Dayton firm prepares startup program for businesswomen

Aviatra Dayton is preparing to expand it’s services for local bizwomen for 2022 including a brand new program to help entrepreneurs attain the next level of their business.

Read the full article here.

Aviatra Accelerators 2021 Flight Night

View the Aviatra Accelerators 2021 Flight Night and pitches from the woman owned businesses in our program!

Fueling the Cincinnati startup ecosystem

Movers and makers are anywhere new ideas and creativity are flowing. And nowhere, these days, is there more flow than in the Greater Cincinnati startup community. Nonprofits play a huge role in inspiring, funding and guiding startup efforts – Cintrifuse, MORTAR, Main Street Ventures, among others – and area universities are also key players in this ecosystem. Below, we introduce a few, select faces working actively to make Cincinnati a powerful center for innovation and technology.

Eight leaders stoking the fires of innovation

Amy Vaughn
Amy Vaughn

Amy Vaughan

CEO, Together Digital

Organization’s mission: Together Digital is a membership association and networking community designed for women in highly demanding tech and digital professions. It is the only group of its kind to offer an Ask & Give Exchange which results in raises, promotions and equal opportunity for women, who historically, have lost income and opportunities due to sexism and gender discrimination.

Role and responsibilities: I have been CEO for two years. First and foremost, I listen, whether through our Ask & Give Peer Circles or one on one with members. Outside of all of the day-to-day operations of the business, event, and content coordination, I am always looking for ways to improve the lives of our members. They are why I am here. They are why I stay.

What makes your organization unique? I am not sure people realize that Together Digital is more than a professional association. We are a community of ambitious yet supportive and collaborative women who know that the world does not always cater to us. We help each other navigate challenges and fears, gaining confidence, learning soft and hard skills all while making lifelong, career-changing connections.

Bill Tucker
Bill Tucker

Bill Tucker

ED, Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub

Organization’s mission: Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub equips our richly diverse, impact-focused entrepreneurs with knowledge, strategies, skills and connections to develop and expand their impact-focused businesses.

Role and responsibilities: My key responsibility is to ensure that Flywheel meets the expectations of its stakeholders, entrepreneurs, community leaders, funders, donors and partners. I joined Flywheel 10 years ago and have been executive director for almost eight years.

What makes your organization unique? Flywheel is entrepreneurial at its core – just like the impact-focused entrepreneurs we support. Our secret weapon is without a doubt our diverse network of coaches and mentors. These talented women and men come from all walks of life and backgrounds and support Flywheel entrepreneurs as they launch and scale businesses that have both social impact and financial return.

Kelly Bonnell
Kelly Bonnell

Kelly Bonnell

ED, Main Street Ventures

Organization’s mission: Main Street Ventures empowers the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Role and responsibilities: I am responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the organization. But that’s the “boilerplate” part. Ultimately, I’m in charge of ensuring Main Street Ventures is constantly evolving to best meet the needs of our region’s up-and-coming founders.

What makes your organization unique? Main Street Ventures is working to become the community-funded initiative that makes entrepreneurship possible for everyone in Greater Cincinnati by supporting entrepreneurs with what they need, when they need it: capital, connections and education. We do this because of this simple equation: Good Ideas + Financial Capital + Social Capital = Successful Businesses in A City Where You Want To Live.

Nancy Aichholz
Nancy Aichholz

Nancy Aichholz

President / CEO, Aviatra Accelerators Inc.

Organization’s mission: Celebrating 10 years of supporting women on the rise to find the power to soar, Aviatra Accelerators, a nonprofit organization, exists to empower female entrepreneurs, providing education, coaching, mentoring, networking and access to capital. Aviatra’s programs are tailored to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs at all stages of the business cycle.

Role and responsibilities: I have been with Aviatra for 6.5 years and am responsible for all aspects of the nonprofit, including board management, development, strategic planning, community relations and delivering on our mission to start, grow and sustain female-owned businesses.

What makes your organization unique? Aviatra Accelerators is one of the only organizations in the United States that serves women entrepreneurs across all industries and at any stage of their business cycle. We are a full-service resource center for women founders.

Michael Young
Michael Young

Michael Young

ED, StudyHall

Organization’s mission: StudyHall engages volunteers to democratize access to tutoring in virtual setting, supporting students’ ability to read on grade level.

Role and responsibilities: I’ve been the executive director of StudyHall since its inception 18 months ago. As a pandemic-founded organization, and relying heavily on a small team, my role is focused on discovering new ways to strategically implement technological solutions in a rapidly changing landscape. I also write a significant portion of the code that allows us to respond quickly to user feedback and strategic initiatives.

What makes your organization unique? StudyHall combines the best components of technology and nonprofit organizations to have an outsized impact on the students with whom we work. We know efficiencies provided by technology can increase the positive impact on our students, volunteers and the community.

Ricardo Grant
Ricardo Grant

Ricardo Grant

ED, SoCap Accelerate; Founder of Paloozanoire and Gallery At Gumbo

Organization’s mission: SoCap Accelerate is a Pre-Series A health innovation accelerator based out of Northern Kentucky University in partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Paloozanoire is dedicated to enriching the lives of Midwestern Black professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs. We own the Cincinnati Juneteenth Block Party, Paloozanoire Lifestyle Conference and Black & Brown Faces Art Exhibition. Gallery At Gumbo is Cincinnati’s intentionally inclusive barbershop and art gallery, collaboration home to Gumbo Talks, a conversation series amongst Cincinnati stakeholders with the goal to advance the human race via a wide range of perspectives.

Role and responsibilities: For all positions: I build, activate and execute. I manage teams associated with each organization, build and advance partnerships, raise capital and expand on long-term vision.

What makes your organization unique? SoCap Accelerate, Paloozanoire and Gallery At Gumbo were built in the past four years with the goal to fill gaps in our region. That need allowed us to gain advocates amongst stakeholders and the community and ecosystem at large.

Sue Baggott
Sue Baggott

Sue Bevan Baggott

Founder, Power Within Consulting; DEI chair, Queen City Angels; founding member, Next Wave Impact

Organization’s mission: Focusing in on Queen City Angels, it’s an angel-investing group dedicated to the prosperity and growth of Greater Cincinnati’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We focus on organizing early-stage investors to support entrepreneurs as we recognize their critical role in creating breakthrough solutions that make lives better, create new jobs and drive our economy. Additionally, we provide significant advice and mentoring to founding teams to improve their chances of success.

Role and responsibilities: As my work on QCA’s strategic direction progressed, one of the key strategic pillars QCA chose to focus on was improving DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion). QCA believes that bringing in more diverse investors leads to better outcomes – better investment decisions, more diverse entrepreneurs applying for funding, and stronger results and returns. Working closely with our marketing committee, we have designed and added a new membership “starter tier” called QCA Ascent, and we’ve grown the organization from 60 members to 120+ members. At the same time we’ve significantly expanded the diversity of our investor members across age, gender and cultural background.

What makes your organization unique? The uniqueness of QCA lies in our wonderful combination of dedicated investor members and amazing entrepreneurial teams. Our investors are experienced business leaders who go beyond just capital funding to provide coaching, mentoring and expertise to emerging companies. Each year our investors contribute thousands of hours of service to our portfolio companies as well as to the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Plus, we have amazingly dedicated founders leading our 40+ portfolio companies through the challenging early phases of company establishment and growth.

Tim Metzner
Tim Metzner

Tim Metzner

Co-founder, chief strategy officer, Coterie Insurance

Organization’s mission: Coterie is an insurtech focused on simplifying business insurance through speed, simplicity and service.

Role and responsibilities: I help set and reinforce company culture, vision, mission, values and strategy, and help create and lead a team focused on building an innovation pipeline. I’ve been in this role (in addition to others) since our founding in 2018.

What makes your organization unique? Our vision at Coterie Insurance is building a tech- and data-first organization to transform the commercial insurance industry, our people, our expertise and our culture. We’re running after a big vision with a very diverse and experienced team from both insurance and technology.

Let’s talk …

Why Cincinnati? 

Ricardo Grant: I was born and raised in South Avondale. I never left because I firmly believe we are the hidden city; a city under a creative renaissance specifically amongst entrepreneurs of color. People often ask, “Would you consider leaving to build in cities that appear to produce greater opportunity?” and my response is short and concise. No. The opportunity is here.

Kelly Bonnell: I like to joke that I recently realized I have become a Cincinnati stereotype. I was born and raised here and never left. I live five minutes from the house I grew up in and maybe seven minutes from my parents. All kidding aside, it is such an exciting time to be here. The city is so alive and such a hidden gem. What I love most is that it’s a city where it is easy to get involved. If you want to be a part of something and lend your voice, time or talents, you simply need to raise your hand. It’s not that simple in other places.

Tim Metzner: I have never left Cincinnati because there has never been a shortage of opportunity, great people or family! Now that I’m also a parent of four kiddos 9 and under, I also appreciate just how incredible a place this is to raise a family. 

Amy Vaughan: My father moved here in the late ’70s from Cairo, Egypt. My mom was his English tutor at their West Side high school. They married and moved to the East Side, where I grew up. I moved away to Chicago after I married my high school sweetheart. We lived there for seven years before moving to England for two years, then Ann Arbor, Michigan, for one year – until we finally settled in Ohio to be close to family and for my husband’s job at UC.

Michael Young: I left, and vowed to never come back. A couple years later, an opportunity presented itself in Cincinnati and I couldn’t pass up the chance to work on something I was passionate about. Shortly after moving back I became a part of a young professional-centered volunteer organization, Give Back Cincinnati, and the rest is history.

Nancy Aichholz: I grew up in Cincinnati. I went away for undergrad but returned because Cincinnati has such a rich culture of arts and entertainment, safe neighborhoods and great schools. Even at a young age, I felt the power of the connections that Cincinnati provides and wanted to capitalize on that network. 

Sue Baggott: I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, and I was recruited to Cincinnati by P&G where I spent the first chapter of my career becoming a global innovation leader working in Beauty Care, Cosmetics & Fragrances, and Baby Care. At P&G, I met my husband, Steve, and soon after we married we did an international assignment in Europe, moved to Baltimore and eventually moved back to Cincy in 1997. While neither of us grew up in Cincy, we’ve loved the friendly atmosphere and the accessibility to so many wonderful amenities such as parks, sports, restaurants, theater, community centers and more. 

Bill Tucker: I grew up in Texas and began my professional career in Illinois. I came to Cincinnati in 1995 when my company was acquired. Although I transferred to Atlanta for a few years, I couldn’t wait to get back to the Midwest city that I had fallen in love with.

What is your favorite thing about Cincinnati?

Tucker: The rich diversity of our community; being in relationship with people who don’t look like me or have the same life experiences as I do.

Vaughan: Just one!? I would say evolution. When I moved away in 2001, this city was completely different. The food, art, culture, small businesses and the startup community have evolved so much. To this day it is still evolving, and I’ve loved seeing it all happen firsthand.

Young: Give Back Cincinnati. It is the best thing a young professional can get involved with. Over the years I have found myself in places I didn’t know existed, found amazing restaurants and learned about interesting breweries and bars. While learning about interesting things to do in the area, I got to be a small part of making a difference: by serving more than 12,000 Thanksgiving meals, painting over a hundred houses, and hosting more than 100 other volunteer events throughout the region.

Aichholz: One of my favorites is our beautiful skyline as you drive into Cincinnati on I-75 North – another good reason to get that bridge built!!

Baggott: Impact 100, Sotto’s short rib cappellacci and Graeter’s ice cream.

What has been your biggest personal challenge working in the startup space? 

Grant: A perfect product is unobtainable, and if we try to build the perfect solutions prior to releasing, they will never get released to the world. MVP (minimal valuable product) is a term that is so misunderstood but the keyword is “valuable.” When I walk into the Juneteenth Block Party amongst the 5,000 who have trusted us to attend and be inspired and celebrate, do I notice the lighting on the stage being slightly off? Sure I do. Do the 5,000 people? No they don’t, nor do they care either. I now release everything when the people want it, not when I want them to have it. 

Tucker: Time. It takes time to understand where the on-ramps are for entrepreneurs as they seek access to customers, talent and capital. Asking for help goes a long way towards understanding where to find help.

Young: Isolation during lockdown has been my biggest personal challenge. The chance encounters with my network were gone, it was harder to talk through problems and I got in my own head. Huge shout out to my friend Kelly Bonnell at Main Street Ventures for taking the time to help me talk through problems and develop a plan for StudyHall’s future. 

Aichholz: My biggest challenge was coming from the corporate world and then owning my own business; learning the ropes of a nonprofit professional had a steeper learning curve than I expected. Once I accepted that, it is really all about development and fundraising so we can deliver on our mission. It became much easier!

What do you feel Cincinnati startup space has to offer? What would you change? 

Vaughan: I’ve been involved in the past with Cintrifuse, Union Hall and the Brandery as an agency, resident and supporter. Union Hall is a gem. Our Together Digital Cincinnati Chapter still uses the space for their meet-ups. Also, pre-pandemic, having the space to go and work outside of home helped me make the shift from agency life to small-business owner, which can get a bit lonely.

Metzner: The “Midwest nice” advantage is real! It is quite easy to get connected to and get a meeting with just about anyone in town, across industries. Not only that, there’s a genuine desire to want to help founders!

Bonnell: I think a better question is “What doesn’t Greater Cincinnati have to offer startups?” However, too many good ideas fall by the wayside because opportunities for starting and growing a business are not equally available to all founders in our community. Plus, it takes time to gain the traction needed for venture funding or loans. Main Street Ventures’ programs level the playing field to make entrepreneurship accessible and equitable in our region. Our Launch and Leap Grant Funding Programs seek to bridge the capital gap so that all good ideas can be brought to life.

Grant: This city is a roll-your-sleeves-up kind of place. We don’t hang our ability to get things done on anyone other than ourselves. The fact that the rest of the world thinks we’re behind is something that I love, to be honest. It allows me the capability to build and create without too much noise. The one thing we can do better is collaborate; what we can get done together is far greater than what we can get done separately.

Favorite advice book, blogger or podcast related to startups?

Vaughan: “How I Built This” is a great way to hear behind the scenes of founder stories. I also love and will listen to anything by Adam Grant, who is an organizational psychologist and/or Brene Brown who by now just about everyone knows. As for books, definitely read “Originals” by Adam Grant as well.

Grant: “Drink Champs.” The entire premise of this podcast is to get legendary hip-hop artists to reveal intimate stories about their journeys and humble beginnings. If you think about hip-hop, which is still fairly new, you have to acknowledge the entrepreneurial spirits of these men and women who had embarked on a journey never walked before. It’s beyond inspirational.

Metzner: Reach out for coffee and I’ll tailor my suggestions based on your needs! A few general ones I’ve found most useful though: “The Hard Thing about Hard Things,” anything by Reid Hoffman (his podcasts and books are amazing) and “Working Backwards.”

Young: If you hang around me enough, I’ll annoy you until you read “Ask Your Developer” by Jeff Lawson, the founder of Twilio. If you’re a non-technical founder, it does a great job explaining what high quality developers are looking for in a role and how to get the most out of them.

Bonnell: Without a doubt, subscribe and listen to “From Founder to CEO.” In each episode, Todd Uterstaedt, a resident of our great city, interviews super successful and amazing founders – think Netflix, Calendly, Basecamp – the list goes on. You come away with something to think about every time.

Aichholz: My go-to book is the Holy Bible. It is amazing what God has to teach us all in that timeless book! I also like to follow highly successful female founders like Martha Stewart and Sara Blakely. Actually, one that is local and an Aviatra graduate that I follow very closely is Lisa Woodruff of

Baggott: A favorite book recommendation of mine for entrepreneurs focuses on how anyone can build their connection skills through an abundance mentality and cultivating meaningful relationships: “The Connector’s Advantage” by Michele Tillis Lederman.

What other wisdom would you share with those in the Cincinnati startup and innovation community?

Aichholz: I like to tell our female founders to just DO IT. Don’t overthink something that you are passionate about. Just throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. If something doesn’t work, it isn’t a failure, because you learn from it. Just fix it or try something else.

Vaughan: Prioritize sleep, hydration and meditation. Work smarter, not harder. Build the kind of business you wish existed.

Tucker: The Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem, unlike many others, takes an inclusive, collaborative approach that focuses on more than valuations and exits and instead embraces organizations such as Flywheel that contribute to improving the social fabric of our community.

Young: Ask your developer! A high-quality developer will help you create unique solutions to actual business problems. It’s also a great way to keep a developer engaged in your work instead of looking for their next opportunity.

Baggott: Observe and listen closely, look for ways to serve and always give first. In my early days exploring our entrepreneurial ecosystem, I learned a lot through observing the dynamics, asking probing questions and listening closely to understand the landscape so I could find the spaces where I might contribute. With this focus on service and adding value, I was able to build positive relationships and trust.

Metzner: Over-invest in building great culture. Everyone talks about the importance of hiring great people (true!) and how they are our greatest asset, but not as many back that up with action by investing time and resources in building into them and creating a great work environment. Start early and don’t lose sight of this as you grow.

Grant: Stay here, we’re going places.

Responses were compiled and edited by Movers & Makers staff.

StartupCincy Week, Oct. 26-29

Produced by Cintrifuse, this multi-day event features:

  • Concentrated bursts of content – panelists, speakers, and keynotes
  • Happy Hours and networking opportunities
  • Cintrifuse annual meeting
  • FinTech Frontier Pitch Competition for a $75,000 prize pool
  • Startup job fair … and much more

StartupCincy Week 2021 will include both in-person and virtual elements, depending on in-place CDC and governmental guidelines.

Cincy tourism company, chef top annual “Flight Night” pitch competition

Two women-led startups earned top prizes at Aviatra Accelerators’ perennial “Flight Night” pitch competition this month, earning cash prizes totaling $10,000 to support their businesses.

Aclipse Campervans, founded in 2019 by friends Sofia Mimendi and Emily Bruns, placed first, receiving $6,000. Aclipse Campervans provides a unique and all-inclusive solution for people who want to adventure in nature, but without the need to invest in their own camping gear. The company’s rentable campervans provide a higher level of comfort and amenities that traditional camping does not.

Mimendi and Bruns have seen a huge spike as the Covid-19 pandemic pushes more people outdoors. The company is looking to raise $200,000 to add more vans, hire personnel and add satellite locations.

Looqma, founded by Dominique Khoury, took second place and a $4,000 prize.

Looqma (pronouced LOOK-ma) is a pop-up kitchen, artisanal bakery, catering company and integrative wellness concept inspired by Khoury’s Lebanese heritage. Khoury, who was born in South Africa and moved to San Diego as a child, grew up visiting neighborhood farms and forming meals that reflected home. Looqma is an opportunity to experience and interact with high-quality fresh bakery products and dishes, she said.

Aviatra Accelerators, a Covington-based nonprofit accelerator tailored to women-owned startups and small businesses, hosted the “Flight Night” pitch competition to showcase five female-founded businesses that participated in “Launch,” one of three classes Aviatra offers. Launch is tailored to female business owners who already operate a vetted business with an established revenue stream and customer base. 

The cohort, which included nine weeks of classes from June through August, partnered the women with subject matter experts and mentors to further develop their business plans and financial projections

Past Flight Night pitch competitions have attracted more than 250 attendees. In the interest of safety, this year’s Flight Night was hosted in hybrid fashion, featuring an invitation-only event live streamed on Facebook, viewed by nearly 600 people.

Nancy Aichholz 2021
Nancy Aichholz is the president and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators.
Ross Van Pelt Photography

“We were determined that these newest entrepreneurs would have the best possible experience to ‘launch’ their businesses and be presented to the community in a professional and impactful way,” Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators, said in a release.

Pre-recorded video pitches were aired online, while the six contestants joined live from the Children’s Theater.

Viewers throughout the evening had the opportunity to “vote” for their fan favorite for $5 a vote. This year’s fan favorite was Jennifer Panepinto of Painted Bread Marketing. Painted Bread Marketing aims to help companies scale and grow using creative and modern marketing strategies, including website maintenance, social media, email campaigns, PR and more. Panepinto has experience working for startups, Fortune 1,000 companies and non-profits. 

Aviatra Accelerators, formerly Bad Girl Ventures, serves the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton markets. In addition to its Launch program, Aviatra offers Explore, for early-stage business owners, and Grow, for entrepreneurs eying expansion, among other support efforts.

Since its founding in 2010, Aviatra has served 2,700 women and granted more than $1 million in low-interest loans. Its entrepreneurs have received more than $10 million in follow-on funding and have generated more than $1 billion in revenue.

Aviatra Accelerators to celebrate 10 years of success in empowering women entrepreneurs across region

Aviatra Accelerators, Inc. is devoted to supporting women-owned startups and small businesses and has been empowering female entrepreneurs across Ohio and Northern Kentucky at all stages of business for more than 10 years.

Now, in celebration of its milestone anniversary, the organization will celebrate its alumnae – known as “Aviatras” – in grand fashion with a special 10th Anniversary Expo & Celebration on Sept. 30.

The Cooper Creek Event Center (4040 Cooper Road, Blue Ash) will host the 10th anniversary event, which will serve as a fundraiser to support Aviatra’s future program participants. An alumnae expo will kick things off from 2 to 5 p.m. with a networking celebration following from 5 to 7 p.m.

To showcase the broad range of industries that Aviatra serves, women from all industries who have participated in Aviatra cohort training will display their businesses, products and services during the afternoon expo event. At 5 p.m. a celebration of alumnae successes and the exciting future planned for Aviatra Accelerators begins. The celebration will include cocktails, dinner by the bite, a raffle featuring alumnae products and services, and a live auction.

“A decade is a significant achievement for any entrepreneur or organization alike to enjoy. With this 10th anniversary celebration, we will be able to not only celebrate all of our Aviatras’ achievements, but champion them as well,” said Aviatra Accelerators President/CEO Nancy Aichholz. “Our region is full of talented, innovative women who are hard at work to make both Ohio and Northern Kentucky a better place to work, live and play; this event will give them and the public alike a chance to discover and appreciate their talents.”

Originally founded in 2010 as Bad Girl Ventures, Inc., Aviatra Accelerators began as a small nonprofit organization designed to provide capital investment to women-owned startup companies. Aviatra has since grown into a leading multi-state accelerator offering female entrepreneurs education, coaching, mentoring, and networking opportunities – all while preparing them to access capital. Its headquarters is at 114 West Pike in Covington.

Through expertise in business basics and guidance from mentors and coaches, Aviatra has educated more than 2,700 women and granted more than $1 million in low-interest loans. Since its inception, Aviatra’s female entrepreneurs have received over $10 million in follow-on funding and generated over $1 Billion in combined earned revenue upon completion of programming.

While Aviatra’s 10th Anniversary Expo will be free and open to the public, the Celebration following the Expo will be ticketed at $125.

Event sponsors include: O’Rourke Wrecking, First Financial Bank and BB&T/Sun Trust/Truist, Cinnova, Chubb Insurance, Queen City Angels, Park National Bank, Scooter Media, Risk Source/Clark Theders, Corporex and Frost Brown Todd, HCDC/OIC.

Launch Dayton kicks off entrepreneurship conference

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Launch Dayton Startup Week begins its entrepreneurship conference September 13 through 16.

According to a release by Parallax and Launch Dayton, this free conference will include speakers and workshops from Dayton startup founders, business-building experts and resource providers, among others.

Monday’s events will allow for shopping at local businesses as well as an Early Risers Pitch Competition, the release said, where ten local startups compete for a cash prize.

The conference will be held in person at the Dayton Arcade, with all guests entering at The Hub at 31 South Main Street. However, the release said that livestreaming sessions will be available for those who prefer to attend virtually. 

Specialized workshops will continue through the rest of the conference.

Tuesday, Sept. 14 

  • MedTech, curated by BioOhio
  • SaaS, curated by Technology First 
  • Business 101 classes, curated by Parallax’s Early Risers Academy 
  • Marketing workshops, curated by LMG 
  • Elevator pitch practice — in an actual elevator 

Wednesday, Sept. 15 

  • Food/Bev/Retail/Consumer Products, curated by Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Arcade Kitchen Incubator 
  • Artists Creative Entrepreneurs, curated by CultureWorks & hosted by The Contemporary 
  • Dayton Scaleup workshops on value prop, financials and investment models, curated by the Entrepreneurs’ Center 
  • A million-dollar women founders panel, curated by Aviatra Accelerators — Dayton 

Thursday, Sept. 16 

  • Defense, curated by Parallax Advanced Research and sponsored by Infinite Management Solutions & Treble One Aerospace 
  • Future Tech, curated by OhioX 
  • Marketing workshops, curated by LMG 

To register for the conference, click here.  

Meet the 11 groups selected for new accelerator program seeking fresh ideas

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Aviatra Accelerators and Transform Cincy are among 11 local nonprofits chosen for a new accelerator program looking to fund unconventional ideas.

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati, a local philanthropic group, selected the groups to participate in the inaugural Project XLR8 cohort, a new accelerator model that offers grants, hands-on coaching, training and collaboration to develop the ideas. One project will ultimately be chosen for further funding and support. 

In total, 31 nonprofits applied, per Chris Shroat, Social Venture Partners board chair. Social Venture Partners announced the program in June, with a deadline of Aug. 1.

Ideas were rated on innovation and equity, among other criteria. The nonprofits selected receive $1,000 and will take part in the first phase of the program.

“The submissions we received did not disappoint,” Shroat said in a release. “Our partners are eager to start collaborating with these organizations.”

The nonprofits selected include:

  • Aviatra Accelerators, for its female founder financial resource center, a business accelerator for female entrepreneurs.
  • Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, for public play, a new neighborhood engagement initiative to produce a community-created, place-based, immersive theater production.
  • Forever Kings, for Boyz II Kings, a program to empower and create a culture of brotherhood among young men of color.
  • Hearing Speech and Deaf Center, for a communications access bank to provide American Sign Language interpreting where Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations are not mandated.
  • Isaiah 55, for a mobile soup kitchen to improve access to nutritious foods for people with low incomes and provide job training in food preparation. 
  • Music Resource Center, for a low-cost afternoon music enrichment program for teens.
  • Refugee Connect, for a health navigator program to provide health care coordination for newly arrived refugee parents and their school-aged children.
  • Rise Up News, for multimedia content, including connections to resources, so people incarcerated in local jails can reenter society effectively.
  • St. Francis Seraph Ministries, for the “Stitched” training program to teach basic sewing and job preparation skills to under-resourced women at its Sarah Center.
  • School Board School, for a seven-month program to teach diverse leaders to engage with and participate on school boards.
  • Transform Cincy, for a program to provide free, curated clothing and accessories for transgender and gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ youth ages 5 to 25.

Overall, Project XLR8 spans eight months. During the first phase, Social Venture Partners will work closely with the chosen nonprofits to brainstorm and refine their ideas.

After 12 weeks, four to six nonprofits will advance to the next phase, a deep dive into business plan development. 

This 12- to 16-week phase will close with Social Venture Partners selecting one idea as the focus of a multiyear community investment. The funding will last up to three years, but SVP said its relationships are often sustained well past the funding period.

“Project XLR8 is intended to build even deeper relationships with our nonprofit collaborators and help them maximize their impact,” Shroat said. 

Locally, Social Venture has about 60 philanthropist partners, who have decades of expertise in finance, marketing, fundraising and strategic planning.

SVP Cincinnati is part of SVP International, a network of 3,500 philanthropists across 40-plus affiliates.

Resource Guide

In Covington, your vision can become a reality. As our City turns 200, we’re ripe we’re ripe with opportunity. Alive and growing in a sustainable way, Covington is creating the perfect environment for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and established businesses to prosper in our creative spaces.

Our Resource Guide is help provide you with helpful information how to establish, maintain and grow your business within the Cit.

Interested in starting your own business?

Click here to view the City’s Business Guide and learn how to get started today!

  • Register Your Business
  • Incentives
  • Regional & State
  • Zoning & Building Permits
  • Training
  • Doing Business With the City
  • Trash & Recycling

More Information

If you have a specific question that is not addressed on the website, please contact one of the following Departments:

  • Economic Development and Business Retention Questions: 859-292-2163
  • Questions about Taxes or Occupational Licenses: 859-292-2181
  • Questions regarding Code Enforcement, Zoning or Building Codes: 859-292-2323

Partner Organizations

  • The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky (The Catalytic Fund)
  • The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-ED)
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • Greater Cincinnati Development Foundation
  • NKY Chamber of Commerce
  • Skyward NKY
  • Southbank Partners
  • Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
  • Kentucky Small Business Development Center

Northern Kentucky accelerator expands with office at Ohio innovation hub

A Covington-headquartered accelerator group that focuses on women-owned startups officially unveiled its second brick-and-mortar location this week at a new Ohio innovation hub.

Aviatra Accelerators, a nonprofit that offers business basics, mentor guidance and capital to fledgling businesses, unveiled its new office space June 16 at the Dayton Arcade, part of a series of prominent buildings located in the city’s downtown.

Aviatra Accelerators initially expanded to Dayton just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. It announced its first office in the redeveloped Dayton Arcade in early 2021 and has been running its programming virtually since.

The new office, located on the Arcade’s second floor, takes advantage of all the resources of the Dayton Arcade, Aviatra said, including the Hub — a mixed-use space that contains shared and private offices, meeting rooms, conference areas, pop-up retail opportunities, learning labs and classrooms.

“Dayton is a hotbed of entrepreneurship, and the Dayton Arcade is ground-zero for the startup business ecosystem,” Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators, said in a release. “The energy and collaborative opportunities that exist position Aviatra ideally.”

The Dayton Arcade, built between 1902 and 1904, includes a series of nine interconnecting buildings topped by 90-foot diameter glass rotunda. After sitting vacant and unmaintained for 30 years, the Arcade’s in the midst of a massive restoration effort that will add a mix of residential, office, restaurant and event space.

The Dayton office will be led by Pamela Cone, Aviatra’s market director. At the Arcade, Aviatra joins office tenants Green Zero Energy, Logos@Work, the Wright Brothers Institute, Launch Dayton, ConsumerOptix, iHeartMedia and more.

Aviatra Accelerators, founded in 2010 as Bad Girl Ventures, is headquartered on West Pike Street in Covington. The group’s programming includes Explore, an early stage ideation and business validation program; Launch, a traditional accelerator for young businesses that need to secure funding; and Grow, for ongoing sustainability. Aviatra also offers a digital, online platform of its curriculum called Aviatra365.

To date, Aviatra has awarded millions in funding to more 2,500 female entrepreneurs who have created 15,000 jobs and generated more than $1 billion in earned revenues.

Aviatra plans to hold its first in-person event at the Dayton Arcade, a GROW workshop with Jenny Dewberry, CEO of People-Power, from 6-8 p.m. June 28.

Aviatra Accelerators opens its doors at Dayton Arcade

Aviatra Accelerators, a non-profit organization focused on helping women entrepreneurs, celebrated its downtown Dayton office Tuesday.

The Covington, Ky.-based organization expanded to Dayton in March 2020, just as the pandemic sunk its claws into the economy.

The new office will focus on female entrepreneurs and joins outfits such as Launch Dayton, The Entrepreneurs Center, The Hub Small Business Development Center and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, among others, all downtown, many of them in or near the newly redeveloped Arcade.