Corzo center case study 2009 2018

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2009 - 2018

Letter to the UArts Community and to Corzo Stakeholders Since 2009, the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy has had one primary goal: “to help artists, especially students and alumni of the University of the Arts, take control of their creative and economic lives.” That has meant helping them start their own businesses, showing them the tactics required to survive as a freelancers, and providing them with the tools required to spot opportunities. This report tests our ability to deliver on that goal and asks: Have we succeeded? What have we learned? What might we do better? What next? To meet our goals, we have adopted a variety of different strategies. We have offered intensive short courses on entrepreneurship and business—in the evenings and on weekends. We have presented lectures, workshops, webinars, clinics, an Innovation Lab, and one-on-one consulting through our Office Hour program and covered nearly everything an entrepreneur or freelancer needs to know— business, contracts, copyright, sales, marketing, budget planning to mention a few. We have designed programs targeted to different members of the creative community—makers, performers, musicians, videographers, and fine artists. We have used different modes of delivery—lectures, workshops, clinics, webinars, and one-on-one consulting. We have provided different forms of support—incentives, encouragement, grants up to $10,000, counseling and access to our extensive network of experts. If we are anything, we have been lean and nimble, modeling what we encourage all our startups to be. We have a small staff—a full time director, a part-time manager and a 1

part-time coordinator of our Innovation Lab. We are more virtual than physical and stage our programs throughout the University and sometimes throughout the City. To connect to our audience—the University community— we’ve used a number of media, e-news, classroom visitations, targeted emails to our clients and to University faculty and staff, posters, occasional listings on the University website and its Facebook pages as well as cross-promotion on our partners’ emailing lists. We take seriously the principles we promote. In addition to being lean and nimble, we collaborate: after all, entrepreneurs and innovators don’t work alone and we don’t either. We’ve had partnerships with colleges and universities in the area, nonprofit groups, and public agencies. We’ve been helped by friends of the Corzo Center, partners, foundations, as well as through an endowment created to support the Corzo Center. We’ve also had the good fortune to have a network of advisors and consultants who have been generous with their time and wisdom as they worked with us and the creative community. We have been busy but the question remains: have we succeeded in our goals? After nine years, all the evidence is not yet in. We have two goals for what follows: to report on what we accomplished and to present what we’ve learned about preparing artists to work and think outside the traditional roles art education provides. Sincerely,

Neil Kleinman, Director and Professor The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy The University of the Arts May 2018

Table of Contents Letter to the Community 1 What success looks like 3 What we believe 4 The Report What we do 5 Whom we serve 11 What our community says 13 Friends and supporters 15 The Case Study What we’ve learned from our audience 17 What we’ve learned from our efforts 21 Summing Up 23 Where do we go from here? 25 2

What success looks like We ask the same questions of ourselves that we ask of the startups we help. How will we know if we have succeeded— or, at least, how will we determine whether we are on a path to success?

For conventional startups, the questions are multiple and predictable. Net profits. The size of audience and market. The trajectory of growth based on revenue, market, sales, and reach. The number and amount of investor buy-in. Customer acquisition rates. Retention of customers or the commitment of those who work in the enterprise. Although some of these metrics can be applied to us— trajectory of growth and reach, buy-in, retention, and community/investor support—an organization like the Corzo Center is held to somewhat different standards. Before I came into the course, I did not have a game plan for my business. I had a long list which I titled "questions I need answered," which I slowly worked my way down. The Corzo Center's course taught me a different, much more efficient way of working. I came out of the course with a 6-month action plan that was actually attainable. This has increased my productivity and progress tremendously.

We are a part of a university and like our university, our purpose is to educate as well as to incubate new businesses and support freelancers. That means that our metrics need to be modified to fit our status. We must ask whether the Corzo Center benefits the University community, supports the education of its students and the development of new programs, and, perhaps most importantly, whether we’ve “transformed” our clients, empowered them to develop new enterprises and encouraged them to take control of their economic lives. Looking beyond the University, we must also consider whether we have the support of donors and the larger community. And, finally, we must determine whether our work enhances the University’s reputation.

Industrial designer


What we believe We believe in the importance of learning the value of problems and learning to see each problem as an opportunity. Our programs encourage our participants to ask “what if� things were done differently and then to consider solutions that work. And we believe in the value of collaboration since an idea is only as good as the team that creates it. Both our tactics and our strategies are based on our belief that artists can be (and should be) at the center of society: they should be leaders who help us see the world in a new way and innovators who transform the world, their country and their city. Above all, we believe that artists should be motivated by their personal visions and possessed of a confidence that allows them to try the new and risk the difficult and the unpopular. Unlike other institutions that embrace entrepreneurial training and small business development support, the Center’s unique value proposition lies in a commitment to the creative community, to personalized service, to an educational mission, and ongoing support to the artists/ creatives in the region, who need advice or access to a network of mentors.


THE REPORT Based upon best available data— 2009 - 2017

What we do Our programs cover nearly all the topics that startups and freelancers need to know.

I wasn't sure about a business plan exactly but I was taken aback by how much I learned very quickly. Not only about my own goals and aspirations, but a clear path on how to get there, whether having a business idea or not. Screenwriter

Programs on business basics—designed for artists and performers —that cover a diverse range of topics from the business of art, the impact of technology on art, ecommerce, web development, sustainability, and more.

Short courses on entrepreneurship that provide a complete overview of the principles of a startup—from ideation, value proposition, and goal setting to business forms, market assessment, pricing, and cash flow.

Workshops and clinics that provide hands-on opportunities to learn the principles of innovatio n, business planning, cost planning, first year budgets, sales, product display, pricing, and more.

Workshops on all aspects of business law and accounting—the independent contract, intellectual property, business structures, taxes, funding, bookkeeping, and many others.

Workshops on marketing—brand development, content strategy, PR, online marketing strategies, and social media, and more.

An office hours program that provides free one-on-one consulting on the essential issues faced by startups—business strategy, marketing, law, publishing, the pitch, pricing, taxes, video production, web design, and others.

A Creative Incubator that provides funding and advice to UArts students and alumni/ae with business ideas and ideas based on a commitment to social impact. 5

We use a variety of formats to connect to our audiences—lectures, consulting, short courses, webinars, and clinics. 

Classroom presentations on the issues faced by entrepreneurs and freelancers—average of three/semester Participation in Admissions and Alumni events as well as other University-wide programming—an average of three each semester Co-sponsored events on campus and off—StartUp Weekends, Entrepreneur Expo, Technically Philly Week programming, etc.

What participants say after attending a Corzo program: “Life Changing” Filmmaker

“Loved the straight talk” Artist

“Blown Away” Potter, & Sculptor

“Wonderful, concise, and energetic” Artist

“Amazing” Fashion designer “Fun and Engaging” Screenwriter

“Spectacular” Artist “Pushed me to reach outside of my comfort zone” Chef

“An overall amazing opportunity and experience” Performer “Wish I’d had this three years ago” Artist

12 half-hour webinars (2017 - 2018)

29 short courses offered evenings, weekends, & summers (15 hours each, average of 3 per year)

70 one-hour, on-demand consultations (average per year)

170 lectures & workshops (average 21 per year)

1,500 office hours/ consulting (average of 225 half-hour sessions per year)


We designed special programming for students at the very beginning of their careers. The Innovation Lab (launched in 2016) invited first and second year students to think beyond their majors—to take what they learn in the classroom, the studio and the stage and apply it to problems not traditionally connected to their think about what can happen when they engage with a world outside the academy and their creative practice. We helped them expand what they might do with their talents and how they define themselves and to begin the process of doing so at the start of their college experience, rather than right before, or after graduation.

The Lab included:

After the presentation, I felt much more prepared and confident in tackling unforeseen problems through self examination and marketing skills, as well as viability of my art business. I came out of this course much better informed, challenged, prepared and encouraged. Commercial artist

A three day bootcamp that introduced them to the principles of innovation;

Semester-long programming that provided them with hands-on workshops on a var iety of topics, including how to innovate, identify a good idea, use social media, build an audience, create a network, make a living, and others;

One-on-one advising along with connections to mentors dr aw n fr om the com m u nity w ho talked with them about their goals and interests;

Microgrants in su ppor t of their ideas as w ell as a chance to administer a venture fund open to their classmates;

A copy of the Black Book, a resource book that contained tips, tools, exercises and illustrations for innovators.


What students said about the program... The program challenged me to get my ideas out and to also focus on my own work. — I feel that this program pushes me to do better for myself and helps me connect with others. I feel like I've already been put on the road to finding success in my field through what I've learned and who I've met through this program. — This program has helped me think in bigger terms with what I plan on doing with and for my career. It was very interesting and a good experience. I can say I learned a lot from it and still want to learn more.

Bootcamp Weekend Workshops included:     

What it takes to innovate and start-up How to identify a good idea How to use social media to create a public identity Diffusion of new ideas How to “see” and “design” opportunities

100% of participants said they would recommend the Lab to other students

Semester Workshops included:        

Building an audience and making a name Creating a network Making value: Making money Getting money: Giving money Making Your Life As An Artist What’s innovation? Testing an idea The value of limits


We have helped launch businesses and helped our community showcase the power of its imagination. Some examples: Digitability. Michele McK eone (B S, Digital Media, 2005) founded Digitability (originally “Autism Expressed”) seven years ago after participating in the Center’s short course on entrepreneurship and receiving an Incubator grant. Through Digitability’s online site, the company enables those with cognitive difficulties to develop digital literacy and prepares them for the workplace. It has been featured on CNET, MSNBC, TechCrunch, WHYY, NewsWorks and Tedx, and has been named winner of the Educational Services of America Prize, Startup of the Year, as well as appearing on the cover of Philadelphia Magazine as one of the area's coolest startups.

The Corzo Center was, for me personally, the catalyst and the bridge. I learned how to translate design experience into a viable business. Without that, I would not have gotten to this place. The grant allowed me to transfer what I was doing in my classroom to a larger scale.

Analog Co. After taking the Center ’s short course on entrepreneurship and receiving an Incubator grant, Lorenzo Buffa (BS, Industrial Design, 2012) created a company based on his senior project—a wooden watch. Now five years old, Analog offers a varied product line—watches, rings, glass frames, wallets, card holders, iphone cases— using natural materials, wood, marble, flowers, and leather. It has been covered by major media—Fast Company, Inc, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, CNBC, Project Runway, as well as being featured in over 250+ other domestic and international business, design, and fashion publications and websites. It has active partnerships with major museums, nonprofits, and luxury brands, including Mercedes-Benz, the MoMA, Guggenheim, The Getty, Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian and Hirshhorn.

Michelle McKeone, Founder, Digitability


Our grant programs support all kinds of startups anchored in creative fields. In addition to grants up to $10,000, we provide counseling and expert advice. 

More than one-fourth are still in business, several at the investor stage

Businesses supported cover nearly every discipline at UArts—music, fine arts, book making, sculpture, interactive education, glassware, industrial design, graphic design, crafts, creative writing, illustration, apparel design, game art, dance, art education, videography, dance and theater.

Business supported have also included a woman’s publication, a community print coop, an art gallery and studio, a tabletop game, a business based on recycled glass, an online music magazine, an art blog, a touring theater company, a custom bass and guitar company, a design studio and many others.

41 business ideas funded

$200,000 in grants to UArts students and alums, several now at the investor stage ($25,000 per year)


Whom we serve... We attract creatives,


are pre-revenue, early startups, or in business for fewer than 3 years (annual revenue of less than $25,000)

75% in creative fields 27% are UArts students or alumni/ae

This program was exactly what we needed to move forward and one we could not have done without the support of the Corzo Center. Sometimes in our part of Philadelphia, our community feels isolated from the energy of the Center City entrepreneurial spirit. This program brought that energy to us and our community and helped us think about ways to continue that conversation.

...who are primarily Millennials, a few years out of college and beginning to explore their career options,


are between 18-24 estimated incomes of less than $25,000


are between 25-34 estimated incomes $25,000 - $35,000


are between 45-64 estimated incomes $35,000 - $100,000

Executive Director, The Village of Arts & Humanities


...with demographics that match the local creative community,

66% Women 62% Caucasian 33% People of Color ...and incomes that tilt significantly in the direction of startups. incomes 38% household of less than $25,000


household incomes between $25,000 - $35,000

incomes 19% household between $35,000 - $50,000


household incomes between $50,000 - $100,000


household incomes of more than $100,000


What our community says about us… The Center is a recognized force in the creative community with an audience that has grown dramatically.

[The Corzo Center’s] mission…encompasses the whole city… One day, [it’s] at the Free Library; another, at Drexel University or the People's Emergency Center in West Philadelphia, or the offices of accountants and patent lawyers whose volunteer help [the Center’s staff] solicits. [The Center’s] goal is to infuse entrepreneurial know-how into the city's creative community, where aptitude for designing, molding, painting and inventing doesn't automatically mean proficiency in business plans and bottom lines.


current clients receiving emails, tripling over the last five years


attendees at lectures, workshops, and webinars


through its office hour program and one-on-one consulting


attendees at short courses

Diane Mastrull in the Philadelphia Inquirer


The response to the Center’s programs has been extremely positive.


of those participating in its office hours and consulting programs rated them as “excellent” or “very good.”


taking our short courses in entrepreneurship found them to be “excellent” or “very good.”


of those attending lectures and workshops rated them as “excellent” or “very good”


participating in the Innovation Labs rated them as “very good” (with a composite score of 4.4 out of 5.0)


Our support comes from friends and supporters throughout the region, They provide us with funding but, even more importantly, they connect us to the rich resources of the region.

[Students] came away with a deeper understanding of the diverse skills required to succeed as entrepreneurs. This was a unique opportunity for our emerging entrepreneurs to develop a much more complete sense of the market for their goods and services, and the realities of marketing and production, all within the context of creating a sustainable business.

Our programs are possible because of the significant contributions of time and talent by more than 50 mentors, lecturers, and advisor drawn from throughout the Philadelphia region and the art and business communities—many of whom contribute their talent pro bono.

The Center’s friends have helped us grow. With no paid advertising or marketing money spent, all our growth to date is the result of word-of-mouth, referrals and positive testimonials, as well as co-marketing partnerships and social media.

Dean, Westphal College, Drexel University


with more than 30 partners, some of whom also provided funding.                                

AIGA ArtistsU Arts & Business Council ArtsTechPhilly Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha Broad Street Review Center For Emerging Visual Arts Copyright Society of the USA Creative PHL Curtis Institute of Music Da Vinci Art Alliance DesignPhiladelphia DoGooder Philly Drexel University Empowerment Group Flying Kite Free Library of Philadelphia Future of Music Coalition Game Loop Philly GoodCompany Ventures Headlong Institute Lantern Theater Local Arts Live NextFab ONO Made In the 191 People’s Emergency Center Philadelphia GameLab Philly Startup Leaders SCORE Philadelphia Startup Weekend Technically Philly Village of Arts and Humanities

$200,000 annual operating budget (interest received from an $5,000,000 endowment, a gift from Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton)

$200,000 matching grant from the Knight Foundation (2012 through 2016)

$100,000 in support from  TD Bank,  Wells Fargo,  PECO,  StartUp PHL,  the Mayor’s Office for Art, Culture & the Creative Economy,  Westphal College/Drexel,  Curtis Institute ...and other individuals and institutions 16

THE CASE STUDY What we've learned from our audience Artists and the entrepreneurs share many traits. Artists are entrepreneurs, even when they don’t know it: they learn to be self-directed. They learn to start only with an idea and their imagination and then improvise. Early on, they learn to work with lean resources—since the world doesn’t willingly invest in them. That means that the value of every bit of support we provide—whether a grant for $10,000 or access to a free lawyer or accountant or business strategist—is multiplied by a factor of 10 or more. The evaluations—both formal and informal—express a remarkable level of gratitude and appreciation for the services and support the Center provides. As one of our grantees, now acquiring investors, remarked “Every time I meet with [the staff of the Corzo Center], just about every time, I think I thank [them]. The Corzo Center is absolutely vital. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without them.” Or as another said, “The Center really helped me start a fire and built my business acumen.” Observation: The investm ent of r esou r ces (m oney, time, and expertise) used to help emerging artists is money well spent. It attracts and supports those who are ready to connect their talents to a sustainable business plan.

Few young artists want to start businesses. Working with artists has made clear the power of their imagination while, at the same time, making clear their ambivalence to the business of making a business of their craft. 17

That should not surprise us since they came to the University of the Arts to create. There is a natural tension between the demands imposed on artists and by the demands of business. Both require a great deal of time. Artists come to the business of business grudgingly and late—after they are faced with the realities of making a living, paying off their college loans, and trying to start a family. As our figures show, that is when the Corzo Center is of value to them. They realize that they must find ways to monetize their skills as they learn that being a good painter, a remarkable performer, or a skilled maker is not enough if they are to sustain their art and support their lives and family. The ambivalence artists feel about business has meant that only 27% of our clients are UArts students or alumni/ae—with 16% college age (18-24). Observation: The Center’s services are attractive and better suited to recent graduates faced with the economic realities of life. They are older, a bit more experienced, and much more focused.

Artists have little interest in learning about “the marketplace.” While artists share traits with entrepreneurs, they are “artists” still. They are “auteurs” who take pride in working alone, seeing their art as the way they express their personal and private vision. This private vision conflicts with a need to embrace the marketplace, understand its needs, and adapt to its demands. The Center pushes against this impulse: it encourages the need to focus on the marketplace. Despite that effort, many of those we work with are not prepared to accept that message. A noteworthy exception is to be found in the performing arts where the audience (i.e., the clients) is face to face with the performers, providing feedback in real time.


Observation: The education of artists has not encouraged students in the arts to look outward and to connect to audiences beyond themselves and their disciplines. As a university of the arts, we fail them by not showing them the power of addressing and reacting to their audience. The richness of art and its ability to generate new forms has often been the result of confronting the new, the community beyond our own, and the culture that is different from ours.

Artists tend to lean in the direction of the nonprofit rather than in the direction of the for-profit. There are a number of reasons why creatives think first of starting a nonprofit rather than building a for-profit business. From their mentors and teachers, they have learned that the arts are not (and should not be) driven by the marketplace and its values. Motivated by an aesthetic and social commitment—“helping” others before helping themselves—they feel more comfortable depending on donations, sponsors, and patrons. They put mission and vision ahead of profit and sales. Unfortunately they also believe that a “nonprofit” requires less business rigor and less need to be concerned with marketplace realities. Observation: The current economy—shaped by dwindling federal and state funding, outcomes-driven donors, limited institutional support—calls into question the nonprofit model. But the education of artists does not provide them with alternative models to imitate. That is our collective failure. We must develop a curriculum that shows them how to combine the rigor of the for-profit with the spirit and vision of the nonprofit.

The “golden road” of the entrepreneur in creative fields is an illusion, but the journey can be an education in itself. The Center stands at the entrance ramp to the road leading to a career and the business of making a living. 19

(Eighty-two percent have businesses that are pre-revenue and in existence for fewer than three years. Fifty percent have household incomes of less than $35,000, and are considered to be “low income” earners.) It is precisely because they are at the beginning of their careers that they turn to the Corzo Center, especially those who want to start autonomous enterprises rather than start by working for others. It is likely that most of their businesses will not last more than three years—a figure consistent with the survival rate nationally of all startups: 80% of which close within five years. For that reason, the metric of job development, net profits, revenue and market growth and investor support does not apply to them. If conventional metrics do not apply to our audience, what does? A better metric may be to determine if our programs support them in other ways. We have looked at our program’s ability to promote self-efficacy—a measure of the capacity of our participants to cope with new technical areas, overcome hardship and failure, deal with ambiguous problems, understand market forces and the general range of challenges faced by creatives. Based on pre- and post-testing we have found that participants experienced a noticeable increase in self-efficacy and business confidence as well as an equivalent increase in their understanding of the principles of entrepreneurship.

Observation: While there may be no “gold” at the end of the road for startups grounded in the creative economy, the effort to play out their ideas in the marketplace offers an important extension to the education of artists: they learn to make connections, assess problems, and understand the relationship of their ideas to the market, their audience and communities, while


What we've learned from our efforts Autonomy leads to separation from the core academic curriculum. The Center was designed to complement (and not to compete with) the degrees offered at UArts. While that strategy avoided competition, it had drawbacks. Because its programming is not integrated into the University’s academic programs, students don’t understand how it fits into their course of study. The faculty are also unclear about how the Center’s programming might support what they do since it doesn’t connect to their teaching mission. They leave it alone—neither to agree with it nor disagree and argue about the programs it offers. While there’s a comfort to such benign neglect, it does not promote a true conversation within the University and a shared vision of how the Center might play a role in what students learn. Observation: There is value to a more formal connection between some of the programs offered by the Center with those being offered by the academic programs. Some of this may entail developing for-credit courses that become a part of the University’s degree programs.

Programs primarily built around workshops, clinics, and one-on-one consulting are of limited value to students who have no business experience. On-demand programming appeals primarily to an audience that knows it has a problem. In an environment in which the case for business must be made, where the artist has yet to learn the value of thinking about business, on-demand programming does not work...or not work well. Where there is no recognized need, there is no demand.


Because workshop attendance is voluntary and attendees take what they wish as suits their interests, they may miss some important discussion in a previous workshop. The result is that they do not see connections between one idea and another, between the steps required to start a business. Observation: In the future the Corzo Center should produce more short courses or for-credit courses that have a beginning, middle and an end and that fit into a purposeful portion of the student’s curriculum. That is not to say that the Center should no longer offer on-demand programs but they should be enriched by more short to medium-length courses. These longer courses, though, can succeed only if they are forcredit or required.

Visibility and a persistent presence are critical to attracting students. The fact that the Corzo Center has no significant physical presence in the University and an insufficient staff to keep its office open five days a week means that the Center is only discovered by accident. When students and faculty can not “find” the Center, it is invisible until they have a problem that makes them look for it. This lack of “presence” sends its own message to the community: Not “built up,” the Center is easily taken as being marginal with a value that is equally marginal. Observation: The lack of a “presence” reinforces the Center’s marginal role in the University. It must be “built up” and staffed appropriately if it is to be seen as more central to the educational mission of the University.


Summing Up The story we tell about ourselves is often a question of how we arrange the facts. There’s a story to tell that demonstrates how well the Center has done with a limited amount of resources. And there’s a story to be told that demonstrates how much more must be done.

With current UArts students We have had limited success attracting current UArts students. Perhaps that was not a realistic goal. Structured as a “voluntary” program, the Center primarily attracts those who are already prepared to think of themselves in market terms—an older audience with some experience beyond college.

With those prepared to create a startup The evidence suggests that we do an excellent job working with creatives who are interested in starting a business. Our qualitative and quantitative evaluations are consistently strong. The metrics are positive—our content, our delivery, our personal support, our ability to connect them to a network of experts, and our follow-through. In addition to these positive evaluations and the businesses we’ve helped start, we have also been able to improve the self-confidence of our clients and opened their eyes to a range of possibilities and opportunities they’d not been aware of before taking our programs.

With new modes of instruction Although not fully exploited, we test and prototype modes of instruction and support within the limited resources available. In addition to traditional approaches to instruction (workshops and lectures), we have tested other approaches and are beginning to develop new ones—webinars, incubators, one-on-one consulting, innovation labs, workbooks/webinars on innovation, as well as on-demand consulting enriched by a network of regional experts. 23

With our ability to create a public image for the Center and for the University There is good evidence that the Corzo Center is a recognized presence in the region’s creative economy. The evaluations and reviews by the community and partners have been exceptionally strong. The grant from the Knight Foundation as well as additional institutional funding from nearly a dozen other corporate and civic partners reflect a community-wide endorsement for the work we do. Our partnerships with 31 organizations and programs extend our reach and our visibility. The commitment and support of more than 50 consultants, many pro bono, demonstrate that the professional and creative community values the Center’s work and its role in the community.

Within the University and the UArts community The Corzo Center is too frequently invisible to students who seem to become aware of it only as they graduate. Similarly, the faculty don’t recognize its value to them and their students. Despite the fact of significant effort to promote the Corzo Center within the University, we find that too few students, faculty and administrators know that we exist and what we do. When they do hear of our free counseling, our grant programs, our workshops and webinars during exit programs, there is a look of bewilderment. “Why didn’t I know of this?” The Center’s invisibility may be a result of the fact that too many of our students and our programs exist in silos and the Corzo Center is on the other side of the silo walls—or is perhaps a silo itself. It may be due to its lack of a physical presence. It may be that the Center has yet to frame programs in ways that makes them appealing to young artists. It may be that the idea of business is still very foreign to the students and faculty in the University. 24

Where do we go from here? It has been said that organizations are defined by their weaknesses rather than by their strengths. Good as the Center is in supporting the region’s creative community, we have not succeeded in having the impact we desire internally. To have the impact we seek, we must integrate the Corzo Center with the University’s educational program; engage the faculty by supporting their ideas for start-ups and new curriculum; link faculty and students in entrepreneurial ventures; encourage cross-disciplinary work that connects students and faculty to disciplines beyond the fields of art. In short, we’ve yet to become an engine for change, an innovative center that teaches innovation and promotes it.


In the next few years, we expect to establish a faculty incubator to support new curriculum, new research, and new faculty-sponsored businesses. We shall encourage work with new media both as forms of creativity and as ways to educate and communicate. We shall help to create new partnerships both within the University and with other colleges and universities in the region in support of cross-disciplinary work. We shall, of course, continue many of our current programs— our Creative Incubator and grant program for advanced students and alumni; our Innovation Lab for first- and second-year students; and our on-demand online and oncampus programming. To achieve these goals, we shall need to “grow” our resources—staff, space, and endowment.

Perhaps of more importance, we shall need to find partners within the academic programs and administration who believe that our goals and theirs are aligned.


The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts pr ovides pr ogr am s designed to support entrepreneurship in the creative community. Its programs – many of which are free and open to the public – include short courses on the principles of entrepreneurship, lectures, online support and webinars, free office hours, connections to business, legal, and marketing professionals, as well as a Creative Incubator with pre-seed funding and a program to encourage innovation. Founded in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation’s only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing. With nearly 1,900 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, UArts students collaborate across disciplines and benefit from being in one of the nation’s most culturally vibrant cities. For Information about the Corzo Center: Web: Email: Social: @corzocenter