Dayton’s first Startup Weekend is taking place at the Entrepreneurs Center in Tech Town beginning Friday. At startup weekends around the country and the world, people with business concepts come in on a Friday, pitch an idea, and form a plan by the end of the weekend.
Organizer Dave Best says the goal is mainly to get people motivated.
“You don’t have time to waffle about and decide, eh, I could do this, or I could do that, or what should our domain name be?” he says. “You sort of have to throw all that stuff into gear and just move on it.”
One thing Startup Weekend can’t get you is money for your project. Best says a lot of the projects hatched at these types of events are web-based and don’t have too many startup costs—it’s just a matter of moving on the idea. Joel Ivers with the Dayton Development Coalition says Dayton’s not lacking in potential entrepreneurs, but says the coalition is working to increase funding opportunities.
“The biggest challenge most of them have is funding, and we’re hoping to solve that for the good companies in the region,” he says.
The coalition recently got $3 million from the state’s Third Frontier Commission for a new investment fund for startups called Accelerant, bringing the total fund up to $10 million including contributions from more than 30 local individual and institutional investors. Accelerant is expected to provide startup funds for 25 to 30 companies in the next three years, mainly in the tech and biotech sectors. Ivers says interested entrepreneurs should reach out directly to Accelerant.
A previous fund called the Dayton Region Signature Fund has invested in 34 companies since 2007; 10 of those have exited the fund and 15 others are still operating. Ivers says the coalition forecasts about a 150 percent rate of return on the fund.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.