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Micro Loan Program Open to Small Businesses in West Dayton

DAYTON, Ohio — A local business incubator is launching a new round of microloans to support black, female, and other underrepresented and underresourced business owners serving the West Side of Dayton. It offers.

What you need to know

  • Applications for the Greater West Dayton Incubator Microloan are open until October 14th.
  • Loans range from $500 to $15,000 and are offered to small businesses that benefit the West Dayton community.
  • West Dayton has endured decades of divestment. This and other programs are designed to help the city’s western side adapt to a changed economic environment.
  • Microloan Program Targets Black, Female, and Other Underrepresented and Underresourced Business Owners

Greater West Dayton Incubator Accepting Applications for Cultural Capital Micro LoansThe application deadline is Friday, October 14th.

Loans range from $500 to $15,000. Funds can be used for operating expenses, marketing, and other expenses to run the business.

The incubator team evaluates applications based on criteria that are more flexible than traditional banks. They highlight what the Incubator website describes as “passion, tenacity and planning.”

The program is open to anyone who qualifies, but its focus is on underserved entrepreneurs in the region. Preference will be given to those who live in Greater West Dayton or have a business serving that part of the city.

Loans received through the program must be repaid.

“These microloans help create a more equitable economic opportunity for historically marginalized business owners,” said Whitney Barkley. Director of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, said in a statement. “It enables entrepreneurs who do not seek funding from traditional banks or Small Business Administration to hire, buy the equipment they need, set up physical stores, and improve not only their businesses but their local economies and communities. .”

Juicing Jammers owner Tawnni Miles poses with team members at the Greater West Dayton Incubator after being awarded a $10,000 microloan. (Photo Credit: Greater West Dayton Incubator)

To date, the incubator has distributed over $50,000 to local entrepreneurs in everything from cleaning and beauty to retail and food.

One business that has already benefited from one of these loans is Juicing Jammers, a juice and smoothie bar. We manufacture small-batch slow-press juices and foods such as overnight oats, fruit bowls and salads. According to business owner Tawnni Miles, each dish contains ingredients known to help manage health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Miles, a registered nurse, received a $10,000 loan through the incubator’s Culture Capital program. She used the money to purchase commercial equipment for her first store on North William Street in Wright’s Dunbar District.

“(The loan) helped a lot,” Miles admitted. Miles said he funded his first five years of his business out of his own pocket. She knew that opening a store would cost her more money than she had at her disposal, so she applied for a microloan.

In addition to issuing loans, the Culture Capital program provides other support services to entrepreneurs, such as helping business owners process loans and providing financial wellness education.

Culture Capital offers these services through partnerships with local nonprofit CityWide and Flyer Consulting, a student-run business support firm at the University of Dayton.

“I was so scared to take out a loan,” Miles said. “I think a lot of people have the same fears that I had when I started.”

Investing in West Dayton businesses and residents

The microloan program and the Greater West Dayton Incubator serve parts of the city that have suffered decades of disinvestment.

The West Dayton area includes Arlington Heights, Carillon, Edgemont, Fairland, Five Points, Germantown Meadows, Highview Hills, Lakeview, Little Richmond, McFarlane, Madden Hills, Miami Chapel, Pineview, Residence Park, Roosevelt, Stone consists of a collection of 19 districts. Ridge, Westwood, Wolf Creek, Wright Dunbar Village.

Veronica Morris, the city’s economic development supervisor, noted that, like the rest of Dayton, communities on the west side have been affected by unemployment and industrial change over the past decade.

Economy Linen and Towel Service has built a $21 million facility in West Dayton.  (Photo credit: City of Dayton)

Economy Linen and Towel Service has built a $21 million facility in West Dayton. (Photo credit: City of Dayton)

“Dayton as a whole has moved from being a city that is thriving in auto manufacturing to one that is looking to other types of industries such as healthcare, education and advanced manufacturing,” Morris said.

Significant investments have been made in recent years to meet the evolving needs of the West through a combination of city and community partnerships.

In the last three to four years alone, West Dayton has benefited from $110 million worth of investments, significantly boosting home prices in several areas and creating new job opportunities for existing and new residents. Mr. Morris said it was dropped.

She highlighted the $34 million investment by Five Rivers Health Center in Edgemont and the $21 million facility of Economy Linen and Towel Services, which has brought about 85 jobs and residents to West Dayton.

Morris also highlighted West Social Tap and Table, a food incubator that provides growth and development opportunities for small food businesses while improving the quality of life for its residents by offering new dining options. did.

“Over the past few years, new economic opportunities have moved steadily beyond the city center and into West Dayton,” said City Commissioner Christopher Shaw. “We are excited about the job growth and new development we are seeing in West Dayton that will benefit both longtime residents and new residents.”

A city ‘built on the backs of entrepreneurs’

While large investments are important to West Dayton’s continued revival, Morris feels that small businesses have an equally important role to play.

“Dayton was built on the backs of entrepreneurs,” she said, adding that entrepreneurs and small business owners continue “the spirit of innovation demonstrated by the Wright brothers and Charles Kettering.” I was.

West Social Tap and Table is a small business food incubator in West Dayton.  (Photo credit: City of Dayton)

West Social Tap and Table is a small business food incubator in West Dayton. (Photo credit: City of Dayton)

These businesses also provide stable employment opportunities for city residents, Morris said. The owners of these businesses also tend to live locally, she said.

To get the most out of these small business investments, Dayton leaders worked with residents to create the Greater West Dayton Incubator. It opened in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic, so we won’t be able to celebrate its official grand opening until December 2021.

Inspired by the university’s religious values, the incubator pays special attention to supporting low-income residents, Main Street, and lifestyle businesses. We are also looking for “social ventures that advance the common good.” Incubator website.

Incubators will give preference to entrepreneurs and business owners who have participated in one of the other Greater West Dayton Incubator Programs or Services.

For example, Miles learned about financing opportunities through the Greater West Dayton Incubator’s Business Blitz and other programs.

Anyone interested in applying for a Cultural Capital Microloan can apply. Online at