In 2011, ArtWorks saw a need to start creative enterprise programming. We wanted to provide creatives with rich opportunities for business education and mentorship and have access to capital and community connections, so we began our journey with launching CO.STARTERS and then we soon added Big Pitch.
In 2019, the strength of the local entrepreneurial sector is much more robust, so, after much consideration, ArtWorks has decided to end of both programs.
As we look back over the years, we are thrilled to have helped more than 450 local creatives through these programs. Because, when we started out, our goal was modest—activate one storefront business in the urban core.
Wow, were we successful!
Today, at least 150 businesses that have been part of our program are active and flourishing. From Brown Bear Bakery and OCD Cakes to Mortal Ski Company and Core Clay, this work has made a major impact on creative businesses in our community.
That doesn’t even count the 415 individuals who went through CO.STARTERS, previously known as SpringBoard.
Big Pitch evolved to help creative businesses that were already established, and 39 business owners have successfully completed the program over its 5 years.
The best part is we are not alone in helping accelerate and celebrate local businesses. There are so many success stories from MORTAR, Aviatria Accelerators, the Minority Business Accelerator, The Brandery, Cintrifuse, StartupCincy and Hamilton Mill.
According to the Arts Impact Ohio 2018 “Ohio’s Creative Economy” report, Ohio’s creative industries in Ohio have boomed, accounting now for “more than $41 billion in economic activity and supporting 289,000 jobs annually. Independent artists and performers enjoyed a 60 percent increase in output since 2015.”
ArtWorks is humbled to be part of this success story. We say thank you to all who took this journey with us. We look forward to celebrating the future successes of our community’s creative businesses.