UD’s Greater West Dayton incubator makes first ‘microloans’

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

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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

A University of Dayton-backed business incubator is making its first microloans, the university said Tuesday.

The Greater West Dayton Incubator awarded the first microloans to three Black- and woman-owned businesses for the equipment and marketing, the university announced.

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, UD said.

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.

The 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.

Said UD: “Applications are evaluated based on more flexible criteria emphasizing passion, persistence and planning.”

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

“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.”

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Whitney Barkley, director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, an initiative to support Black, woman and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. COURTESY OF WHITNEY BARKLEY

Whitney Barkley,  director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, an initiative to support Black, woman and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. COURTESY OF WHITNEY BARKLEY

Combined ShapeCaption
Whitney Barkley, director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, an initiative to support Black, woman and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. COURTESY OF WHITNEY BARKLEY

In UD’s announcement, Twanna Drakes, owner of Drakes and Associates, called the microloan 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.”

CityWide and UD’s student-run Flyer Consulting are partners in distributing the microloans and other services.

More information about the incubator is available online.

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