On the morning of February 5th, The Business Innovation Center had a visit from MassDevelopment's Community Development Vice Presidents Eleni Varitimos and Mary Ellen DeFrias. After they were greeted by staff and volunteers, they received a pre-demolition tour of the areas to be renovated—as well as an explanation of the programs and services this construction grant will affect. They expressed excitement with the potential impact of this grant on the economic and social fabric of our community through our programs such as Toastmasters club (which recently achieved Distinguished Presidential Status).
Earlier this month, the BIC began making initial progress towards our May 31 completion goal, as furniture was cleared and demolition began in the part of the building to house the future cafe facilities. Additionally, computer hardware and Virtual Reality equipment was set up and tested for when it will be rental and education—yet another of the many perks that will be made available to BIC members this summer.
The BIC has been buzzing with preparation as our architect, Anton Dias, has measured and massaged plans into place for our quirky layout and non-profit budget. "We really appreciate the work Anton's doing here." said BIC founder, Chris Nielsen "His vision for this place is helping us reach more safety and code upgrade goals that wouldn't have been possible without him steering us in the right direction."
With the architectural plan and the official grant review now complete, hiring is also underway. We have recently brought on team members to launch the cafe and grow our programs and community outreach. We are assembling a top-notch team and the calendar for our summer programs should be released in March. As a preview, we expect to have offerings available in VR program, professional development training, video streaming, multi-media production classes; as well as art shows as part of the social and educational outreach.
It's going to be an exciting few months leading up to summer; stay tuned!
Ines brings 11 years of management experience along with 28 years of customer service and public relations—one of her passions. She is a recent Graduate of UMass Dartmouth, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Management and Small Business Administration, with a Minor in Sociology. Ines was accepted into the MBA program at Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts In Dartmouth and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Leadership.
Through educations, mentorship, and facilitated workspaces, The BIC strives to be a place where entrepreneurship, education, and fun builds community among people from a wide variety of backgrounds and age groups. Ines has experienced first-hand the value of our community’s rich multi-cultural heritage. Born in New York, Ines was brought up in S. Miguel, Açores, and speaks Portuguese as her first language. This background provides her insight into the social and business development experiences of the thousands of immigrants, and their children, which are such an integral part of the Fall River community.
"I'm so excited to join the BIC and have an opportunity to facilitate education and outreach programs.
From a personal perspective, I'm especially looking forward to participating teen mentorship and education programs. For years I've felt drawn to helping teens. No matter how busy my schedule was, I would always make time to include my daughters' friends when they needed somewhere to go and someone to talk to. Our tiny apartment is regularly filled with young people and has become the neighborhood go-to house for teens to hang out in a safe space. It planted in me the seeds of a vision to partner with a local non-profit where I could accomplish even more to do something posative in our community."
The BIC is a place where I can help both teens and people of all ages to develop their business ideas, learn new skills and technology, and have a safe place to learn, grow, and connect with others.
We're excited to have you too Ines! This next year will have some big opportunities to connect with our community and make a difference.
Ed has a strong background in community-based digital media production and a multidisciplinary background in broadcast, videography, digital media production, and social media and live event promotion. And he joins the team as someone who understands the future roll BIC Media Labs seeks to fill in the local community.
The vision for the BIC Media Labs is to find a middle path between commercial broadcast and guerilla smartphone media—the sweet spot between "commercial studio" and "garage band". Content today must be relevant, and quick to produce, but that doesn't mean we should throw out production values and just grab the nearest smartphone! The best content has both immediacy and quality, and it must be stylistically current and well-produced if it hopes to reach a wide audience. BIC Media Labs is a self-contained production studio that's not only professional but accessible to the wider community of digital multimedia and content producers.
I am excited to be one of the Business Innovation Center's new staff members and I plan to become deeply engaged with the center's activities as its expansion is completed. As the center's Director of the BIC Media Labs, I plan to develop and expand our recording schedules and to include a variety of programming derived from multiple sources, including local businesses, clubs, organizations and arts collaboratives.
I intend to support and build upon our current programming, such as the “Full Steam Ahead” broadcast. I plan to include additional programming that might be of interest to local viewers, such as newsworthy items regarding Boston's South Shore. I will be pleased to support the BIC's efforts to benefit local organizations and businesses, by reaching out to them and including them in our programming, promotions and on-air local reporting. I will facilitate in broadening the BIC's relationship to the Fall River community by demonstrating goodwill to these organizations in all communications.
I am also looking forward to teaching workshops at the BIC. With a rich background and a diversity of skills, I am able to offer a variety of classes, including video production, graphic design and science applications; as well as crafts, exercise, theater arts and photography. The BIC is a proponent of community cohesion and unity. I plan to help to foster this vision, and to help to promote the BIC Café as a center of community vitality and our welcoming access point to the services the BIC provides.
We look forward to working with Ed and seeing these and projects take off. Stay tuned on Meetup for the next digital media production event and come give him a warm welcome!
Thursday, the Business Innovation Center was awarded a Collaborative Workspace Grant in the amount of $85,000 This grant will help expand and modernize the coworking and meeting spaces, and finally allow us to add accessibility for the inclusion of our whole community. MassDevelopment Collaborative Workspace Program Regional Grants foster community-based innovation and creativity across the state, and the BIC is truly grateful to be chosen.
Several years ago, Chris Nielsen envisioned a modern shared workspace where an old dental office stood. The space was less than ideal, yet the need for something like the Business Innovation Center was clear: a place for educators, artists, and entrepreneurs of all kinds to gather in a professional yet welcoming space--a creativity incubator with the facilities to support both work and learning through play! Collaborative workspaces and shared makerspaces are being enthusiastically adopted around the country. Since it's inception, the primary limitation on the BIC's growth has been only the space itself.
Now, through this generous grant from The Baker-Polito Administration, the Business Innovation Center will finally be able to expand both our space and our offerings to the community. Starting with exterior entrance, signage and accessibility upgrades, the BIC will be able to raise its visibility and usability to our valued community members and partners. Early 2018 will bring interior work with increased meeting and classroom space and a modern, professional cafe-like environment.
It has always been our highest goal to build thriving "Communities of Communities"; this moves us one big step closer. Please stop by one of our entrepreneurial networking or technology meetups and join us as we bring that vision to life!