With free workshops, BCAN's creative founders are looking to pay it forward - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Oct. 5, 2018 4:43 pm

With free workshops, BCAN’s creative founders are looking to pay it forward

The free workshops help founders spread what they learned in the community. It's one way the program looks to keep the momentum going after demo day.

Founder Fellows introduce themselves at Impact Hub on March 14.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Creative entrepreneurs who were part of the Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network (BCAN) took the stage for demo day at MICA’s Brown Center in May. As the founder fellows shared personal stories and talked about big future plans, it provided an exclamation point after two months of workshops, complete with a big check awarded to Le Monade founder Carleen Goodridge.

Yet while it felt like a culmination, the night wasn’t the end of the founders’ time with BCAN.

The MICA initiative that provides business-building resources to Baltimore entrepreneurs outside the arts college continues programming after demo day.

The founders get access to incubation space for six months, providing space to work among other entrepreneurs. Partnerships with startup incubators like ETC, makerspaces like Open Works or creative hubs like the Eubie Blake Cultural Center allow the founders to find a good fit.

“That level of tailoring is really key to their success,” said BCAN Executive Director Maggie Villegas. “It’s not a one size fits all situation.”

Based in a two-story space inside storefront near the corner of Mt. Royal Ave. and Dolphin St., the BCAN team also continues to meet with entrepreneurs on “smart goals” that can help push a business forward.

In turn, the fellows are also charged with sharing what they learned with others.

This fall, the founders are conducting a series of Pay it Forward workshops. Power Nail Decals kicked it off last month with a DIY nail art workshop The next is on October 9, when Six Point Pictures will provide a look at producing social media content during Baltimore Innovation Week. There will be nine in all.

“Pay it Forward is a way to activate their relationship with the community, but also to build in exposure and a pipeline for customers and clients,” said Sharayna Christmas, BCAN’s program manager.

The workshops can also create a network effect, providing training to other creatives who may be looking to start a business.

“These are creative entrepreneurs that are already thriving,” Christmas said. “Check out what they do, and you can learn from them.”

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The public-facing events provide a window into Baltimore’s creative economy, helping to show that there’s a path to building a sustainable business that makes money for all people with creative talents in many different disciplines.

“You could be working in culinary, fashion, tech. All of those things count,” said Jenné Afiya Matthews, BCAN Engagement Manager.

Inside BCAN's office. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Inside BCAN’s office. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Here’s a look at the workshops, with details via BCAN:

Unpacking Snack Size Content: A panel discussion on producing your social media narrative with Six Point Pictures in collaboration with Baltimore Innovation Week 2018. October 9, 12p-2p at Six Point Pictures (208 South Pulaski St,  Suite 5A)

When Life Gives!: A self-discovery lunch + learn workshop with Le MONADE. October 17 12p-1p at Impact Hub Baltimore, (10 E North Ave).

Building The Love: A business of Design workshop with author Emily Cohen and Style Trail. October 18, 6:30p-8:30p at The Startup Nest (1401 Severn St).

Rise + Remember: An oral history workshop with Rise Charm City. October 27, 2p-4p at Waverly Library (400 E 33rd St.)

The Tee Class: 7 steps to creating your own t-shirt company with Mess in A Bottle (November 1, 6:30p-8p at 3000 Chestnut Ave.)

You Grow It!: How to start and grow a manufacturing business in Baltimore City with Marta Ali Studios. November 7, 6:30p-8:30p at OpenWorks (1400 Greenmount Ave.)

A POP of Culture! How to incorporate ankara fabric accents in your everyday wardrobe with The Regal Group. November 10, 10:30a-12p at BCAN (1200 W Mt Royal Ave.)

Kitchen Sink Beauty: A DIY beauty workshop for youth with Pretty Much Academy. December 15, 10a-12p at 3503 North Charles St.

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