DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Arcade is welcoming a new space for entrepreneurs. A groundbreaking was held Monday for the 6888 Incubator Kitchen.

6888 Incubator Kitchen was founded by three women as a way to help under-resourced food entrepreneurs get their footing and learn how to build their business. Jamaica White is one of the founders and the current program manager.

“Over 60 businesses can come in, whether they are caterers, food service, e-commerce, a food truck, where they can not only scale their business, but they can cook and showcase their product,” White explained.

They are building a 10,000 square foot commercial kitchen that will serve as a haven for growth and opportunity. It will operate 24/7, and local food entrepreneurs can use the space to make and sell their products. There will also be room for storage. Along with the space, they will be given training to help establish their business and keep it flourishing.

“What we want to see happen is not only that the food entrepreneurs get the education that they need to grow their business, but they have the space to do it. Therefore, going back out into the communities, employing more people, establishing more brick and mortars. It is really just adding more dollars to the area,” White said.

While the kitchen is under construction, 6888 is already running an academy called Sharpen the Axe. It is a five week program that provides business training to entrepreneurs so they already have the tools they need when the kitchen opens.

Lisa Coleman just graduated from the first cohort of the Sharpen the Axe program. She is the owner of I’Quisine and her specialty is stuffed chicken and waffles. She always wanted to own her own business so she took a leap of faith during the pandemic.

“The job that I actually worked at was kind of going to like a skeleton crew, and I just decided I needed to go ahead, take my 401K out, and just invest in myself,” Coleman explained.

Now, she is excited to get to work in the incubator kitchen and reach even more customers. She said the lessons she learned during the program will be instrumental to her success.

“If you don’t know exactly know what you’re doing and you’re just like, ‘Hey, I got my own business, and then you don’t have anyone to kind of guide you and tell you, you need to do this and you need to do that, then you don’t know what you’re doing. And I think that’s where a lot of small businesses fail because they don’t have the 6888 to actually guide them on what’s needed to be done,” Coleman said.

The founders chose the name 6888 after the 6888th Central Postal Battalion in World War II. More than 800 black female soldiers were sent to Europe to fix a backlog of mail. They were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for the work they did. Read more about the women of the 6888th here.

The Incubator Kitchen is expected to be finished in September 2023. To find out more about how you can be part of the kitchen or support the organization, click here.