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The Entrepreneurs’ Center lands record-breaking grant to support Dayton’s technology startups


July 20, 2022 –

A Dayton economic development organization has been awarded a record-breaking grant to fund a nearly $30 million project supporting the city’s technology startups.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded a $15 million Entrepreneurial Services Provider (ESP) Program grant to the Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC). This record amount of funding is a 60% increase over the 2019 allocation when combined with a required local match from project partners. In total, the Entrepreneurs’ Center now has $29.8 million to fund its ESP project, which aims to fill gaps in the local entrepreneurial system. The funding will support the ESP program from Jan. 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the Third Frontier Commission and the state of Ohio for our ESP program,” the Entrepreneurs’ Center President Scott Koorndyk said. “The size and scope of this project affirms the importance of the EC as an economic development organization, and more importantly, the growing importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses to Dayton’s future. This award will enable us to expand our services and really help drive success for technology entrepreneurs across our region.”

The Entrepreneurs’ Center has administered Dayton’s ESP program since 2017, tailoring services to meet the evolving needs of the area’s startup scene. The program provides funding and strategic assistance to high-potential concept, seed and early-stage technology companies throughout the region, in an effort to accelerate their growth.

Joining the Entrepreneurs’ Center in this effort is a network of partners, including Ascend Innovations; Converge Technologies; Cornerstone Research Group; Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce; Ikove Capital; Ohio Aerospace Institute; Parallax Advanced Research; Sinclair Community College; University of Dayton; and Wright Brothers Institute.

This new project builds on the Entrepreneurs’ Center’s past ESP results, which represent a major success story considering the region did not have the program in 2015 and 2016. The organization’s portfolio has grown to nearly 100 clients — more than 25% of which are led by a diverse founder. Those clients have attracted in excess of $100 million in third-party professional investment, have created more than 800 new jobs and have generated product sales higher than $180 million (with almost $74 million in 2021 alone, nearly tripling that year’s projections.)

These results create over $378 million of total leverage for the Entrepreneurs’ Center’s ESP. For every $1 of Third Frontier Commission investment, more than $30 of return was generated, according to the organization.

“These results are remarkable,” said Gayle Rominger, chair of the Entrepreneurs’ Center’s ESP Oversight Committee, member of the Entrepreneurs’ Center Board of Directors and active angel investor. “Our clients’ achievements are having a real impact on the local economy, and that benefits the entire Miami Valley. This funding helps fuel the EC so that we can continue to empower entrepreneurs and ensure Dayton reaches its full potential as a leader in technology advancement.”

Headquartered at the Arcade Innovation Hub in downtown Dayton, the Entrepreneurs’ Center is an economic development organization whose mission is to power progress and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Annually, the organization works with over 1,000 entrepreneurs to start and grow companies, create jobs, generate revenue and attract investment.

The Entrepreneurs’ Center aims to empower main street and technology businesses through complimentary professional services, including business planning, mentoring, training, networking, commercialization and capital investment. The organization designs and facilitates business acceleration programs on behalf of corporations, higher education institutions and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense.

Managed by the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Third Frontier Commission is a $2.1 billion economic development initiative supporting technology entrepreneurship and job growth across the state. Through a statewide network of resources, entrepreneurs with compelling business models for near-term market opportunities have access to technology, business assistance, capital and talent.

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