A mini-MBA for top emerging fashion designers 


Design Entrepreneurs NYC was created in 2011 through a partnership between FIT and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the city’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth. After five successful years, the NYCEDC made a planned departure from the program, which is now continuing as FIT Design Entrepreneurs.

This free “mini-MBA” program provides selected designers with the business acumen, resources, and community to grow their companies. Emerging designers whose businesses have been open for at least one year are eligible to apply. Design categories include but are not limited to women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear, accessories, and jewelry.

Each year, 25 designers accepted into the program are immersed in weekend learning intensives focused on marketing, financials, and operations taught by FIT instructors and industry experts. Each designer is also paired with a dedicated mentor to help them complete their business plan. All participants have access to FIT classes, resources, industry contacts, and events. The program culminates with a pitch event at which 12 designers compete for a cash prize to be used to execute their business plan.


  • Class of 2016:
    Timothy Joo and Daniel Joo, HAERFEST
  • Class of 2015:
    Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt, CADET
  • Class of 2014:
    Bita and Rouzita Vahhabaghai, ITA Collection
  • Class of 2013:
    Becca McCharen, Chromat
  • Class of 2012:
    Mimi Plange, Mimi Plange
    James Talbot,  Hippototamus
    Jessica Wade, Jessica Wade


FIT’s Enterprise Studies and Digital Design, which is part of the college’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies, has for more than 20 years provided designers with the business training they need to meet the enormous challenges of entrepreneurship. Developed to help maximize New York City’s creative assets for economic growth and job creation, programs include such courses as Starting a Small Business, Artist in the Marketplace, The Business of Illustration, Creative Enterprise Ownership, Tools of the Trade, and Sustainable Design Entrepreneurs.