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Creative Startups & Unseen Heroes launch new Innovation Challenge for Sacramento’s creative entrepreneurs
In an effort to equip Sacramento’s diverse creatives as business owners and community leaders, Creative Startups and Unseen Heroes are excited to announce the launch of a new Innovation Challenge for BIPOC creative business owners. The challenge is a hands-on intensive for all creative entrepreneurs, from small business newcomers with innovative ideas to growing brands ready to launch into new markets. Sponsored by the City of Sacramento’s Office of Arts and Culture, the program seeks to take small business owners from surviving to thriving, exhibiting the talent that has made Sacramento a distinct epicenter of innovation and creativity.
After applications officially close on April 15th, the six week program will kick off at the end of April, culminating in a deep dive June 15th and 16th. Beyond providing business expertise, the challenge’s group setting creates the opportunity for participating business founders to connect with each other and strengthen the city’s network of creativity and community care.
Creative Startups is proud to partner with Unseen Heroes to create a program that’s Sacramento-specific and inclusive to all underserved creative entrepreneurs. Unseen Heroes has over a decade of experience building events where entrepreneurs can connect with the community, gain traction in the market and have access to potential customers that spend over $10 million annually at markets such as the Neighborgood Market, which promotes local vendors and performers, and Be Well Sacramento, which provides health and wellness community initiatives. They also provide a major brick-and-mortar resource for the city’s makers, Display:California, which features products made by Californians in a high-traffic Oak Park store.
Co-founded by Roshaun Davis, an award-winning community strategist as well as a prolific music mastermind, Unseen Heroes is driven by a mission to “create unforgettable moments through interactive experiences” that “create space and places for all people to celebrate and connect.” Their solid bond with their community has given them unique insight to the needs of Sacramento’s creative business founders.
“Sacramento has a history of creative talent, but it has not always been actively supported and recognized. Through partnerships like this, new opportunities are being created to support and celebrate the city's creative ecosystem, specifically for BIPOC entrepreneurs,” explains Davis. “Programs like this help to bridge gaps in the creative ecosystem, provide a platform for underrepresented creatives to showcase their talents and ideas, and address systemic barriers that we often face in business. Thanks to the City of Sacramento and the Creative Startups team for making these programs possible and for their commitment to supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs.”
Creative Startups is thankful to the City of Sacramento’s Office of Arts and Culture for their support in tackling the obstacles faced by Sacramento small businesses. In sponsoring the Innovation Challenge, the City is continuing its efforts to provide resources and support the local creative economy. In addition to funding programs like the Innovation Challenge, the Office of Arts and Culture is responsible for creative economy grantmaking and educational programming as well as the City’s Art in Public Places program and Sacramento Film & Media.
"The City of Sacramento is proud to support the development of this partnership with Creative Startups and Unseen Heroes," said Megan Van Voorhis, Director of Convention & Cultural Services, "It's a critical piece of our broader effort to develop a more vibrant and just creative economy in the region."
Creative Startups has a long history of partnering with economic development offices, foundations and embassies aiming to empower their community’s creative economy ecosystem. Most recently, Creative Startups celebrated major successes in accelerating the Southwest’s Native entrepreneurs in their Creatives Indigenous Innovation Challenge, created in partnership with Native Max Magazine, as well a challenge created with the US EDA aimed at uplifting Puerto Rico’s small businesses to bolster economic resiliency and hurricane recovery.
“Creative Startups is excited to bring our accelerator and to be in collaboration with Unseen heroes and the City of Sacramento,” said Raashan Ahmad, lead faculty for the Innovation Challenge and Founder of Vital Spaces. “We are passionate about supporting creative entrepreneurs and providing tools and resources that can help businesses grow. Being ‘successful’ while keeping culture and tradition alive can feel at odds at times, but we believe that is instrumental in helping businesses thrive (and there is so much in Sacramento). We're so excited to participate in this journey!"
Creative Startups has served almost 600 companies in 22 countries, raising over $300 Million in USD investment and creating over 1400 new jobs. They are excited to bring a new Innovation Challenge to the Sacramento area, expanding the reach of their mission to empower creatives to dramatically alter their local economies and create long-lasting, meaningful changes both in their communities and worldwide.
The Sacramento Innovation Challenge is open to entrepreneurs of all creative sectors, from more traditional arts and culture to tourism to creative technology. More information can be found here.