ORIGINS supports and celebrates Black makers, designers, artists, and craftspeople starting and sustaining creative businesses in the Pittsburgh area.

It is a multifaceted effort driven by social impact investor, Bridgeway Capital, to foster personal pathways for Black creatives to maximize business success, creative growth, and community impact. The initiative also advances Black voices and aesthetics in the regional arts and cultural economy and ecosystem. Want to learn more?

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A multifaceted approach to support Black creatives navigating complex challenges and pursuing transformative opportunities

Network

Leverage best practices and lessons learned from a peer group of aspiring and entrepreneurial creatives.

Residency

Access stable and affordable space needed to start and sustain a professional and profitable creative career.

Guidance

Engage with passionate experts to build strong and lasting foundations for a creative business.

Opportunities

Cultivate new clients that appreciate and support diverse voices in the arts and cultural ecosystem.

Incubation

Create the planning and build the assets needed to turn a creative practice into a sustaining enterprise.

 

Advisory Group

For ORIGINS to fulfill its promise of elevating and empowering Black creatives, the program requires direction and insight from Black leaders in the arts and cultural, small business, and community development sectors. Therefore, ORIGINS established an Advisory Group to ensure it maximizes intentional impact. The five goals of the Advisory Group are listed below:

  • Provide transparency and accountability on activities to an objective team of content experts and community leaders
  • Obtain innovative ideas for opening doors of local, regional, and national opportunity for Black creatives
  • Determine resources and supports necessary to counter and/or reverse negative effects of systemic racism
  • Learn and leverage best practices from regional and national programs elevating Black entrepreneurs
  • Build intersections between ORIGINS Advisory Group and Black creatives to identify business opportunities across industry sectors

Advisory Group Members

Treasure

Nikki + Mallory

Owner & Designer

Aaron Aldrich

Elmer Moore

Scale Up Milwaukee

Executive Director

Cathryn Easterling

 

 

Corey Pemberton

Crafting the Future

Director

Shawn Thomas

Bridgeway Capital

Lending Team Leader

LaShesia Holliday

Naptural Beauty Supply

Owner & Designer

Talpha Harris

Sustainible

Co-Founder and CEO

Kia Weatherspoon

Determined by Design

President

Yvette Shipman

sacred ground collective

Partner & Facilitator

Khamil Scantling

Cocoapreneur

Chief Executive Officer

Majestic Lane

Christine Bethea

Women of Visions

President & Artist

Shad Henderson

Neighborhood Allies

Director of Equity & Inclusion

To accomplish these goals, the Advisory Group convenes in two annual meetings to review and discuss (1) programming activities of ORIGINS, (2) progress of participating creatives, and (3) ideas for future opportunities. Members participate based on their professional and personal experience in four main sectors including arts and culture, business, government, and making/manufacturing.

Besides providing input and feedback during two annual meetings, Advisory Group members provide more direct support to the program. This support includes one-on-one coaching, leading webinars, providing paid services, and/or intervening in ways that increase the likelihood of ORIGINS participant success and sustainability.

Program Leadership

Roderick Ramsey | Senior Programs Manager

Roderick leads the ORIGINS and Building Inclusive Development (BID) programs for Bridgeway. He works closely with clients on connecting them to guidance, peers, markets, workforce, space, and capital. Roderick is no stranger to helping creative businesses. Previous to his role as Business Assistance Program Manager at Bridgeway, he contributed as a business coach with the ORIGINS program. Roderick brings a high level or experience and expertise to the role. He obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Point Park University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Marketing from St. Vincent University. He also ran his own creative business for several years, Ocular Arcade, and still maintains a creative practice with his artwork.