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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, May 11, 202102:46 PM EST

Sleiman Enterprises launching retail incubator

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The program is designed to help first-time business owners open storefronts.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Sleiman Enterprises is seeking applications for the inaugural class of its retail incubation program, RISE – Retail Incubator for Sleiman Entrepreneurs.

The incubator is geared toward retail entrepreneurs and first-time business owners, helping them “kickstart their business and open a brick-and-mortar store” in a Sleiman shopping center, according to a news release from the company.

RISE will help lower the startups’ first-year costs by providing free base rent for one year. The Sleiman specialty leasing team will teach entrepreneurs about retail leasing, sales forecasting and space design. 

The goal is to develop the concept by the second year, when the entrepreneur signs a traditional lease. 

Sleiman has set aside several storefronts in Jacksonville for the incubator participants. 

Applicants must be first-time business owners, possess a minimum capital and credit requirement, have a business plan and proof of concept and have a website and social media presence.

“The how and why behind consumers’ shopping behavior is consistently evolving,” Andrea Johansson, Sleiman special project/sales associate and RISE lead, said in the release.

“Now is a great time for entrepreneurs to test their product and/or service, especially in a growing market like Northeast Florida. We chose the words Incubator and Entrepreneur for our program to illustrate the type of participants we are looking for – those who are truly market testing their concept and those who are relentlessly driven toward success.”  

The Sleiman specialty leasing team will review the applications. Director of Marketing Samantha Ashcraft said Sleiman hopes to accommodate as many applicants as possible.

The release said Sleiman started the program to help entrepreneurs “make their dreams come true,” like the Sleiman family did after immigrating to Jacksonville from Lebanon in 1949.

“Our father Eli Sleiman moved to Jacksonville and started this company in 1955,” brothers Toney, Joe and Eli Sleiman said in a statement.

“His entrepreneurial spirit led him to his success and achieving the American Dream.”

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