Press Release: FIL Concludes Successful Launchpad Program with Local Area Entrepreneurs

For Immediate Release        
Liora Beer | Fairmount Innovation Lab       
liora@lab584.org | 617.456.1131

FAIRMOUNT INNOVATION LAB CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL LAUNCHPAD PROGRAM WITH LOCAL AREA ENTREPRENEURS

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR UP TO 20 CREATIVE AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISES FOR THE NEXT COHORT

Boston, Mass. (9/18/17) On August 30, 2017, Fairmount Innovation Lab (FIL) celebrated the final pitches of companies that participated in FIL’s Launchpad program, including consumer tech, food, beauty and design companies. Pitching companies included Soul Plates Catering, Events by Emonica, Natralee, Queya Beauty, Joie Design Studio and ExpressCuts 10.18.

FIL Launchpad is an intensive, selective program for highly committed creative and social entrepreneurs who are ready to take their ideas and businesses to the next level. “This customized program provides selected entrepreneurs with vital information through weekly presentations, peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, access to a variety of subject matter experts and a community of entrepreneurs,” explained Liora Beer, Director of FIL.

So far, 45 creative and social enterprises have participated in FIL Launchpad programs including Begin to Dream Again, I am Kreyol, Queens Co, Study Buddiez,  The Bold & Beautiful Women Circle, Jewelz on Demand, Beauty N Simplicity and So Gutsy.

"Fairmount Innovation Lab was monumental in setting up my business,” said cohort participant Nivdarla Anselme, founder and CEO of Queya Beauty, an online portal of skincare and hair products for black women. “In a short time period, FIL has given me the tools and resources to look at my business in a realistic yet optimistic manner in order to be successful. The collaboration between the companies has been so helpful in my growth as well."

“I am so impressed by the progress the cohort made throughout the program as they applied learning about idea validation, market research, pricing, sales, marketing and branding, finances and developing a compelling story and pitch. They were a very collaborative cohort, learning and supporting each other through their entrepreneurial journey,” added Anuradha Yadav, FIL Launchpad Facilitator.

FIL is currently recruiting for the next Launchpad and will select up to 20 creative and social enterprise companies from among the pool of applicants. On average, 20% of applicants are selected for FIL ‘s startup program. More information on applications can be found on http://www.lab584.org/application. The application deadline is Friday, October 20, 2017 with FIL Launchpad kicking off in the third week of November.

About Fairmount Innovation Lab
FIL supports creative and social entrepreneurs in Massachusetts through programming, events, an accelerator program for early stage creative and social impact companies, co-working space, pop-up partnerships and a maker space.  Located in Upham Corner in Dorchester, FIL is part of the Fairmount Cultural Corridor, a collaborative initiative and partnership which draws upon the Fairmount Commuter Line to support diversity, livable neighborhoods and a sustainable, local, creative community.  For more information, please visit our website at http://www.lab584.org/.

Meet Our Summer 2017 Launchpad Alumni

FIL’s Launchpad is a selective program that supports innovative, creative and social entrepreneurs to launch and grow thriving businesses.  The customized  business launchpad program provides high-potential social entrepreneurs and creatives who are ready to take their ideas and businesses to the next level with a framework and resources to establish long-term success.

Meet our cohort of creative entrepreneurs and visionaries that completed this hands-on program that includes a 12 week business boot camp below!

FIL Summer Lanchpad.jpg

Shalonda Lee

Shalonda Lee is the chef and owner of Soul Plates Catering, Boston's only healthy soul food caterer.

What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
I am very passionate about cooking. Sharing my gift with others who enjoy my food is a special type of gratification.  I love to feed people, and can’t wait to feed the city of Boston.

Tell us what your business is about?
Soul Plates Catering is Boston’s only healthy soul food caterer. We are committed to offering the healthiest soul food and also to educating underserved populations and African American communities about nutrition and healthy eating.

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
I learned about Fairmount Innovation Lab from my photographer during a photo shoot.  After a quick google search, I saw that the application window for the Launchpad program was closing soon and applied right away.

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
My mentor helped me determine what my pricing would be.

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
I just want to continue to sell healthy soul food to the city of Boston.

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
Be prepared to put in a lot of work.  Yes, you are your own boss…but you do not set your own hours.  Be prepared to always be on the clock!

Where can people go to learn more about your business?
office@soulplatescatering.com
www.soulplatescatering.com
Facebook - @soulplatescatering
Instagram - @soul_plates
Twitter - @soul_plates

Nivdarla Anselme

Nivdarla Anselme is the founder of Queya Beauty. 

What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
My journey into entrepreneurship has been ongoing throughout my life, I just never realized that I was an "entrepreneur" until recently. In my current journey, I randomly had a eureka moment on my way home from work that could potentially solve a need in the beauty community and decided to run with it.

Tell us what your business is about?
Queya Beauty is about bringing beauty and eco-consciousness to a wider range of women (and men). We aim to provide beauty products that contain safer ingredients to the black community. Think of us as the Sephora for natural beauty.

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
Mainly through word of mouth. I attended an event earlier this year with my cousin who was invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fairmount Innovation Lab’s new location and came along. Members of the previous cohort and from other accelerators (shout out to Kofi from Smarter in the City and Lisa from TIE Boston) encouraged me to apply, even though it was just an idea. I'm glad I took their advice and applied.

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
You have more resources available to you than you think. Always ask for advice, but be confident in whatever decision you make. Growth takes time so enjoy the process. Every failure is a step closer to success.

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
Launching the website! I now have the foundation to do a successful launch, so I'm excited to move forward with building a site to match the goals of the business.

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
Don't be afraid to put your idea out into the world, there are more people willing to help you than you think.

Where can people go to learn more about your business?
Instagram - @queyabeauty
 www.queyabeauty.com
 

Emonica Brooks

Emonica Brooks is the Owner/Founder of Events by Emonica.

What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
I always wanted to have my own be my own boss, I just didn't know what I was good at.  I love doing events, so one day I asked myself, “Why don’t you start a business as an Event Planner?” So I did.

Tell us what your business is about?
I provide excellent customer service for anyone who wants to host an event.  We provide transformation of events, we do wedding, baby showers, bridal showers , birthday parties, etc. We are reasonably priced for what we offer our clients.

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
I heard about the Launchpad from the Small Business Association at UMASS Boston.

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
The most valuable thing I have gained from launchpad is being more aware of my time, finances and my input v. output.

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
My next business move after is to take what I learned and put it into action.

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
My advice would be you must do the things, you think you can't.

Where can people go to learn more about your business?
Facebook - Events by Emonica
Instagram - @eventsbyemonia
www.eventsbyemonica.com  
 

Eunice Charles

Eunice Charles is the CEO of Natralee, a collection of handmade, eco-friendly, and botanicals based personal care products.

What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
As the daughter of Immigrant and entrepreneurial parents, starting a business was always in my blood, I just wasn’t sure how it would manifest itself. But essentially, Natralee was birthed out of necessity.  There was a time in my life when I was feeling completely overwhelmed.  I was stressed about life, school, my career, and depression ultimately set in. Suddenly, I broke out in discolored patches all over my body. I would later find out from a dermatologist that it was an eczema breakout brought on by stress.  My body was actively crying out for help and attention. So I had no other choice but to slow down. I let go of every other thing happening in my life for a bit of time to focus on healing (mentally, emotionally and physically). I have always been a believer in the interconnectedness of our mental and physical state, this particular episode reaffirmed that. So I made a decision to take better care of myself.

Through that process, I started looking at the products I was using on my body. It’s a bit unnerving to discover the amount of artificial additives in our everyday products. I wanted to better control what I was putting on my skin and decided to make my own products. I started to gift some of theses handmade goodies to family and friends for birthdays and the holiday; they in turn would ask for more. In the process, I realized that I really enjoyed making things and talking to people about the importance of self care... so Natralee was born.

Tell us what your business is about?
Natralee is a collection of handmade, eco-friendly, and botanicals based personal care products. Just like it's important to feed the body the best nutrient filled foods, Natralee encourages the nourishment of our largest organ using using rich ingredients. Current trends in consumer and manufacturer practices are polluting our home. Recognizing this, Natralee tries to make it easier for consumers to be eco-conscious. Natralee products are cruelty free, vegan, and sustainably made using natural ingredients.

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
I was looking for a community with resources and tools for entrepreneurs and discovered the Fairmont Innovation Lab.  When I heard about the launchpad program I quickly decided to apply.

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
Through the launchpad program I've learned that as a solo entrepreneur there's only so much one person can do. Relying on experts to help propel and push your dream forward is not a bad thing or a weakness.

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
After completing this program I plan to collaborate on some initiatives with my fellow cohort members. I'm really excited to see where these collaborations go.

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
If you have a dream or an idea, commit to taking a step towards your goal each day.  Even if the idea isn't fully developed start small and go.

Where can people go to learn more about your business?

Facebook - @ShopNatralee
Twitter - @ShopNatralee
Instagram - @ShopNatralee
www.natralee.com

Marcelous Atmore

Marcelous Atmore is the CEO of ExpressCuts 10.18, an on demand men’s grooming service for haircuts and grooming products.

­What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
I’ve always had a natural inquiry as to why things were the way they were and why we have the businesses we do today. ­

Tell us what your business is about?
My business, ExpressCuts 10.18 is an on demand men’s grooming service for haircuts and grooming products. The two major areas of concern for the hygiene conscious male is where/how am I getting a haircut and what's the products I should use to maintain my haircut; ExpressCuts solves both of these problems under one roof or mobile application. Within the mobile application, potential clients can find barbers and book a haircut at the barbershop or another location and find the necessary products to maintain their haircut on the website/app. ­

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
Word of mouth. A fellow entrepreneur friend of mine mentioned the application to me that knew my business and said I should apply. I also had seen FIL mentioned on social media. ­

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
The FIL Launchpad has helped me to focus on the granular details of my business to make sure that I making the most efficient moves for success. ­

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
The immediate goal is to continue to apply all that was learned from the program to improve the business and the goals we have, such as the ExpressCuts College Tour and mobile application. Next is to continue to build relationships and partner with other organizations similar to the FIL to spread the word about ExpressCuts and also people who can benefit from the Launchpad. ­

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
I would advise them on two things. 1) You’re never going to 100% ready, so don’t let that stop you from beginning. You will learn from doing it. 2) ­ Be persistent about your business all day everyday. ­

Where can people go to learn more about your business?

www.ExpressCuts1018.com
Instagram- @expresscuts10.18
Twitter - @expresscuts1018
info@expresscuts1018.com

Joyce Mudymba

Joyce Mudymba is the creative mind Joie Design Studio. 

What inspired your journey to entrepreneurship?
 My parents have been my biggest inspiration. Seeing them work hard as entrepreneurs opened up my mind to the possibilities of doing the same.

Tell us what your business is about.
Joie Design Studio is a one stop shop for first time bloggers and entrepreneurs looking to leverage their influence with their brand. We custom build wordpress website, provide branding services and all marketing collaterals for our clients.

How did you hear about the Fairmount Innovation Lab's Launchpad program?
Through a google search for entrepreneurs workspace in Boston.

What has been the most valuable takeaway that you've received through the launchpad and how has it help you/your business grow?
Idea validation and market research - Two key aspect of starting a business that I didn't spend much time prior to launching Joie Design Studio. Knowing and understanding who my base clients are are key to providing the services and products they need and in turn growth for my business.

What's next for your business after you complete the launchpad program?
Implement the strategies learned to take my business to the next level.

What's one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?
Decide to do it, then go for it with everything you've got. You will never be ready but you will get better at what you do if you don't give up on you and your dreams.

Where can people go to learn more about your business?  
www.joiedesignstudio.com
Instagram - @joie_designs
Facebook - @joiedesignstudio 

If you're interested in applying to the next cohort, click here: http://www.lab584.org/application/