We are committed to our region’s Black & Brown founders

June 9, 2020

A dispatch from KeAnna Daniels, Audrey Ingram, John Owen


The Launch Dayton partnership believes everyone, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to determine their own economic prosperity. This community exists to support and inspire all Daytonians who are building businesses.


Launch Dayton is the brand for the informal, collaborative effort to support the Dayton region’s entrepreneurs & to tell the stories of our region’s thriving startup community.

We — KeAnna, Audrey, John — are the Wright State Applied Research Corporation (WSARC) team that serves our local entrepreneurs. Through our team, WSARC is a proud partner of the Launch Dayton community.

We helped craft this Launch Dayton mission statement, the result of a year+ of conversations between local service providers seeking to better collaborate to support our region’s founders & business owners. Diversity & inclusion was an early & integral focus of these conversations.

Today, we reaffirm that commitment to our region’s Black & Brown founders.

When entrepreneurs are locked out of opportunities because of their race (or any demographic), the whole community loses out on the ideas, talents, voices, products & services these founders have to offer.

We don’t want this loss for Dayton.

We are committed to building spaces for entrepreneurs that are welcoming and inclusive of our historically underrepresented founders.

We are committed to serving Black and Brown founders by:

• making space in our 10-week, industry-agnostic Early Risers Academy;
• recruiting founders of color for our monthly Early Risers pitch events;
• curating a list of diverse speakers for our LaunchPad events/webinars and our annual Techstars Startup Week Dayton lineup;
• sharing the stories of Black & Brown founders through Launch Dayton’s blog, e-newsletter and social media platforms.

One part of our team’s ongoing diversity, equity & inclusion strategy is to provide cultural competency training (including work on implicit bias & micro-aggressions) to partners & resource providers across the entrepreneurial community this fall.

One way we will measure success of the Launch Dayton partnership’s work is if we can build an entrepreneurial ecosystem where the demographics of the founders we serve matches the demographics of our city & region.

We know there is a lot of work yet to do, but we will continue to charge ourselves with making this space more equitable, equal and inclusive.

If you’d like to learn more about any of our programs, please reach out.

One immediate way you can support our founders of color is to shop this crowd-sourced list of black-owned businesses in the Dayton region. We coordinated this effort in response to direct social media calls for such a resource. We plan to continue building on this effort to create a more sophisticated resource to support all of our Black & Brown founders.