Business Catalyst Program

A Better Way To Go Akron Canton Airport

About the Business Catalyst Program

CAK's Business Catalyst Program encourages the success of disadvantaged and minority owned business enterprises by supplying terminal space at a trial rate. By eliminating the financial barrier of rent, a physical storefront 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. For more information please contact

Business Catalyst Program General Requirements:

  • Proprietor has DBE/ACDBE certification from the state of Ohio
  • Proprietor must reside in Northeast Ohio with local mailing address
  • Proprietor must be a founder and maintain a minimum of 51% ownership of the business
  • Legal documentation of business, operating agreement, and logo required for review
  • Business financials with emphasis on most recent 6-months of sales or, if a new business, forecasted sales required for review
  • Vendors license required (Summit County)
  • Non-vending business proprietors must have availability to staff or make reasonable accommodations to staff
  • Bespoke locally sourced products, unique service offerings, and/or an exclusive licensing agreement required
  • All product offerings must be approved by CAK administrative team
  • General resale is not permitted outside of vending
  • Pricing must remain competitive and cannot exceed 10% of common market value
  • Transactions are the sole responsibility of the proprietor
  • Business must meet/maintain minimum insurance requirements
  • Those outside of the vending program are required to purchase an approved kiosk cart
  • Consignment considerations will be made on a case-by-case basis

Please note that products/services that conflict with existing retail or concession offerings, including those already within the Business Catalyst Program, or those that have participated and entered into an official lease agreement, will not be considered. All products/concepts are intended to have viability for success in an airport environment, while corresponding with CAK passenger numbers and space availability. Product and service fit are at the sole discretion of CAK administrative team.

Business Catalyst Program Additional Vending/Food Service Requirements:

  • Vending units must be branded with graphic approval from CAK prior to placement
  • Vending owners must be within reasonable driving distance if the machine accepts cash/cards via insert and are required to list their direct phone line on unit
  • Distance requirement does not apply to swipe/scan units and non-cash units, but direct phone line must still be listed
  • Resale is permitted within vending, but products sourced are encouraged to have a strong Northeast Ohio tie
  • Food based products and/or services must have applicable certification for consideration


Who is eligible to participate?

In addition to our general requirements, eligible participants are DBE/ACDBE certified as a for-profit business that performs or seeks to perform transportation related work (or a concession activity) for a recipient of Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration, or Federal Aviation Administration funds.

The firm must be at least 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual who also controls it.

The firm’s disadvantaged owner is a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent U.S. resident.

The firm meets the Small Business Administrator’s size standard and DBE/ACDBE size standards found here:

Are Akron-Canton Airport employees and tenants eligible to participate in the programming?

Akron-Canton Airport employees and tenants are not eligible to participate.

What certifications are required and who is the accrediting party?                      

The Unified Certification Program (UCP) is a one-stop certification program that eliminates the need for a firm to obtain certification from multiple agencies within Ohio. The UCP is responsible for certifying firms and maintaining a database of certified DBEs and ACDBEs, pursuant to the eligibility standards found in C.F.R. Parts 23 and 26.5. The Ohio UCP application can be found here:

Is information submitted to CAK as part of evaluation and participation subject to Freedom of Information Act FOIA requests?

Information shared with CAK as part of the programming is subject to Freedom of Information FOIA requests.

How many program participants can CAK support in a calendar year?

For the 2024 calendar, CAK can support up to two participants per quarter in a calendar year, which includes those within the program currently. Participants are considered on a first come, first served basis.