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Leonardo Enterprises

You are Just in Time for the Startup Revolution!

Dayton, Ohio, has a rich history of high-tech innovation and creativity — from the Wright Brothers and Charles Kettering to the Air Force Research Laboratories. Major cities in Ohio, the U. S. and around the world are witnessing the global startup revolution unfold in real-time, and our burgeoning startup community is primed for explosive growth. 

Do You Want In? 

The University of Dayton School of Engineering has answered the call with a resounding, “Yes!”

We Fund People not Projects

Leonardo Enterprises is a high-tech startup incubator designed for ambitious undergraduate individuals aiming at becoming technology entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

  • Are you interested in how to combine engineering and business?
  • Would you like to solve real-world problems for the common good and create genuine value?
  • Have you thought about Dayton’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and an interaction with their startup community?
  • Do you want to grow your ability to understand yourself and others to become a better leader?
  • Do you dream of becoming a technology entrepreneur or intrapreneur but aren’t sure how to get there?
  • Do you have what it takes to help build the future and maybe change the world?

Yes? Then, your Hero’s Journey might start here with Leonardo Enterprises.

What Will It Look Like to be a Leonardo Fellow?

  1. Final selections for fall cohort made in June
  2. Once cohort members notified and confirmed, summer pre-work assigned (to be completed prior to returning to campus).
  3. Upon returning for the fall semester, fellows engage in a blended learning format via Isidore and in person.

  1. You will tell your story to your family, friends, cohort members, professors, local entrepreneurs and other community leaders.
  2. You will put a stake in the ground and commit to your specific entrepreneurial aims, located at the intersection of what the world needs and what you feel that you are uniquely suited to do.
  3. You will have the opportunity to make an “ask,” be it capital, connections or other collaborative resources to help you in your Hero’s Journey.

  1. Unique senior design funding opportunities for a project of your choice via the School of Engineering’s Innovation Center.
  2. Specialized University of Dayton entrepreneurship education, including MGT 426: Fundamentals of New Tech Ventures and much more.
  3. Intellectual property education, collaboration and commercialization opportunities.
  4. Ease of access to countless resources outside of UD in the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem and startup community. Check out our Program Partner links for more info!

Key Benefits of Being a Leonardo Fellow

Money and intellectual property (via UD or the University of Dayton Research Institute


Mentorship and networking


Coworking space and equipment (via UD or UDRI)


Tools and frameworks

  • Self-discovery, including self-authoring
  • Lean startup methodology
  • Business, including cash and valuation, customers and sales, and operations and costs
  • Marketing and design
  • Legal

Frequently Asked Questions

  • No, the program is open to all University of Dayton undergraduate students. We seek diverse undergraduate individuals aimed at creating genuine value for the common good by solving real world problems through use of technological tools.  If that is you, feel free to apply!

Of course! However, as successful entrepreneurs know (and unsuccessful inventors do not), identifying the problem to be solved is much more important than identifying the technology or idea that might be used to solve it. You will likely have to pivot and iterate many times to find an appropriate solution and business model for your real-world problem. The more that you can succinctly state the problem that you are interested in solving for the world, without being too attached to a specific technology solution, the better off you will be heading into the Leonardo Enterprises Fellowship.

"Customers don’t care about your solution. They care about their problems." —Dave McClure, 500 Startups


No, course credit is not available. You must plan on all fellowship work to fall outside of the purview of your normal course load.


Depending on the public health situation, there may be in-person activities that are required for you and your cohort to attend this fall. We are, however, prepared to operate a fully remote program.