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Greater West Dayton Incubator celebrates community, entrepreneurs during grand opening

The Greater West Dayton Incubator, an initiative to support Black, women and other underrepresented business owners, will celebrate the community and entrepreneurs during a grand opening of its public office at 1105 W. Third St. on Dec. 7.

“The grand opening, which was delayed by the pandemic, is a great opportunity to tell everyone the incubator is here and ready to connect entrepreneurs with mentors, industry partners, students who can help strategize and solve business challenges, and a host of other resources to help you launch and grow,” said Whitney Barkley, incubator director. “Together we can be a catalyst for an entrepreneurial ecosystem where success is not defined by zip codes and/or backgrounds.”

The incubator offers access to working space, consulting, training, capital and other resources, with a focus on the Greater West Dayton neighborhood. It was developed in partnership by community leaders of Greater West Dayton and the University of Dayton to help create a more inclusive economy, which can drive positive change in the community.

Since its soft launch March 2020, the incubator has been involved in the launch of the Startup Grounds bistro, which features food from underrepresented vendors at The Hub Powered by PNC, and facilitated about $300,000 in contracts for local Black-owned businesses at The Hub Powered by PNC and Dayton Arcade. It launched the Cultural Capital microloan program to support underrepresented entrepreneurs; has been involved in Flyer Pitch, which awarded more than $75,000 to Black company founders during the 2020 competition; formed an advisory council of local leaders and entrepreneurs; and connected businesses with students on projects to help the companies grow. 

The incubator also offers expertise for tech-based companies through the Entrepreneurs’ Center entrepreneurial service provider program. Local banks also offer financial education, and the incubator brings in other guest speakers, coaches and mentors. And more programs begin in 2022, including the Business Blitz series of classes that will teach business owners to legitimize, capitalize and digitize their ventures. Each session will include a deliverable, such as a web page for a business.

“It’s all about access,” said advisory council member Christina Mendéz, CEO and founder of Irene-Marie Consulting. “Resources exist, but they have not been accessible for Black and brown people. My hope is we break institutional barriers. I can’t wait to simplify this and make it so much easier to catapult people’s dreams. Everyone should have the right to catapult their dreams.”

The grand opening is set for 2 p.m. at the National Parks Service building across from the incubator office on Third Street to provide adequate space. The event will include tours of the incubator office and a ribbon cutting ceremony by local entrepreneurs featured in the incubator’s Wall of Entrepreneurial Excellence. The location is a starter for the incubator, while the University selects a permanent home in Greater West Dayton. 

More information is available on the incubator’s website,


News and Communications Staff