Firebelly University is looking for five socially-conscious entrepreneurs-in-the-making aspiring to start their own design studio and build a social enterprise.
Hands-on learning is the mantra of this new nine-month entrepreneurial incubator program, the latest brainchild of Dawn Hancock, founder of Firebelly Design—a Chicago-based branding and design studio—and it's nonprofit arm, Firebelly Foundation. Joining forces with 4 other do-gooders, participants learn the nuts and bolts of business by collaboratively running their own real world design studio complete with real clients. At the same time, engagements with community and industry leaders teach and inspire as studio members lay the groundwork for launching their own entrepreneurial ventures. Participants invest $6,000 as seed money but get every penny of it back...and then some. Each month, they receive a stipend of $1,000 plus 10% of the profit.
"The Firebelly business model is one that leads to a lot of questions," shared Hancock, "I'm constantly asked if I live on ramen noodles because other business owners find it so hard to believe that we can do what we do and still turn a profit. We can and we do. We're looking for superhumans and believers who want to do just that. We want to create a whole army of entrepreneurs who understand that doing good and running a sustainable, profitable business or nonprofit are not mutually exclusive. That is why we are starting Firebelly University."
Applications are due July 25th and the program will run September 2011-May 2012 in Firebelly Design's Chicago offices.