Week one recap of Gem City Black Business Month

By Charisse Ponder

The Greater West Dayton Incubator just wrapped up the first week of its inaugural Gem City Black Business Month. Here's a quick recap of what happened.

The first event was the State of Black Businesses in the Gem City at Sporty's Taphouse and Grill. The event featured table conversations and a panel discussion on building generational wealth as an entrepreneur.

Panelists included Sierra Leone, owner of OFP Theatre and Production Company; Jenelle Ross, president of Bob Ross Auto Group; Chris Shaw, Dayton City Commissioner and owner of Shaw Cleaners; and Brandon White, owner of the White House Event Center.

Ross said a key takeaway she wants participants to remember is not to shy away from networking.

“The more that you can engage and talk with those that you don’t know, allows you to extend your network, as well as you getting the opportunity to learn more about other businesses and organizations in the area as well,” she said.

Ross also mentioned that the diverse group of businesses was helpful for perspective. In the future, she hopes to see black businesses thrive with “generational opportunity” as they take risks to grow their business and support their families.

The other event was the Early Risers: Black Business Edition at Central State’s Dayton campus. Entrepreneurs pitched their businesses that was followed up by a question and answer session.

Audrey Ingram, Launch Dayton marketing manager for Parallax Advanced Research, said she was very pleased with the overall event.

“I always love seeing those connections start to pop up when folks get into the Q&A," she said. "It always ends up being half Q&A and half ideas, so it’s always very exciting to see the community rally behind the folks that we have pitching."

Anikka Masey, a participant and co-owner of New Season Wellness, said Early Risers was helpful to advertise for her business.“The basis of our business is really to educate the community. And so having programs like this and opportunities like this is really helpful to us to get a word out,” she said.

Following the event, Masey said the next steps she's going to take are doing more community engagement and prioritizing new customers.

Week two of Gem City Black Business Month events include:

  • Black Men in Business — Monday, Aug. 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Paul Laurence Dunbar House, 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St., Dayton, OH 45402
  • Trotwood Chamber of Commerce Networking Mixer — Wednesday, Aug. 11 from 5:30-7 p.m. at 4910 Derringer Rd., Trotwood, OH 45426
  • Downtown Black Business Hop — Saturday, Aug. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the starting location of Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar, 146 E. Third St., Dayton, OH 45402


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