founder of Defining Enterprises, LLC. “Under the current travel environment, people want contactless convenience. I think this is a tremendous opportunity to grow and bring a new, modern customer experience and amenity to other airports, universities, and malls.”


Defining Enterprises trial period will end in August 2022, at that point both parties will evaluate performance and customer feedback to determine next steps.


“Automated retail machines are a part of the changing future of retail and by 2024 this market is poised to grow by $9B”. said Celeste Brown, CEO and Founder of Defining Enterprises, LLC. “One of our goals is to educate people on the differences between automated retail machines and vending machines; we will be starting a YouTube channel and writing an eBook on this little-known, growing industry.”


Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), and Women Business Enterprises (WBE) are highly encouraged to apply.


To learn more, or apply for the program, interested parties may reach out to CAK Vice President of Business Development, Robert Hartigan.

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About Defining Enterprises, LLC

Established in 2020 in Akron, Ohio, Defining Enterprises, LLC is a multi-faceted, female, minority-owned enterprise. Defining Enterprises, LLC has established themselves in the automated retail vending industry (Defining Essentials) and features a private label luxury 3D mink lash line, Y D Y lashes. Defining Enterprises, LLC also provides commercial parking lot clean-up and snow removal services (Defining Lots). Learn more at definingenterprises.com or Instagram.

About Akron-Canton Airport

The Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) connects travelers to the world through nonstop and easy, one-stop flights. As Northeast Ohio’s preferred airport, CAK ensures the health and well-being of passengers while providing an easy, convenient airport experience. Keep up to date on all things CAK at akroncantonairport.com, Facebook or Twitter.


As Ohio’s first airport to receive accreditation under the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation program, CAK has proven its commitment to customers by implementing cutting-edge practices and emerging technologies to ensure a clean environment for all at the airport. Learn more about CAK’s health and safety procedures here.

Akron-Canton Airport, a better way to go.