The Entrepreneurs’ Center Board of Directors
As we bid farewell to 2023, I’m proud of yet another year of unprecedented growth and success at the Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC). Our commitment to fostering innovation, supporting entrepreneurs, and driving economic vitality in the Dayton region continues to transform the small business community. Here’s a brief overview of our progress:
Regional Performance and Growth
During 2023, we expanded the EC team to almost 50 full- and part-time team members, who together serve more than 900 small businesses across our eight-county region. Those businesses continue to thrive:
- The 90 technology businesses supported by the EC generated more than $80M of revenue—yet another record performance.
- Those same businesses received more than $140M in third-party venture capital investments. This total exceeds the total amount of capital invested into portfolio companies during the 2020–2022 period, combined.
- The EC provided more than 11,000 hours of one-on-one support to clients—a 30% increase over 2022.
- Diversity is our strength: led by the EC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), almost half of the companies supported by the EC are led by a minority founder.
Bright Spots of 2023
In a year of incredible performance, a few bright spots stand out:
- The EC was one of just 20 organizations across the nation to receive an award under the Economic Development Agency’s Build to Scale Capital Challenge. This program will facilitate the development of a structured approach to local, regional, and national capital markets, increasing access to critical funding for our region’s entrepreneurs.
- In May, the Arcade Innovation Hub, founded by the EC and our partners from the University of Dayton, held the grand opening of the Upper Deck, the third floor of our Innovation Hub. With its opening, we expanded the available office space for clients by almost 40%, and we are well on our way to filling it with vibrant small businesses.
- Speaking of our partners from the University of Dayton, The Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership hosted 67 classes, and more than 930 students, here at the Hub during both the spring and fall semesters.
Looking Ahead to 2024
As we begin 2024, I expect yet another record-breaking year for the EC and our client companies. We remain committed to expanding our support for entrepreneurs, including the full launch of the Build to Scale program, continued growth in technology companies within our portfolio, and ongoing support for “main street” businesses crucial to our collective economic well-being. We will be implementing some new, novel approaches to company creation and enhanced client support methods – and we will continue to deepen our collaborative efforts with community partners as we broaden program accessibility across the region.
I, and all the EC staff, am inspired by three pillars of our community: People, Place, and Programs. Dayton is filled with incredible People: amazing entrepreneurs, a skilled workforce, and a promising generation of college and university students. We’ve got incredible Places for entrepreneurs to work. Most notably, The Arcade Innovation Hub, a testament to collaboration, is a remarkable space where small businesses, students, and the community intertwine. Finally, Dayton’s extensive entrepreneurial support Programs, coupled with dedicated local government partners, make it the best place to start and grow a business—anywhere.
As 2023 closes, I want to express my gratitude to our incredible Board of Directors, clients, partners, and the entire Dayton community. Your continued support fuels our passion for fostering innovation and driving economic prosperity. With an eye on 2024, we remain committed to empowering entrepreneurs, embracing challenges, and building a thriving future for the Dayton region. Cheers to a remarkable year, and here’s to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead!