DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS FIT MINI-MBA PROGRAM
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.
PAST FIT DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS WINNERS
- Class of 2018:
Ariana Boussard-Reifel, Ariana Boussard-Reifel
Lily Chen and Maggie Bacon, Thistle & Spire
- Class of 2016:
Timothy Joo and Daniel Joo, HAERFEST
Megan Balch and Jaime Barker, Flagpole Swim
- Class of 2015:
Raul Arevalo and Brad Schmidt, CADET
Julie and Jason Alkire, Haus Alkire
- Class of 2014:
Bita and Rouzita Vahhabaghai, ITA Collection
Rebecca Szymczak, Bex
- Class of 2013:
Becca McCharen, Chromat
Vasumathi Soundararajan, Ken Wroy
- Class of 2012:
Mimi Plange, Mimi Plange
James Talbot, Hippototamus
Jessica Wade, Jessica Wade
FIT DESIGN ENTREPRENEURS COLLABORATIVE
The FIT Design Entrepreneurs Collaborative helps emerging fashion designers grow their businesses, offering needed space and resources in a convenient midtown Manhattan location. It is an outgrowth of Design Entrepreneurs NYC (DENYC), begun in 2012 as a joint program of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Fashion Institute of Technology to support emerging local designers. Through this program, 155 fashion companies have developed strategic plans in consultation with industry mentors to help their businesses succeed in the highly competitive fashion industry. The program, no longer affiliated with the NYCEDC, is now known as FIT Design Entrepreneurs. The Collaborative is open to graduates of the Design Entrepreneurs program or of FIT.
FIT’S ENTERPRISE STUDIES AND DIGITAL DESIGN
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.