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Greater West Dayton Incubator holds grand opening

Courtney Barrett, founder of Just Cakin' It, in front of an opening-day ribbon and balloons.
Leila Goldstein
Courtney Barrett, founder of Just Cakin' It, is one of the business owners honored on the Wall of Entrepreneurial Excellence at the Greater West Dayton Incubator on West Third Street.

The initiative will work to remove barriers for Black and brown entrepreneurs.

The Greater West Dayton Incubator held its grand opening on Tuesday. The initiative supports Black, women and other underrepresented business owners in partnership with the University of Dayton.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, community members toured the storefront location on West Third Street. The space is decorated with art by local artist Willis Bing Davis, poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar and clocks marking the time in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and West Dayton. Nine local business owners are honored on the Wall of Entrepreneurial Excellence.

“There are always questions that I need answered and not having to go downtown and other places makes it a lot easier,” said Melvin Andrews, owner of Gem City Recycling. “I was born and raised right here on the west side of Dayton, so I'm extremely happy that I have a resource that’s right here that I can utilize to the fullest extent.”

The incubator will work to remove barriers for Black and brown businesses through resources, including a microloan program, marketing support and business mentorship.

“I think it’s very important to understand that West Dayton entrepreneurs, they're doing it. They're growing businesses. They're starting them every single day,” said Whitney Barkley, director of the incubator. “But I think the incubator is the difference between something taking a long time versus something that is a barrier that's potentially removed for those entrepreneurs.”

In February 2022, the project will offer three weeks of workshops where entrepreneurs from the area can make websites, develop business plans and learn about funding options.

While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.