The Wright Brothers Institute’s expansion of its 444 E. Second St. location will create an Air Force Midwestern Storefront to provide the region access to cutting-edge research, business acumen and funding opportunities. (Contributed photo)

Wright Brothers Institute expands AF presence in downtown Dayton

The Wright Brothers Institute is expanding the Air Force presence at its downtown Dayton location.

The expansion of its 444 E. Second St. location will create an Air Force Midwestern Storefront to provide the region access to cutting-edge research, business acumen and funding opportunities.

The institute will execute programming, facilitate events and provide operational support to connect partners, technologists, academia and industry to Air Force opportunities, accelerating concepts that become tomorrow’s advantage. The institute’s strategy will focus on expanding the number of highly qualified Air Force partners and paving commercialization pathways for those concepts to accelerate Air Force research and transition solutions to our nation’s Airmen.

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The expansion signals an appreciation Dayton’s small business community has developed for the resources and connectivity provided by WBI and the Air Force Research Laboratory at its downtown location, which opened in 2017.

“We have a network of over 3,000 members and coordinate over 40-plus collider events annually that allow small businesses to engage with the Air Force in an easier, faster way,” said the institute’s AFRL Small Business Hub Director Jim Masonbrink. “Because the Air Force’s Small Business Innovation Research program encompasses the entire Air Force, the institute’s expansion can connect more users, experts and concepts in a powerful way. We can break the cycle of stove-piped innovation.”

“This storefront promotes the open exchange of ideas and capabilities in order to rapidly advance the discovery and development of novel solutions,” said Scott Springer, director of Collaboration Services at the institute. “We’re now providing an environment where new ideas and capabilities can be explored across the full commercialization pathway, identifying new opportunities to more rapidly transition technology to end users.”

The Entrepreneurs Center and its nucleus co-working tenants who are relocating to accommodate the expanded presence acknowledge the broader vision and reginal growth opportunity being presented by the change.

“The Entrepreneurs Center was thrilled to partner with WBI and AFRL to launch the downtown space two years ago,” said center CEO Scott Koorndyk. “The startup and small business community in our region and across the country, is incredibly well supported by AFRL, and the Air Force SBIR program and we are proud to be a partner in those efforts. When a community like Dayton has a chance to solidify the presence of an integrated innovation hub that combines the technology research and development activities being conducted at AFRL with the funding and mission objectives of the Air Force’s SBIR program, you do everything you can to make that happen.”

Expansion will begin immediately with a grand opening planned for early January 2020.

The Wright Brothers Institute is an innovation and technology commercialization center for the Air Force Research Laboratory, with facilities located just outside of Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. The institute drives fast, agile innovation that enables successful technology development to solve the Air Force’s most complex challenges by leveraging resident experts, unique facilities, disruptive innovation processes and extensive networks.

It leverages subject matter experts and intellectual property from AFRL and SBIR companies to unlock the right problem, connect to new partners and synchronize transition pathways through its commercialization partners.

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