Student Entrepreneurs Win Big in MICA's First "UP/Start" Venture Contest | WYPR

Student Entrepreneurs Win Big in MICA's First "UP/Start" Venture Contest

May 11, 2016

Baltimore is a city known for many things, but one of its greatest assets may be its artistic community. A driving engine of that community is MICA, the Maryland Institute College of Art. Founded in 1826, it’s the oldest art and design college in the country. But old as it is, the world-renowned school is all about innovation.  The latest evidence of that is the new program called MICApreneurship. Launched last September, it aims to promote and seed student business enterprises that incorporate artistic and design elements.  And it’s doing so through its new annual UP/Start Venture Competition, a “Shark-Tank”-like contest, the first of which was held on April 28th. MICA student- and alumni-applicants pitched their business plans to a panel of judges, vying for a piece of a $100,000 pool of foundation-supported development grants.

Joining co-host Nathan Sterner in the Maryland Morning studio this morning are members of three of the four winning teams of MICA's  first UP/Start Venture Competition...

Julie Buisson is co-founder of ModerNature, an urban farming enterprise that is growing and selling nutritious Microgreens (awarded a $30,000 grant);

Jay Jackson is a co-founder of TNP Studios, a media company launched in 2011 that produces the Black on Black Cinema and Nerdpocalypse podcasts and other programs that address a wide range of interests and needs of Baltimorians (awarded a $30,000 grant);

And Renz Balagtas is co-founder of Joint Youth Movement ("JYM"), a start-up that plans to create a new kind of flexible and interactive space for artists to create, exhibit and sell their work (awarded a $15,000 grant).

(Not featured in today's show were the members of the fourth winning team in the UP/Start Venture Competition: Two Bolt Studios co-founders and MICA graduates Sam Acuff, Ian Murphy and Brendan Choi, who won a  $25,000 development grant for their artist-run custom fabrication studio.)