Celebrating the Creatives Indigenous Fall ‘22 Cohort
The Creatives Indigenous Innovation Challenge culminates in a deep dive and live pitching event
Native Max and Creative Startups are proud to announce that 17 Native-owned startups have completed the Creatives Indigenous Innovation Challenge. Funded by the Thoma Foundation, this Challenge aims to empower Native creatives on their entrepreneurial journey and equip them with the knowledge to build a successful business. The program culminated in a virtual pitch event featuring mentor Cece Meadows, founder of Prados Beauty. The startups were given the opportunity to pitch their small business to the public via livestream, exhibiting their hard work throughout the six-week program.
The Innovation Challenge kicked off the first week of October with a pool of startups representing a myriad of backgrounds and creative industries. Receiving a record number of applications, the collaborators behind the challenge, Kelly Holmes of Native Max and Alice Loy of Creative Startups, made their selection for the fall cohort based upon the founders’ transformative approaches to their creative practices and their potential to positively impact their communities.
Looking back on the challenge, Holmes, lead faculty of the program, said “It’s been excellent working with another cohort of amazing creative Indigenous entrepreneurs this fall. I can’t wait to see them apply the knowledge they learned in the Innovation Challenge.”
Many startups in this cohort specialized in fashion and design; including Katipashun, Autumn Jade, Issitohbi, Tomahawk Customs/Tafv Hat Company, Naabé, Vibrantly Navajo, Modern Ancient Designs, and Heruse Tos Handmade Handbags. The cohort also included media and content creation companies Jody Lee Photography, Pick Up New Mexico, and Say Chee; fine artists Dead Feather Art and A. Day’s Work; entertainment and event startups Bird N. Co and Indigenous Balance; art therapy and wellness specialist Compassion Dance; and fine crafting and making brand Bird’s Beadwork and Creations.
Of her experience in the program, Issitohbi founder Bridgette Hoshont'omba expressed that “learning with and from Indigenous people was so refreshing. It gave me a space knowing I wouldn’t be judged for trying to turn my cultural skills into something knowing they can’t be outsourced…The best part is that I found new ideas to help elevate Issitohbi Designs when it comes to beadwork all thanks to the discussions and mentors that got my ideas flowing!”
These startups are joining a network of over 400 Creative Startups alumni companies, as well as the Native Max creative community. Beyond deep dives into business planning, fundraising, pitching and more, Creatives Indigenous seeks to create a robust ecosystem of like-minded entrepreneurs, recognizing that no creative exists in a vacuum.
“We know the myth of the solitary creator is false. Creativity— especially the creative process of building a new venture— is fundamentally an exercise in community building,” said Loy. “The real marker of success is determined by whether your work aligns with the values of your community. And beyond that: your creative work should uplift your community. It’s been a thrill to create and run this program with Kelly; she lives this principle.”
The application period for the next cohort of the Creatives Indigenous Innovation Challenge has yet to be announced, but interested entrepreneurs can learn more and sign up here!
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We’re always looking for new communities to bring Creatives Indigenous to, and we have a proven track record working with economic developers and decision makers both regional and world-wide. Let’s create success stories together! Email us at email@example.com.
About Creative Startups
Creative Startups is an unmatched leader at providing creative visionaries with the guidance they need to launch and grow their creative companies, from shaping early ideas to scaling globally. Their network of 400+ alumni companies span the globe, raising $301 million USD in venture capital, creating almost 900 jobs, and generating $100 million in new revenues. Their accelerator faculty teach at Stanford, Harvard, ArtCenter, RISD, and their 120+ global mentors are founders, executives, and investors with leading creative companies like Cirque Du Soleil, Disney, Embodied Labs, and Meow Wolf. While most accelerator programs focus solely on technological innovation, Creative Startup’s programming is based on the unique needs of creative entrepreneurs.