2024 UP/Start Venture Competition winners

2024 UP/Start Venture Competition winners

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

April 26, 2024
2024 UP/Start Venture Competition winners
The Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
1300 W. Mt. Royal Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21217
United States
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The Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (RCCE) at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 UP/Start Venture Competition. Founded in 2016, UP/Start is an initiative of the Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship (RCCE), focused on incubating and building creative business ventures within the MICA community. Working with industry partners, it provides mentorship and capital to help nurture ideas into sustainable businesses. This year’s finalists feature a diverse array of creative ventures ranging from alternative fashion practices to advances in the publishing realm. 

One of the first institutions to embrace the term Creative Entrepreneurship, MICA is a leader in impactful, future-oriented arts education. This commitment to practicable creativity has resulted in dozens of Fulbright Awards, grants, and positions in local, national, and international institutions. 2023 UP/Start Venture Winner, Angela McQuillan ‘22 (Business of Art and Design, MPS) for example, has branched out her venture, Chimaera Gallery from a pop-up event on campus to a permanent location in central Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since its founding last year, McQuillan has showcased five exhibitions that engage with biology and technology.

Past winners have gone on to establish innovative businesses that push forward their respective fields while aiding consumers’ needs for actionable ideas, such as office equipment designed for neurodiversity, an online platform to connect creatives of color, and user-friendly pharmaceutical devices.  

Finalists now have the opportunity to move their venture from ideation to implementation at MICA’s Creative Entrepreneurship Innovation Lab (CEINNOV), funded by the Ratcliffe Foundation. CEINNOV functions as a hub for MICA students and alumni to “soft launch” their creative entrepreneurship ventures, learning how to share their creative practices while generating income through their work, and curbing the venture dropoff that can happen after completing a pitch program. Participants of MICA’s Creative Entrepreneurship co-curricular programs can now move from the classroom directly into a market ready educational space located in a Baltimore based entrepreneurship ecosystem to incubate at the Baltimore Innovation Center (BIC).

This year, over 100,000 USD were awarded to five projects helmed by six MICA students:

35,000 USD and the 5,000 USD voters choice to JESS JESS PRESS, Jess Lipinsky ’23 (Illustration, BFA) & Jess Lin ’23 (Graphic Design, BFA). 25,000 USD to Deadbeat Devil, Luka Shanahan ’24 (General Fine Arts, BFA). 20,000 USD to Dust Comics, Justin Remo ’24 (Printmaking, BFA). 10,000 USD to Plexo, Anthony Culp ’23 (Product Design, BFA). 10,000 USD to VERS, Jantzen Nolan ’24 (Fiber, BFA).

Full descriptions available here. The competition was presided over by a panel of industry practitioner judges from the Greater Baltimore community.

About Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation
Philip and Carole Ratcliffe created the Foundation in 2003 with a vision to provide access to education & training for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow their ventures, create jobs, and expand economic opportunities in local communities.

About Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship
The RCCE serves as a creative hub for MICA students and alumni to engage with programs that connect resources and training to grow creative ideas into viable businesses.

About MICA
Acknowledged nationally as a premier leader in art and design education, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is deliberately cultivating a new generation of artist—one that is capable of seamlessly integrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative citizenship with contemporary approaches to art, design, and media.

MICA is redefining the role of the artists and designers as creative, solutions-oriented makers, and thinkers who will drive social, cultural, and economic advancement for our future.

As the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation, MICA is located in Baltimore, deeply connected to the community. It is a leading contributor to the creative economy regionally and a top producer of nationally and internationally recognized professional artists and designers.

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April 26, 2024

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