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Greater West Dayton Incubator manager named

The University of Dayton has hired Karlos L. Marshall — an entrepreneur, University alumnus, and co-founder of The Conscious Connect nonprofit dedicated to neighborhood revitalization — as manager of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, a project envisioned by and being developed in partnership with community leaders of Greater West Dayton.

The incubator, which will be located in West Dayton, will provide networking opportunities, training and education, consulting services, referrals to other entrepreneurial networks, and additional resources to startups and underrepresented firms. It will bring together entrepreneurs and University students, providing students hands-on learning opportunities in developing new businesses and social ventures. 

The incubator idea grew out of longstanding conversations between community and University leaders on how to address needs of the Greater West Dayton community and provide meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students. 

“The Greater West Dayton Incubator will harness the innovative spirit of local entrepreneurs, University faculty, staff and students and leverage our collective resources to add economic and social value to our community,” said UD President Eric F. Spina. “Developing this incubator with community leaders not only enriches the educational experience for our students, it helps the University achieve our vision to deepen community partnerships in ways that have an even greater impact in Dayton.”

Plans for the incubator are still being developed, including identifying potential locations. 

“We’ve had almost three years of conversations leading to the incubator idea — a lot of work and hours put into exploration and research — so the group that has been involved is enthusiastic about the progress we’ve made up to this point,” said attorney and community organizer Branford Brown. “The concept is something to get excited about. It’s an opportunity to plant some businesses in West Dayton and empower some that are already here. We hope this is just the first of many partnerships that we think will be beneficial to both the community and the university.”

The Greater West Dayton Incubator will create a more inclusive startup ecosystem, and connect to the innovation hub at the Dayton Arcade being developed by the University and The Entrepreneurs Center, according to Vince Lewis, director of the University’s Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and president of The Hub at the Dayton Arcade. It also will connect to other resources like the city’s Minority Business Assistance Center and the Dayton chamber’s Minority Business Partnership. The incubator is supported by a donor gift and funding from the state’s Entrepreneurial Services Provider Program through The Entrepreneurs Center. The University will continue to seek external resources and sponsorships to ensure its long-term success. 

Marshall will start his new role March 2. He is currently coordinator of community and neighborhood partnerships for the University’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. Along with his work on campus and with his nonprofit, Marshall is founder and CEO of three start-ups in the region, including Purpose Based Learning Academy, which provides mentoring and consultation to disadvantaged small businesses and social ventures. He was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for education in 2019. 

Marshall holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wittenberg University; a graduate certificate in nonprofits and community leadership, and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Dayton. He is pursuing a doctorate in leadership for organizations from UD.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for all stakeholders and I’m honored to have been selected to lead the charge,” Marshall said. “With the zeal of collective impact, we will work to establish an equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem, serve as a hub for civic innovation and scholarship, and establish a new standard for community-university partnerships. The incubator will also serve as an invaluable experiential learning site for current and future UD students — that will prepare them for a diverse, competitive, and multifaceted global workforce and society.”


News and Communications Staff