Combining institutional investment with a focus on locally-owned businesses, there is great opportunity for economic liberation through entrepreneurship.
SecondMuse is excited to launch a community-sourced incubator in Battle Creek, Michigan. In partnership with, and funded by, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, SecondMuse will spearhead the development of Battle Creek’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to support local and regional businesses. The intention is to drive a stronger local future, lift up the community, identify common needs and shine a light on strong resources that pave the way for business success.
Battle Creek is a community filled with doers. The SecondMuse incubator is here to help folks, many of whom have created businesses out of financial necessity, with the framework and pathways to legitimizing their existing businesses or moving forward with new business ideas. Our program will provide assistance through the development of a coaching marketplace, technical assistance workshops, entrepreneurial support groups, and pathways to testing capital. These opportunities, along with the amazing work already being done by our ecosystem partners, like the City of Battle Creek, will help create a new day for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Unlike other incubators and accelerator programs, which focus on building unicorn companies, SecondMuse’s work strengthens emergent economies. We help all startups (who wants to engage) grow by assisting in the development of local capital, markets, policy and regulation, infrastructure, support services, culture and history and human resources.
SecondMuse has developed a team of engaged Battle Creekers to run the build and run the incubator. Program Associate Vania Word is a local entrepreneur who has been involved with many community organizations and businesses. She co-owns the record label Blvcksheep, which has released numerous music projects. Community Manager organizes the Battle Creek public arts festival Color the Creek, now in its fourth year. He has been a creative entrepreneur in the city since 2014 and has developed diverse relationships across Battle Creek. These two have been using cultural platforms to make Battle Creek a place of cultural vitality, an important piece of economic development.
Over the past decades, the Battle Creek community has faced prolonged deterioration of living-wage opportunities. Reliance on low-paying, high-labor jobs has created a cycle of hardship for much of the community. While it is a great challenge to right a ship of this magnitude, with the institutional investment and focus on locally-owned business, there is great opportunity for liberation and economic betterment through entrepreneurship.
“Battle Creek is a great example of the old economics not working,” said Community Manager Justin Andert. “SecondMuse’s model of an inclusive 21st-century economy is something Battle Creek has needed for a long time. Our community is full of existing assets. We have an opportunity to connect grassroots organizations and aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life with the resources they need. I’m excited to see this program come to life!”
Examples of other current programs include NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Futureworks, the M-Corps cleantech manufacturing program with NYSERDA, The Incubator Network with Circulate Capital to battle ocean plastics, and LAUNCH, which accelerates technologies for the circular economy.
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