$15 million grant will help Dayton technology startups: ‘The trajectory the region is on is absolutely amazing’

A multi-million dollar grant will help fuel the growing technology industry in Dayton that includes small businesses trying to make a big impact.

The Entrepreneurs’ Center in downtown Dayton was awarded a $14.9 million grant from the Ohio Third Frontier, an economic initiative that is managed by the Ohio Department of Development. The Entrepreneurial Service Provider (ESP) grant will be spent on helping to grow technology companies in the region, said Scott Koorndyk, president of the Entrepreneurs’ Center.

“This award is really a recognition of an absolute renaissance in the entrepreneurial culture in Dayton,” Koorndyk said.

Dayton has a strong heritage of innovation in areas such as flight and from large technology companies like National Cash Register and LexisNexis, Koorndyk said. Now there is a lot of good momentum again.

“The renaissance that is going on now in Dayton is unbelievable,” Koorndyk said.

“We’re seeing companies in the biomedical space, we’re seeing companies in the advanced material space, we’re seeing companies in the aerospace and defense space,” Koorndyk said, noting that connections to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are important. “We’re seeing companies in the IT space. So you’re seeing these really impressive companies that are a great credit to Dayton grow and kind of rebirth what we would now call the innovation economy.

The Entrepreneurs’ Center is an economic development organization that works with small businesses to help them start and grow. It provides professional services and helps entrepreneurs create jobs, grow revenue and attract investments.

“The EC empowers Main Street and technology businesses through complimentary professional services including business planning, mentoring, training, networking, commercialization, and capital investment,” the company said.

“The EC’s talented and experienced team of advisors, entrepreneurs-in-residence and staff design and facilitate diverse, world-class business acceleration programs on behalf of corporations, higher education institutions, and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense from their headquarters at The Hub Powered by PNC Bank in the historic Dayton Arcade.”

Koorndyk said the center can help offset costs for businesses as well. For example, the center could pay for an intellectual property lawyer and help to fund prototypes of ideas. More information can be found at ecinnovates.com.

Downtown Dayton Partnership Economic Development Director Valerie Beerbower said the Entrepreneur Center is a strong source that local start-up companies can access.

“It provides both a physical and a metaphorical front door to access resources for the start up community,” she said.

She said Dayton has a lot of support for businesses owners that residents might not know about. She added that Dayton has a strong community of start-ups that are helping each other grow.

“It’s been fun and and interesting to see the new kinds of businesses that have popped up over the last five years and to see them interacting with each other as they kind of develop into this community of entrepreneurs,” she said.

The Entrepreneurs’ Center is one of the pieces that pushes business forward in downtown Dayton, Beerbower said.

Koorndyk said the Entrepreneurs’ Center will continue to work with companies and help them grow with the new grant.

“The trajectory the region is on is absolutely amazing,” he said.

About the Author