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Greater West Dayton Incubator awards first microloans

The Greater West Dayton Incubator awarded the first microloans to three Black- and woman-owned businesses for the equipment and marketing they need to grow.

TheZe DealZ thrift store boutique, Drakes and Associates janitorial and maintenance company, and Tosha’s Cleaning Service, a commercial cleaning company, are the first recipients. Applications for microloans remain open to other Black, woman and underrepresented entrepreneurs and businesses serving Greater West Dayton. The deadline to apply is March 7.

“These businesses are well established in the community, and they have clear plans to expand with this funding,” said Whitney Barkley, director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator. “We are excited to award these first microloans and begin fulfilling the program’s mission to create more equitable economic opportunities for business owners who have been historically marginalized.”

Twanna Drakes, owner of Drakes and Associates, said the microloan has been a “lifeline.”

“The Greater West Dayton Incubator is a long overdue resource for small business owners like myself to not just exist, but become impactful in our communities and allows us to compete with larger businesses,” she said. “I’m looking forward to using all the resources from the incubator.”

Cultural Capital microloans range from $500 to $15,000. The money can be used toward operating expenses, new equipment, website development, marketing, hiring staff and other costs of running a business. Applications are evaluated based on more flexible criteria emphasizing passion, persistence and planning.

CityWide and UD’s student-run Flyer Consulting are partners in distributing the microloans and supporting entrepreneurs with the loan process, financial wellness education and other services. 

An in-person application workshop is planned for 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at 1105 W. Third St. Registration information is available online. 

The microloan program builds on the efforts of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, created in partnership between community and University leaders with support from the Entrepreneurs' Center to support underrepresented businesses as they launch and grow by providing access to co-working space, consulting, training, capital and other resources. More information about the incubator is available online.


News and Communications Staff