The Launch Dayton Business Toolkit offers a series of free online courses to help you build and grow your business.
Not sure how to get started with your marketing? We got you. Ready to dig into your numbers? We got you. Finally launching your e-commerce business? Presented by local experts, complete with downloadable worksheets and templates, the Business Toolkit courses are designed to help you move your business forward. Click on any course to jump in and begin learning.
Course Experts: LeKeisha Grant, Emerald Sparks
Course Experts: Emerald Sparks
Course Experts: LeKeisha Grant
Course Experts: Christina Mendez, Danielle Phillips
Course Experts: Lauren Tiffan, Travis McCullough
Course Experts: Andy Cothrel
Course Experts: Martina Watson, Tom Lees
Course Experts: Teresa Perretta, Chris Nalls
Course Experts: Josh Tranter
Course Experts: Teresa Perretta, Chris Nalls
Each course in the Business Toolkit was developed and presented by a local expert eager to share their knowledge and help you move your business forward.
LeKeisha is dedicated to helping aspiring and existing small business owners navigate the hurdles of entrepreneurship and business building. As program manager, she gets the opportunity to assist start-ups in moving their technologies forward while appreciating their creativity in innovation. Prior to her current role, she was a small business advisor with the Small Business Development Center at the EC.
As an entrepreneur herself, LeKeisha began her small business journey in 2012 with the founding of Ambition Unlocked, where she has the privilege of sharing stories of new entrepreneurs, shining a light on an often-forgotten segment. She recognizes that starting out is hard and it’s even harder to get someone to talk about you and your venture when you’re new. In 2015 she became co-owner of Transformers Fitness, a concept created out of the love of fitness, healthy living, and the desire to share that information. It fuels transformations of the body as well as the mind. Previous professional experience includes roles at Farmers Insurance and American Red Cross, where she was an AmeriCorps Member.
Emerald is an advisor for the Miami Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Entrepreneurs’ Center and is very passionate about helping small business owners generate sustainable profits within their startups. She has worked in financial services for over 10 years and specializes in bookkeeping and taxes for small businesses.
An entrepreneur at heart, she is the CEO of two young companies: Emerald Sparks LTD, a business finance consulting company designed to help business owners understand the story behind their numbers and price for profit, and DopeKeepers Inc., a tax and bookkeeping company specializing in cloud-based bookkeeping, tax planning and compliance with 280E for cannabis-based businesses. She believes a ‘small’ business should not be counted out of resources simply because they do not have the funds that ‘large’ corporations do.
Additionally, Emerald is CEO and Chief Doggy Lover of Jewel’s Dog Boarding and Daycare, providing full-time care for dogs while their owners are away from home traveling for business or pleasure. Prior to being an entrepreneur, Emerald was a freelance writer and financial columnist for Cincy Chic focused on understanding all things financial and solving the misconceptions about money. She was also a Financial Representative and Sr. Financial Auditor I at Northwestern Mutual and Fifth Third Bank respectively.
She resides in Middletown, Ohio with her husband, young son, and two fur babies.
Lauren thrives on working with dreamers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to drive innovation as the Director of Strategic Programs. In this role, she creates, implements, and manages training programs, like accelerators, focused on commercialization and the Federal Small Business Innovations Research (SBIR) program. Her background in accelerators prepared her for creating content, teaching, and overseeing the development of complex projects and programs from concept to completion and ultimately implementation. In her career, Lauren has trained and consulted with hundreds of companies, such as Ocean Accelerator and Startups.com
A volunteer public speaker for Global Leadership Partners, Lauren speaks on business and emotional intelligence to students and young professionals across the globe. She also serves as a Board Member of The Aruna Project, a nonprofit which rescues, trains, and hires survivors of sex trafficking in India to produce athleisure goods sold in the United States. Additionally, she is active at Crossroads and enjoys volunteering through their community outreach programs.
Lauren lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two young children. She is slightly obsessed with her dog, Finley, and loves hiking, reading, decorating, lattes, and anything covered in sprinkles. She is passionate about traveling and has visited 19 countries (and counting).
Christina Méndez is the owner and founder of Irene-Marie Co. a creative marketing agency designed to create innovative marketing campaigns that boost brand loyalty and convert to sales.
Irene-Marie Co. was founded in 2018 after Méndez left her corporate job in marketing to help small brands market more authentically. Christina spent the first 3 years focusing on business consulting with small business owners in efforts to deeply understand the gaps in small business marketing. In 2021, IMC retired business consulting to focus on filling the marketing gaps of authentic, effective marketing solutions. Méndez is a Certified Life Coach, Certified Business and Entrepreneurship Coach, and holds a certification from Cornell University in Women’s Entrepreneurship studies.
As a strategic adviser and manager, Travis works directly with small businesses to help them navigate successfully through a contractual process. He breaks it down for them to ensure they fully understand how they are being evaluated, the requirements, and what they are signing up for contractually. He reviews solicitations and provides feedback on small-business proposals.
He has over fifteen years of government contracting experience. Prior to working at the Entrepreneurs’ Center, Travis was a Lead Contracts Specialist for the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where he spent more than eleven years managing contracts for Information Technology (IT) and Research & Development. Later, he was the Lead Contracts Specialist at The United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Other previous roles include Contract Manager at GE Aviation.
Danielle Phillips is owner and founder of GuideBeam Digital Marketing. She started this business because she witnessed how challenging digital marketing can be for mid-sized businesses. She brings 9 years of experience helping B2B and B2C companies be successful at digital marketing to the table. Daniele is focused on practical, actionable marketing solutions. She is results-driven, a big advocate of Dayton and building a better community, and an Enneagram 7 — full of ideas to help you grow.
With over a decade of professional experience in executive leadership, retail hospitality, and business development, Teresa Perretta is the quality of person every organization wants and needs on their team. She obtained her Bachelor of Communication & Public Relations at the University of Dayton in 2009 and has several years of experience working in higher education. As the proud owner of Culture Refined Consulting, founded in 2018, Teresa dedicates her work’s focus to assisting small businesses with start-up and organizational development that will show them how to optimize their resources in order to reach projected sales goals and overall success in the marketplace.
In addition to her experience in executive leadership and hospitality, Teresa Perretta has over eighteen years of experience in restaurant & operations management formerly serving as the Vice President of Operations for FUSIAN. In recent years, Teresa has translated her start-up experience into the tech industry, focusing on custom software and digital product development through her work at ModWeb. She currently serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Downtown Dayton Partnership to support small business development in Downtown Dayton, OH. Being a woman of many hats but also a woman of balance, Teresa enjoys many hobbies which include hiking, traveling, cooking and developing video games with her brother. Teresa Perretta is a force to be reckoned with in the Dayton community with a lot of love and experience to share.
Martina founded Martina Watson Law because she realized that the small business community overwhelmingly lacked a valuable asset — attorneys.
After negotiating and finalizing the nation’s first worker-owned cooperative in one of New York’s most impoverished communities, she realized how valuable business legal services are to all people. She wanted to support business owners in achieving financial independence, so she set out to build a law practice that would actively work to serve communities so they could feel empowered to make their own fully informed business and legal decisions.
Martina values client-focused lawyering and wants entrepreneurs to know that she will work with them to help them achieve their business, financial, and longevity goals. It is her number one priority to make entrepreneurs feel empowered to make important business and legal decisions that will foster economic independence and lead a sustainable business.
Tom is an expert on U.S. and foreign patent matters including patentability, infringement, clearance and validity opinions. His practice focuses on the preparation and prosecution of U.S. and foreign patent applications, intellectual property portfolio management and intellectual property portfolio growth. His services include trademark counseling, trademark prosecution, copyright counseling, licensing, contract negotiation, trade secret counseling, and patent and trademark litigation support.
Tom focuses primarily in the software and electrical arts, working with clients that range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies.
He is also an open source advocate, providing client counseling on open source issues. In this regard, Tom assists clients in building open source compliance programs, performing software developer training, dealing with open source legal issues in foreign and domestic jurisdictions, and providing education on effective strategies for integration and use of open source licensed software.
Andy Cothrel is President of Rushlight Ventures, where he is focused on monetizing the IP of small to mid-sized aerospace & defense firms, as well as spinning up and curating commercially-oriented new companies leveraging de-risked technology portfolios. He is also active as a founder, investor, and/or board member to a number of early-stage companies.
Prior to Rushlight, he founded Blue Marble Medical, where he spent 13 years developing and commercializing medical/health technologies and consulting in strategy, M&A, and new product development & commercialization, from both BigCo and Startup perspectives. He has led seven startups, transacted four exits, and raised in excess of $60MM at various companies in various roles.
His initial 20-year corporate career spanned progressively responsible roles at Exxon, Abbott Labs, and Roche, where he ended his BigCo days as VP/Site Manager of Roche’s life sciences research business area and a corporate officer for the North American operating entity. His academic background is a BS and MS in mechanical engineering complemented by business education and University of Michigan, Cranfield University, and London Business School. He resides in Oakwood OH.
Chris Nalls is the founding attorney of Nalls Davis. Chris has a multifaceted practice that focuses on business law, commercial real estate, and economic development.
Chris represents business owners, developers, lenders, and public entities in transactional and regulatory matters. Chris has provided counsel on transactions valued at more than $500 million in Ohio and across the United States. His representative matters include real estate projects, cooperative developments, secured financings, asset transfers, private equity placements, zoning and permitting proceedings, commercial disputes, and corporate governance issues.
From individual inventors to large corporations, Josh believes in a customer-centric approach to drive optimal project outcomes with a positive experience. After graduating from Rose-Hulman with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, he worked at Boston Scientific and Interplex Medical prior to joining Kaleidoscope. With over a decade in the medical device contract design and manufacturing space, Josh has experience across the full product life cycle in a wide range of medical devices. Josh is pleased to join the talented team at Kaleidoscope with an industry-leading, collaborative approach to medical device design. Outside of work, Josh enjoys spending his time with family and staying active.
Looking to learn more? We’ve gathered some tools from our partners and some of the nation’s top business resource organizations. Tap in to dig deeper into specific topics or connect with experts near you.