Empowering Enterprise

Empowering Enterprise

RISD grads receive Artrepreneur Kits to help launch their creative careers

For the second year in a row, Rhode Island School of Design is arming each of its 661 graduates with anArtrepreneur Kit, a practical parting gift to help students explore entrepreneurial possibilities after graduation and beyond.

The kit includes a number of tools to help artists and designers present their portfolios, take credit card payments and market their work online – for example, a card reader made by Square, Inc. that plugs into a mobile phone and allows users to process credit card payments anywhere. Other goodies include a free trial with Behance’s new online portfolio site Prosite, an Action Journal and a discount with the file transfer site YouSendIt.

As part of the kit, the craft marketplace Etsy is awarding the first-ever Etsy RISD Fellowshipto the 2011 graduate whose shop on the recently launchedRISD Team Page shows the most promise. The winner will receive a $1,500 grant to attend an Etsy-sponsored summit on small business and sustainability, to be held in September in Berlin, Germany.

In addition to these gifts for graduates, RISD helps students to build a solid foundation for career preparation, financial literacy and market savvy through theCareer Center and Office of Student Life. “We have been working diligently to create valuable opportunities for students to get both real-world and experiential career preparation,” notesRaj Bellani, RISD’s associate provost for Student Affairs.

Mini-courses onFinance for Artists and a series on social enterprise offered by Social Venture Partners Rhode Island (SVPRI) are among the offerings. RISD has also been working withEtsy and Kickstarter to launch online networks that offer students and alumni promising platforms for developing their work and building new businesses.

“With our Artrepreneur Kit, we are providing new grads with just a few of the online tools and resources that can help launch their work in the public spectrum,” notes PresidentJohn Maeda. “It’s just one way to help them make a living in whatever way they choose.”

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