COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — Columbus’ elected leaders want to help female entrepreneurs and minority-owned businesses set up shop in brick-and-mortar downtown spaces.

To achieve that goal, Columbus City Council is taking steps to open a new downtown marketplace, Councilman Nick Bankston said. The marketplace program would include graduated rent support, a tenant renovation fund and technical assistance.

Plans are still in the early stages and an exact location for the market has yet to be selected. But Bankston said the goal is to find an area that already has retail activity, and serve as a “catalyst” for continued growth of both the tenants and downtown Columbus.

At the end of this quarter, the city will begin seeking an entity to offer the technical assistance. That entity could also serve as the master leaseholder for the facility, or two different organizations could be involved.

Once responses come in, Columbus City Council would need to vote on the contract recipient.

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