Impacting the Community
SpringBoard is a program from ArtWorks of Cincinnati made possible in part by an ArtPlace grant of $150,000. The goal is to provide artisans and creative entrepreneurs with business development training and a collaborative work space in the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which will be home to a proposed streetcar line. Ultimately SpringBoard will enliven neighborhoods with these creative industries, retaining and attracting local talent.
In addition to an 8-week business planning course, entrepreneurs have access to monthly Round Tables that cover in depth topics such as small business insurance, intellectual property law, property development and social media tools. This ongoing support of the entrepreneurs continues to strengthen the creative community throughout the region. Now hosting program activities, thanks to funding from ArtPlace, is an incubation space next to ArtWorks Administrative offices. At the beginning of June a group of entrepreneurs became the first to use this space as we launched our 6th course since our launch a year ago. The space will also be home to round tables, ongoing mentorship and a collaborative work space for entrepreneurs.
This next round of entrepreneurs includes an artisan sausage maker, biodegradable bird houses, a ceramicist and a letterpress printer just to name a few.
Sarah Corlett, Director for SpringBoard, talks how SpringBoard will impact the community over time.
What will be different in your community as a result of your work?
CORTLETT: First, as suggested in an earlier post, our work cannot have an impact in a vacuum and certainly not without collaboration. The changes in our community that we anticipate taking place will happen in tandem with other small business development programs, neighborhood business districts, developers, city leaders, academic institutions and our non-profit community.
Our hope, and one of the reasons for starting SpringBoard in Cincinnati, is to nurture the creative sector in our region. By offering a welcoming environment and resources through our business development program, we believe that designers, artisans, dreamers and visionaries will think twice before peeling off to bigger cities with more perceived opportunity. Our local market is hungry for the next unique product or service and the barriers to starting a business are lower here. Talented designers, artists and chefs emerging from our academic institutions will see the potential for starting their own ventures, for making their passions a source of sustainable income.
We believe the physical landscape of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods will transform over time as a result of our work and of course the work of many others. As SpringBoard builds a stronger community of entrepreneurs, vacant industrials space will become workshops and empty storefronts will be occupied with unique retail. Our own SpringBoard space will solidify Over-the-Rhine’s growing reputation as a place for creativity. New collaborations and ideas will emerge as this network of SpringBoard educated and mentored ventures connect to solve problems and discover unique solutions. Visitors will flock to a City and they will leave plotting their next visit, impressed with our vibrant business districts and our energetic downtown.