Director’s Update – March 2023

Greetings Spaceworks friends and supporters,
I’ve realized it’s been a while since you last heard from me directly, and I wanted to provide an update on our projects. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working on behind the scenes!

  • We recently applied for and received funding from the City’s Small Business Innovation Fund to directly support our alumni. We were able to offer stipends to 35 alumni to grow their businesses through digital tools and marketing expenses. These $3,750 stipends are the largest we’ve been able to offer our alumni, and we look forward to sharing the results of their creative efforts.
  • Our second cohort of the Black Business Investment program is underway and currently working on their business plans. They’ll be graduating from the 12-week Business Plan Cohort on Tuesday, April 4 (location TBD). Everyone is welcome to attend in person and help celebrate these businesses.
  • As part of the City’s Neighborhood Planning Program, we’re working with local McKinley businesses and residents to design a new mural that welcomes people to the McKinley business district. The community working group selected Parky’s as the mural location and we’re almost finished with the artist selection process. The final mural should be finished by the end of June.
  • Our new public art coordinator, Jasmine Brown, has also been planning the next iteration of the Woolworth Windows. We often say that Spaceworks sits at the intersection of art and commerce (in this case, the windows are literally on Commerce St.), and we’re imagining how widow displays can also be a source of revenue for local artists and alumni businesses.
  • We’re launching a monthly workshop series for creative entrepreneurs, starting on March 30. The first one is “The Psychology of Merchandising: Tips for Your Market-Based Business”. These are free and available to everyone, not just incubator alumni.
  • Remember our strategic planning efforts from last year? With the move-out of our coworking space and the on-boarding of new employees, we had to put that on pause. We’ve got a couple more reviews left and will share the results later this spring.
  • Our annual fundraiser, CACHET, is back and scheduled for Saturday, June 3. Tickets go on sale in early April and we’ll send more news in the coming weeks.

Phew! There’s so much happening below the surface, almost ready to emerge. Truthfully, my tendency is to wait until projects are complete before sharing them more publicly, but I also recognize the value of in-progress updates. If any of these catch your interest and you want to learn more or help bring them to fruition, feel free to reach out and let us know!

-Michael Liang, Spaceworks Director