For Originals. By Originals.

Van Aken Entrepreneurial Initiatives

For inquiries about the Van Aken Entrepreneur Initiative, please email

Van Aken District Carts Application: Now accepting applications. Click here to apply.

The Van Aken District has always endeavored to be a collection of local and regionally owned small businesses providing unique products and experiences with an equally intriguing story. Our tagline and driving force is, “For Originals. By Originals.” We are proud of the unique mix of products and service offerings as well as the diversity of vendors and business owners in the Van Aken District.

The Van Aken District Entrepreneurial Initiatives program is designed to enhance this mission by offering early-stage entrepreneurs – especially people of color, women, and all underrepresented entrepreneurs – the opportunity to showcase their ideas, products, and services within the Van Aken District community. Our goal is to lower market barriers and minimize risks associated with starting up or expanding a business. Through a holistic set of support services from other merchants, non-profits, and partners, including the City of Shaker Heights, we hope to grow these burgeoning entrepreneurs into the future restauranteurs and merchants in the Van Aken District and beyond.

Learn from Van Aken District merchants
Access to programs and seminars on business development
Marketing support from Van Aken District and professionals
Invitation to participate in the Van Aken Business Association
Business plan creation assistance
Connections to assistance with MBE/FBE certification processesRetail Opportunities




Makers Markets

Mobile Retail Carts

The Corner