Tuesday November 2, 2010

Seeding New Businesses

A gift from a Dayton-area firm could help aspiring entrepreneurs with a University of Dayton connection.

Entrepreneurial University of Dayton students and alumni have another tool to help get new businesses off the ground through the gift of a Dayton-area real estate investment firm.

The Connor Group Foundation Seed Investment Fund is donating $225,000 to establish the fund, which offers multi-year loans to qualifying businesses owned by students or recent graduates of the University of Dayton, according to Robert Chelle, Fifth Third Entrepreneur-in-Residence and founding director of the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

"The University's nationally ranked entrepreneurship program emphasizes learning through real-world experiences," Chelle said. "The Connor Group seed fund will add an important dimension to these experiences and enable qualifying businesses to take the next step of growth."

Chelle said entrepreneurship students already start, operate and advise businesses as part of the learning process. The annual Business Plan Competition offers an opportunity to refine a great idea into a solid plan that demonstrates the start-up company is feasible, profitable, innovative and worthy of going to market.

The top three teams in the competition will have the opportunity to pitch their start-up ideas to the fund, he said.

Current University of Dayton students and alumni who have graduated in the past five years also may apply by completing a loan application, available through Richard Anglin, fund director, at ranglin1@notes.udayton.edu.

Founded by Larry Connor in 1991, The Connor Group owns and operates more than 17,000 high-quality apartment units in Dallas, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C., and in Ohio in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. 

Contact Robert Chelle at 937-229-2022 or chelle@udayton.edu.