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: Christina Mendez, Danielle Phillips
Course Experts: Emerald Sparks
Course Experts: LeKeisha Grant
Course Experts: Lauren Tiffan, Travis McCullough
Course Experts: Chris Nalls
Course Experts: Teresa Perretta
Course Experts: Chris Nalls
Course Experts: Teresa Perretta
Course Experts: Andy Cothrel
Course Experts: Josh Tranter, Colleen Murphy, Sameen Barnett, Stephen Truesdell
Course Experts: LeKeisha Grant, Lauren Tiffan
Course Experts: Christina Mendez, Julio Mateo
Course Experts: Tom Lees
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.
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.
Colleen Murphy is a regulatory professional with more than 20 years of experience in medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and pharmaceuticals. Her experience spans academia and industry, and includes products used in various medical specialties such as neonatal MRI, spinal implants, kidney and liver transplant, coagulation and hemostasis IVDs, breast cancer diagnostics, pediatric migraine, software driven connected products (including AI/ML) and software as a medical device (SAMD). Colleen’s expertise spans the lifecycle of medical devices from first-in-human to post-market surveillance.
Sameen brings her continuous improvement mindset to Quality Assurance by means of seeking innovative opportunities while maintaining compliance. Her experience in Design Control and Quality Management has taught her Quality Excellence is the essential component to bringing safe and effective products to the industry. She finds fulfillment in fostering an inclusive workplace and enhancing the professional experiences of a diverse workforce. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outside and applying her creative nature to her hobbies in photography, painting, and light woodworking.
Stephen Truesdell is an Engineering Manager at Kaleidoscope Innovation with 10 years of experience in the medical device industry. After earning his BS-BME from Purdue in 2013, he began his career in the spinal implant design space at K2M. He has carried this knowledge of medical device product development with him to Kaleidoscope as a direct project lead and now in a project oversight role. Stephen also has experience in the consumer goods sector, working with P&G while at Kaleidoscope for over 2 years. Stephen joined Kaleidoscope in 2016 and has worked to provide oversight to the engineering team to further their understanding of medical device development, and their relationships with medical device companies.
Julio C. Mateo is passionate about justice, participatory democracy, and human rights. He is a research and human-rights consultant, and also works at Mile Two LLC helping design and engineering teams build software systems that help practitioners achieve better performance at work.
For the past several years, Julio has been actively working to improve public safety in the City of Dayton. He served as the Co-Chair of the Community-Police Council, as a member of the Citizens Appeals Board, as a member of the Police Reform Training Working Group and of the Implementation Oversight Committee, and he is currently an active member of the Coalition on Public Protection. Julio is also a member of the El Puente Board, the Dayton Daily News Community Advisory Board, the Montgomery County Arts and Culture District Board, and the Steering Committee for the Action Research & Rights Collective at University of Dayton’s Human Rights Center.
In 2018, Julio received a Community Impact Award from the Dayton Human-Relations Council for his work in community-police relations. In 2019, the Dayton Business Journal included Julio in their list of ‘Dayton’s 40 Under Forty’ and The Business Journals included him in their national list of top 100 Influencers: Rising Stars. Also in 2019, the State of Ohio Latino Affairs Commission recognized Julio as a Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan.
Julio C. Mateo tiene una pasión por la justicia, la democracia participativa y los derechos humanos. Julio es un consultor de investigación y derechos humanos, y también trabaja en Mile Two LLC ayudando a equipos de ingenieros y diseñadores a crear sistemas de software para mejorar el rendimiento de los profesionales en su trabajo.
Durante los últimos años, Julio ha dedicado gran parte de su trabajo comunitario para intentar mejorar la seguridad pública en la Ciudad de Dayton. Julio sirvió como co-director del Consejo de Comunidad y Policía, como miembro de la Junta de Apelaciones de Ciudadanos, y como miembro del Grupo de Trabajo para Reformar el Entrenamiento Policial y el Comité para Supervisar la Implementación. Actualmente sirve como miembro de la Coalición de Protección Pública. Además, Julio es actualmente un miembro de la junta de El Puente, la junta de consejeros comunitarios del Diario de Noticias de Dayton, la junta del Distrito de Artes y Cultura del Condado de Montgomery, y el comité organizador del Colectivo de Investigación Acción y Derechos en el Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Dayton.
En el 2018, Julio recibió un ‘Galardón por Impacto en la Comunidad’ del Consejo de Relaciones Humanas de Dayton por su trabajo para mejorar las relaciones entre comunidad y policía. En el 2019, el Periódico de Negocios de Dayton incluyó a Julio en su lista de los ’40 de menos de cuarenta en Dayton’ y el colectivo nacional de Periódicos de Negocios le incluyó en su lista de los ‘Top 100 Influencers” en Estados Unidos. También en el 2019, la Comisión de Asuntos Latinos del Estado de Ohio reconoció a Julio como un ‘Ohiense Hispano Distinguido’.