This week’s blog post comes from Emily, founding member of Make It Dayton

That’s a pretty heavy title.  The connection between the Dayton Startup Week and regional economic revitalization isn’t so hard to see, but how does the Dayton Mini Maker Faire fit into this picture  Hopefully by the end of this post it will all be clear

Dayton Startup Week

Dayton Startup Week has been going on since this Monday.  This is an event that’s been held annually since 2015 and is hosted by the Dayton Tech Guide to help connect entrepreneurs with local resources like the business incubators, venture capital, Federal Small Business Innovation Research fund projects, and more.  The week is filled with seminars, workshops and panels to help people with ideas start up their Startup.

Don’t Panic! It’s the Hitchhikers Guide to Dayton Tech and Startups!

Economic Revitalization

Now let’s talk economic revitalization.  We all know what happened in 2008.  Dayton, like most of the country, took a hard hit, especially in manufacturing jobs.  Dayton has historically been a manufacturing city, specifically with heavy hitting companies like NCR and Delco.  Those big hitters aren’t here to carry our economy like they did in the past, and most people understand that part.  

The NCR Invention Room – Dayton had makerspaces before it was cool!

What isn’t as obvious is that there is a whole ecosystem of small business and manufacturers that built up in Dayton to support the needs of those big companies.  Many of them have survived and are now thriving because they have pivoted and found new customers and new technologies to grow their businesses.  What they haven’t found are employees.  Mayor Whaley even created a Manufacturing Task Force to address the problem our manufacturers face in trying to find qualified technicians, engineers and other employees.

This is one small screen capture of the startup businesses in Dayton taken from the Dayton Tech Guide!

Dayton Mini Maker Faire

Ok, stay with me here.  This is where the Dayton Mini Maker Faire comes in.  You’re probably thinking 1) this blog post is a lot more dense than usual and 2) Maker Faire doesn’t have anything to do with anything you just described.  Well, 1) you’re right, but this is important stuff, and 2) it absolutely does.  Maker Faires are celebrations of the doers, thinkers and creators.  The people who like to get their hands dirty and get down to business.  If you look at our list of exhibitors you’ll see a fair number of them are new startup companies.  Some are manufacturers.  Others are teaching skills that startups and manufacturers alike look for in employees.  So yes, Maker Faire is fun and funky and lighthearted, but deep down at its core Maker Faire is about connecting the right people.  That’s what Startup Week is about, that’s what the Manufacturing Task Force is about, and that’s what we’re here to do – connect the right people and really make Dayton a Maker City!

Don’t believe me? Here are the facts that back it up!

Why Makers Matter to Manufacturing

A September 2016 Collider event, organized by the Air Force Small Business Hub, invited community members associated with the maker movement to address the gaps between makers and manufacturers.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Maker Hub & Wright Brothers Institute captured the conversation and investigated the results.

A big question came up – the maker movement offers a lot of promise, a lot of innovation, a lot of outside of the box thinking – but how can manufacturers apply it?

Credit: Jennie Hempstead, Wright Brothers Institute IDEA Lab

The Maker – To – Manufacturer Mindset

By zeroing into the mindset, AFRL and Wright Brothers Institute were able to look at the three major connections of the two groups: Holistic Design Mentality, Collaborative Nature, and Entrepreneurial Spirit.

Holistic Design Mentality – Understanding how something is made from start to finish

Collaborative Nature – Open to partnering with experts and other makers’

Entrepreneurial Spirit – Desire to find the intersection between profit and creativity


These are the Makers that Manufacturers are looking for.  Meet them at the Dayton Mini Maker Faire.

Credit: Jennie Hempstead, Wright Brothers Institute IDEA Lab

To download the full size infographic PDF, click here:

Why Makers Matter

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