SpringBoard second round of entrepreneurs continues to push through the development of a business plan, learning from one another as well as our dedicated volunteers from local accounting firms, law offices, branding companies and small business financing institutions. Already, strong connections between classes of SpringBoard entrepreneurs have started to form. For example, 10 year old design and branding firm Once Blind Studios, SpringBoard alum, served as our branding and marketing expertise for this session. For 90 minutes co-owners Leisa and Randy Wilcox emphasized the importance of creating a strong, communicative and visually pleasing brand in attracting the right consumer and sending the right message. It was apparent that these seasoned professionals who had taken the course of the summer had gained the confidence to speak of their own expertise and share it with others.
Simultaneously, applications for a session set to begin on October 25th continue to roll in, representing Cincinnati’s diverse creative sector. Fourteen entrepreneurs with ideas for photography businesses, a design firm, a cooperative community kitchen, a retail space for vintage home accessories and a whole sale jewelry design business (just to name a few!) looked to SpringBoard as a next step in their ventures.
October 6th marked the launch of another SpringBoard resource, our bi-monthly Round Tables. These Round Tables are designed to provide continued education opportunities for SpringBoard entrepreneurs. The SpringBoard course leaves these creatives with additional burning questions on operational issues such as intellectual property rights or small business insurance needs. SpringBoard’s first Round Table called upon the expertise of an Over-the-Rhine developer, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and the Cincinnati Development Fund to discuss the realities of renovating historic properties to accommodate the work and live space needs SpringBoard entrepreneurs. In an informal setting structured to operate as a Q & A session, three panelists spent some time hoping to refocus 10 SpringBoarders – helping them to acknowledge the important of focusing on the bottom lines before tackling space they are not professionally or financially prepared to develop. The Round Table also sparked a conversation between ArtWorks and community partners about how spaces in OTR can become better suited to support creative sector.
In other news, SpringBoard graduate Such + Such worked on the fit out of a new Over-the-Rhine clothing boutique slated to open in late November. The owner of Sloane Boutique originally sought out this group of talented designers for a farm table and was so impressed with their professionalism and skills, she ended up hiring the three person firm to build the shelving system and signage for the store.
In just the few short months SpringBoard has been offered to Cincinnati designers, artisans and creative thinkers, collaboration has emerged in ways that are sure to put our city and its local businesses on the map!