Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Global Acceleration Program for Creative Entrepreneurs Comes to Duluth


October 18, 2018

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Cultural Entrepreneurship Program, the Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Family Freedom Center, the American Indian Community Housing Organization, Fathers Rise Together, and Integrative Re-Sources LLC, have joined forces with Creative Startups to a launch a first-to-the-region pre-accelerator program for creative entrepreneurs in Duluth and surrounding areas - Creative Startups Duluth LABS.

Creative Startups LABS is a four-week business boot camp designed to propel startups from the idea stage to market, providing entrepreneurs a framework for scaling their ventures to profitability. "Creative Startups is a vision realizer," says Creative Startups alum Lee Francis, founder of indigenous comic book publisher Native Realities and the first-ever Indigenous Comic Con.

The four-week LABS program is designed for entrepreneurs who are currently in the first stages of growing a creative company. This program is ideal for those that want to discover if theirs is a startup worth going to market and determining the next steps to get there quickly. LABS will help entrepreneurs identify ideal customers, learn to pitch their business, gain an understanding of important business concepts like sales pipelines and minimum viable products, and connect with key local resources.

The program welcomes creative entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to apply and is open to all Minnesota residents, including those in the larger Duluth region, rural areas, and Tribal Nations. “We work to find and further entrepreneurs who disrupt the status quo, shift the balance of power, and build companies where the norms are respect and dignity, compassion and creativity,” says Alice Loy, co-founder of Creative Startups.

The participation fee for the LABS program in Duluth is $125. This fee is waived if participants provide a 1-2 page letter of recommendation from a community leader, non-profit organization or business leader that is active in the creative economy.

Applications close November 4. The boot camp takes place both in-person and online between November 19 and December 19, 2018.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating should visit to learn more and to complete an application.

View the video:

Creative Startups Duluth will join a roster of successful Creative Startups programs that support creative entrepreneurs across the globe, including three accelerators in the U.S. (Albuquerque, New Mexico; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland) and two international (Kuwait and Malaysia).

“We have a creative economy that generates $40 million worth of economic activity in Duluth,” mayor Emily Larson told Twin Cities Business in December 2017. Like many smaller cities nationwide, Duluth is capitalizing on its appeal to creative and outdoors enthusiasts seeking livable communities.

The LABS program will catalyze more creative businesses in a region already bursting with innovative development, and it is taught and collaboratively organized by six partners:

Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families.

The Family Freedom Center is a culturally-resilient organization designed to Engage, Empower and Educate the Black community in Duluth. It seeks to empower the Black community by reconstructing socio-cultural narratives and unapologetically embracing what it means to be Black, both historically and present day.

The American Indian Community Housing Organization works to turn oppression into opportunity with a mission to honor the resiliency of Indigenous people and is in the process of creating social enterprise startups focused on Indigenous art, food, and housing.

Fathers Rise Together is guided by the philosophy and teaching of self-determination, personal control, and increased finances.

Integrative Re-Sources LLC guides organizations to prioritize their health and resiliency as a vital economic strategy for improved performance, innovation, happiness, and quality.

About UMD

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Duluth integrates liberal education, research, creative activity, and public engagement and prepares students to thrive as lifelong learners and globally engaged citizens. With an enrollment of over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Duluth campus offers 15 bachelor's degrees in 83 majors and 70 minors, and graduate programs in 26 fields.

UMD is home to the nation’s only undergraduate program in Cultural Entrepreneurship, and has been actively working with community organizations to promote economic development through the arts and culture.



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