Kitchen incubator rolls out financial literacy course for food business owners

mdunnDayton Business Journal

September 9, 2022 –

Food business owners can get a huge break to participate in a major project tied to The Arcade.

Applications for the Sharpen the Axe beta program, the first phase of the 6888 Kitchen Incubator, will be accepted Sept. 15-30.

The STA beta group will get the benefit of special pricing for testing the curriculum; $50 for what will be a $500 course.

STA, founded by Charlynda Scales, is a comprehensive financial literacy and business course for food business owners.

Graduates will be eligible to become members of the 6888 Kitchen Incubator.

Kitchen members will have access to space in a commercial kitchen to operate their businesses, use for food prep and more. The two-story incubator will occupy 10,000 square feet in The Arcade.

The STA won’t only serve as a pipeline for kitchen members but will also help prepare any food business owner looking to branch out on their own.

Scales, CEO of Mutt’s Sauce, is one of three cofounders of the Incubator.

She partnered with University of Dayton Entrepreneurship Capstone students to research the availability of and need for of an educational program targeted for food business owners with an emphasis on marketing, funding, distribution and merchandising, e-commerce preparation and more.

The course will be available in written form to the public sometime next year.

Nailing down the educational material for future classes with the help of the beta group will round out Phase 1 of the incubator project.

Scales could not provide a construction start date for the kitchen but said it would be soon and take about a year. The kitchen is estimated to open in July 2023.

“We’ve been navigating the supply chain challenges as we order equipment and plan the buildout but so far, so good,” she said.

Dabriah Rice, head chef and co-owner of Divine Catering and Events, and Jamaica White, a self-described “serial entrepreneur” with background in business development, are the other cofounders.

Scales said the 6888 Kitchen Incubator team has been “quietly grinding for the past three years.”

Megan Dunn Peters, community manager for The Arcade, said it’s great to partner with such dynamic women, and called the kitchen incubator one of the most exciting pieces of The Arcade’s revitalization.

The shared kitchen will accommodate up to 60 small businesses focused on food service and preparation but could also be used for events and classes. Members will also have access to dry, refrigerated, and frozen food storage spaces.

The idea of the incubator was well received and garnered significant community support. The Fifth Third Foundation sponsored the project with a $1 million grant; $1.3 million came from congressional earmarked dollars courtesy of Sen. Sherrod Brown; $750,000 from City of Dayton; $450,000 from Montgomery County; and a $15,000 in-kind donation from Hobart thus far.

The Incubator team is now $1.5 million shy of its target.

Eligibility requirements for Sharpen the Axe (beta):

  • Must be owner of a business that has been operating for at least two years
  • Business revenue of $20,000 or more in the most recent fiscal year
  • Must be able to attend orientation Oct. 14.
  • Complete all sessions.
  • Classes for the hybrid program will be 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays, Oct. 25 to Nov. 29.
  • Go to to apply beginning Sept. 15.
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