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.