DEI / Entrepreneurs / Events / Media / Pitches

5 pitches from the Made in NY Media Center program turning creatives into founders

From supporting black-owned businesses to creating feel-good content, these ventures are about building a new vision for what media can accomplish.

Creative to Founder presenters, left to right: Tulani Foy, Hope Olaidé Wilson, David Bizzaro, Guru Singh and Adetoro Makinde. (Photo courtesy of Made in NY Media Center)

“Now the work begins,” said Made in NY Media Center Programming Producer Bill Curran.

The 2018 cohort of the media incubator’s Creative to Founder Lab had just pitched their projects Thursday night, capping off a program meant to arm creative founders with entrepreneurial skills.

“This is a small springboard to every other conversation they will have as they’re trying to make their project a reality,” Curran said.

For the past eight weeks, the class of five writers, producers, performers and entrepreneurs sharpened their initial ideas at the Media Center’s space in Dumbo, collaborating on lessons in various facets of running a business — from project management and market research to copywriting and branding.

The goal of the program is to build products and platforms that improve diversity, representation and engagement in media.

Check out the specifics of the cohort’s finished pitches:

Tulani Foy

Foy is a brand strategist who turned her frustrations with the lack of representation for black businesses and consumers from her work in advertising into Recast, a consultancy that combines brand strategy and digital marketing assistance to grow the visibility of black-owned businesses.

Foy said connecting consumers with the 2.5 million black-owned businesses in America “is a need that’s not being addressed by anyone right now, and I’m so thankful to the program for helping me figure that out.”

Guru Singh

Singh’s concern over biased or scant coverage from various communities led to Uncommon Spaces, a content aggregation platform for culturally inclusive news and media that aims to improve access to “healthy news” for a diverse audience from a diverse population of creators.

Singh said he hopes to “connect independent content creators from different communities to diverse audiences who might be interested in what they have to say.”

David Bizzaro

Happiness and smiles might not usually be pitched as deliverable products, but Bizzaro, a filmmaker and puppeteer, said his company is in the business of “creative content that teaches adults and children to be happier, kinder humans.” His project is called Sheep Cake, a feel-good short film about a pun-loving sheep who finds his happiness in baking.

If happiness and cake weren’t sure enough products already, Bizzaro said there is widespread generational interest in feel-good stuff. “Millennials want to make the world a better place and are looking for content that resonates with their core values,” he said.

Adetoro Makinde

The first-generation Nigerian-American filmmaker presented Hyphenate Partners, a U.S. and South Africa–based production company that will support projects by storytellers from Africa and the Diaspora.

Makinde called this partnership “an unapologetic and bold ambition of leadership and ownership” meant to professionally empower underrepresented populations in filmmaking. “We’re not waiting for Hollywood to be the sole shepherd of our voices,” she said.

Hope Olaidé Wilson

Olaidé Wilson is a writer, performer, producer and chief storyteller of Indigo Veil Media, a production company aimed at creating projects that engage tough subjects. The effort seeks to train artists in entrepreneurial skills for success, thus creating what she called “SmArtists.”

“As an artist, I didn’t want to feel that I had to just take what comes just to survive,” Olaidé Wilson said. “I wanted to take ownership of my creativity and allow other artists to engage with each other.”

Companies: Made in NY Media Center
Series: Brooklyn

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