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The Greater West Dayton Incubator

The Greater West Dayton Incubator

The Greater West Dayton Incubator (GWDI) was conceived at the intersections of the University of Dayton’s (UD) most recent strategic visioning process and courageous conversations with Greater West Dayton leaders to mitigate power imbalances between the city’s predominantly Black neighborhoods and the Catholic Marianist university. This strategic initiative is part of UD’s plan-of-action to become an anti-racist institution and will provide opportunities for students to work alongside entrepreneurs to start, scale, and sustain businesses and social ventures. 

To be located in West Dayton, home to the vast majority of Dayton’s African-American population, the GWDI is designed to serve as a pathway for neighborhood entrepreneurs and innovators into the region’s startup ecosystem. The GWDI will offer micro-lending services, networking opportunities, training and education, consulting services, and additional resources to startups and underrepresented firms. The GWDI is designed to provide a connection for neighborhood entrepreneurs and innovators to the university and its resources, as well as a pathway into the region’s startup ecosystem.

The GWDI demonstrates to current and future UD students how anchor institutions like UD can be a catalyst for action in their communities. By engaging with local partners, students will have the opportunity to help lead the effort to create a broader and more inclusive startup ecosystem in the Dayton region. Not only will they have an opportunity to help lead the effort, they will see first-hand the impact of that effort. Through the GWDI students will develop a true appreciation for community leadership and engagement through a unique lens of innovation and entrepreneurship. The hands-on opportunity to practice community leadership through this lens will teach UD students its value and provide them with an experience they can carry forward to impact the communities where they will live.

By engaging with the Greater West Dayton Incubator, University of Dayton students will engage in an effort for the common good. They will be provided an opportunity to leverage the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to serve “Main Street” businesses and social ventures that are ignored in many startup communities. They will learn that by serving these entrepreneurs and innovators they are helping to support others who are lifting up a neighborhood, and how one positive impact, with one entrepreneurial or social venture, can provide a positive impact for all. In addition, as a result of these cross-cultural experiences, students will enhance their capacity for working effectively across multiple dimensions of diversity; capacities that are increasingly valued and sought after by Fortune 500 companies. They will see first-hand the positive repercussions that result from a focus on the common good.

Understanding that building a more inclusive ecosystem for Dayton entrepreneurs cannot be accomplished alone, The GWDI is a joint venture between the University of Dayton’s L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and The Entrepreneurs Center’s Entrepreneurial Service Provider (ESP) program. This is an initiative that will provide UD students with a unique, hands-on learning opportunity in developing new businesses and social ventures. It will engage UD students in an effort to lead the creation of a broader, more inclusive ecosystem and allow them to leverage their skills in an effort focused on serving the common good.  


1105 W Third Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402