DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Greater West Dayton Incubator (GWDI) has awarded the first microloans to three Black-owned and woman-owned businesses.

According to the University of Dayton (UD), three black-owned and woman-owned businesses have received the first microloans from the GWDI. UD said these microloans will help the businesses with the equipment and marketing they need to grow.

TheZe DealZ thrift store boutique, Drakes Associates janitorial and maintenance company and Tosha’s Cleaning Service are the recipients of the microloans said UD.

“These businesses are well established in the community, and they have clear plans to expand with this funding,” said Whitney Barkley, director of the GWDI. “We are excited to award these first microloans and begin fulfilling the program’s mission to create more equitable economic opportunities for business owners who have been historically marginalized.”

Twanna Drakes, owner of Drakes and Associates, said she is looking forward to using the resources from the incubator, “The Greater West Dayton Incubator is a long-overdue resource for small business owners like myself to not just exist, but become impactful in our communities and allows us to compete with larger businesses.”

UD said Cultural Capital microloans can range from $500 to $15,000. The money can be used for operating expenses, new equipment, website development, marketing, hiring staff and other costs of running a business.

Applications for microloans are still being accepted for Black, woman or underrepresented entrepreneurs and businesses that serve Greater West Dayton. UD said the deadline to apply is March 7.

UD said applications are evaluated based on flexible criteria emphasizing passion, persistence and planning.

According to UD, there is an application workshop planned for Feb. 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1105 West Third St. Registration information is available here.

More information about the GWDI is available here