UD incubator focuses on Black, women-owned businesses

A small crowd of local business people and dignitaries leave a presentation about the grand opening of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, which opened Tuesday on West Third Street in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
A small crowd of local business people and dignitaries leave a presentation about the grand opening of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, which opened Tuesday on West Third Street in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Greater West Dayton Incubator aimed at improving diversity at UD, improving Black, women-owned entrepreneurship

The Greater West Dayton Incubator formally opened this week its public offices at 1105. W. Third St., after a long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incubator works with women, Black people and other underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship, and has a second office in The Hub at the Dayton Arcade on Fourth Street downtown.

Combined ShapeCaption
Courtney and Joshua Barrett and their daughters, Bailey, 4, and Brooklyn, 9, get their pictures taken in front of the Entrepreneurial Wall of Excellence where Courtney's photograph is displayed. Courtney founded Just Cakin' It LLC. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Courtney and Joshua Barrett and their daughters, Bailey, 4, and Brooklyn, 9, get their pictures taken in front of the Entrepreneurial Wall of Excellence where Courtney's photograph is displayed. Courtney founded Just Cakin' It LLC. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Combined ShapeCaption
Courtney and Joshua Barrett and their daughters, Bailey, 4, and Brooklyn, 9, get their pictures taken in front of the Entrepreneurial Wall of Excellence where Courtney's photograph is displayed. Courtney founded Just Cakin' It LLC. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Courtney Barrett, owner of Just Cakin’ It, a mobile cupcake and after-school program, said the incubator, which has been open for more than a year, helped her further her business.

With a $35,000 seed fund from the UD Flyer Pitch competition, Barrett was able to purchase a school bus and redo it for her business. Barrett said she has already recruited people to do the Flyer Pitch competition in the future. She said having these resources so close will be good for her and other entrepreneurs in the community.

ExploreChappelle ‘adamantly’ opposed to Yellow Springs housing proposal

“I’m most excited for other entrepreneurs to see that we actually do have resources here,” Barrett said. “In the Black community, a lot of times, we don’t challenge ourselves or step out of our comfort zone. And so we’ve missed a lot of resources.”

Greater West Dayton Incubator director Whitney Barkley, an entrepreneur herself, said she believed the reason many businesses fail is because they don’t know what resources are out there for them.

Combined ShapeCaption
Whitney Barkley, Director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, reacts to the ribbon cutting of the new Entrepreneur's Center on West Third St. in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Whitney Barkley, Director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, reacts to the ribbon cutting of the new Entrepreneur's Center on West Third St. in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Combined ShapeCaption
Whitney Barkley, Director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, reacts to the ribbon cutting of the new Entrepreneur's Center on West Third St. in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

“I’m hoping that we’re really that starting point for people and to lead them in the direction inside this ecosystem, so they’re able to access the things that they need to grow their business,” Barkley said.

UD president Eric Spina said the incubator was years in the making and started with a meeting between UD and leaders in West Dayton. He said community members told him they wanted support and engagement around economic development, particularly around entrepreneurship.

Explore$11M sale price of Miamisburg property example of area market’s growth

There are four goals of the incubator: support entrepreneurs in West Dayton; provide UD students with cross-cultural learning opportunities, while giving them experience; support economic development that’s a necessary part of the city; and change the university’s data to make it more inclusive and diverse.

“At the end of the day, this is about building community,” Spina said. “The Marinists who founded the University of Dayton really believe in building community.”

About the Author