This past Fall, we joined forces with Centro Community Partners to offer our first ever nine-week entrepreneurship program, designed to help artisans, craftspeople, and makers start and launch a small business. Throughout the nine weeks, Centro provides advisory services and leadership programs to underserved entrepreneurs who have dreams of starting or developing their own businesses.
The Entrepreneurship Program focuses on economic empowerment and creating jobs in local communities. GIFTY vendor, Latisha Baker participated in a Centro workshop in 2018 and emphasizes that the program leaders really work with participants to help ensure the success and sustainability of their businesses and business plans. “The most impactful experience during my session was understanding my projected bottom line,” Latisha explains. “I appreciate the continued one-on-one attention and their genuine concern for the financial health of my business long term.”
Jeweler and artist, Latisha Baker during our 2019 GIFTY craft show and open house.
After completing the Fall session for her coaching business, Victoria Russell remarked on how impactful the program was. “I felt that the learning I got from Centro made me more aware of areas where I was lacking and gave me confidence and resources. I feel like I have direction, where I didn’t before.”
With a cost of $75—less than $9 a session—Centro’s program reduces the financial barriers that might otherwise stop budding entrepreneurs from growing their skillset and business. But The Crucible’s Director of Programs, Alyssa Stone emphasized that the nine-week session is hard work and requires dedication. “It’s not for folks discovering business for the first time,” said Alyssa. “It’s for people who want to turn their side hustle into reality or want to be able to develop their business further.”
“There needs to be some internal motivation and self guidance through the program,” Victoria added. “You get out of it as much as you put in. Without that work, without that self guided study, it won’t be as impactful.”
Centro graduates pose with workshop trainer Acacia Woods Chan (center) after making final presentations.
For years, youth and young adults have participated in our youth leadership and empowerment programs and pre-apprenticeships as a pathway to jobs in trades and industrial arts teaching. Through this partnership with Centro, we can provide similar opportunities to adults in our community to elevate their artistic passions into a career.