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Dayton, OH: Where Entrepreneurs Excel

Outstanding support, affordability, education and world-class research make western Ohio a great place to do business.

By Brittany Anas on July 8, 2021

Dayton, OH
Downtown Dayton Partnership

When first responders arrive at a major incident, they often face huge problems such as garbled communication and outdated emergency plans on paper.>

Recognizing this, a Dayton-based company is revolutionizing how 911 and command centers operate, creating technology that can better protect response teams and their communities.>

GlobalFlyte’s AWARE technology allows public safety teams to get 3D imaging of the building they’re responding to, and that dollhouse view can help them quickly find potential danger zones or identify where they can hook up fire hoses.>

This is just one powerful example of how Greater Dayton businesses are converting research into real-world solutions. “Dayton has become a great place to build new companies,” says Tim Shaw, a retired FBI special agent who is now the president and chief operating officer of GlobalFlyte.>

For those looking to launch or grow their businesses, a slate of support resources, a low cost of living, access to higher education, world-class research and standout natural features are among the reasons this region is a desirable alternative to big, costly coastal cities.

Dayton, OH
Downtown Dayton Partnership

A Hub of Innovation in Western Ohio

A critical mass of major companies helps drive innovation in the region.

LexisNexis, one of the world’s leading providers of legal and business research, has a major presence in Dayton, OH. Reynolds & Reynolds provides business forms, management software and professional services to car dealerships.

Also, several companies are commercializing cutting-edge technology developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. To help, the Wright Brothers Institute (WBI) connects the Air Force to strategic partners and innovators, serving as a valuable conduit between the military and businesses, ultimately helping move innovations from the lab to the market.

“We are the innovation runway for the Air Force,” says Jennie Hempstead, director of marketing at the WBI.

A goal of the WBI is to connect small businesses with opportunities to work with the Air Force, helping educate them on a variety of topics, such as how to work with angel investors and how to be in compliance with Defense Contract Audit Agency requirements. The WBI also hosts the Air & Industry Impact Week in November to showcase innovation from the Air Force and small businesses.

“People are often unaware of the world-class research that’s coming out of the Air Force Research Lab,” Hempstead says. “There’s this humble Midwest mentality; we don’t brag much.”

Dayton, OH
Audrey Ingram

A Valuable Resource: Launch Dayton

Launch Dayton helps area entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, connect to the resources and support systems they need to achieve economic prosperity. Plus, the organization tells the stories of thriving startups in the community. To find more information about Launch Dayton, click here.

Success Stories Abound in Dayton, OH

The Dayton region is brimming with entrepreneurial success stories. For example, Texted Inc., offers a way to send greeting cards via text message. Curafied is an internet platform that enables users to place expert, valuable content behind a paywall for publication in an ad-free environment.

Resources such as Dayton Tech Guide and The Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC) allow entrepreneurs to engage with other startups and get advice and counsel from experienced business owners. The EC offers resources for all types of entrepreneurs, from small businesses, to tech startups to research commercialization.

A decade ago, Katie Hill was a client at The EC as she was developing her business, CommuterAds, which is GPS place-based media that allows local businesses to reach public transit riders through audio and digital text scroll messaging. Now, Hill is an entrepreneur-in-residence at The EC, leveraging her experience to help the next generation of innovators.

In 2020, The EC helped nearly 1,000 entrepreneurial clients, many of whom have Main Street businesses (think: bakeries, barbershops and boutiques) as well as dozens of high-tech companies.

“We have a population of really smart people working on so many neat projects,” she says. “From the Air Force base to the universities, there’s so much world-class research and innovation happening here in our backyard.”

Want to learn more about doing business in Dayton? Check out the new edition of Livability, Dayton, Ohio.

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