Six Entrepreneurs Rise to the Top and Secure their Spot at the Box Bazaar
On Friday, December 14, a selection panel composed of City staff and East Austin community leaders listened to business pitches from 14 local entrepreneurs all vying for a spot at the City’s upcoming Box Bazaar: Manor Road. In November 2018, 46 businesses applied for a chance to lease a space at the Box Bazaar. In the following weeks, the selection panel reviewed applications and invited the highest-scoring candidates to give a 5-minute pitch of their businesses. Though the panel heard many strong ideas, only six spaces are available for the pilot Box Bazaar project.
Nefertitti Jackmon, Executive Director of Six Square and member of the Box Bazaar selection panel said, “It’s exciting to see people in the community chartering their own path with their passionate and needed business ventures. I hope the incubator space will provide a stepping stone and exposure to experienced and emerging business owners.”
Ora Houston, former District 1 City Councilmember and another member of the Box Bazaar selection panel, echoed the sentiment and said she felt energized by the presentations. “The list is diverse and inclusive,” she added when reviewing the names of the top six finalists. Other panelists included Veronica Briseño – Director of the City of Austin Small and Minority Business Resource Center, Bamidele Demerson – Manager of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural & Genealogy Center, and Pinaki Ghosh – former East MLK Combined Neighborhood Contact Team Chair.
The following six candidates were the highest-scoring applicants throughout the process and were offered a space among the first cohort of Box Bazaar tenants:
- Nailah I Akinyemi-Sankofa, Ɲàma Isé-Ọná
- Krissi Reeves, High Kick Communications
- Winston G. Williams, Capital City Black Film Festival
- Kristen Harper and Michelle Flores, Remodel Boutique
- tk tunchez, Frida Friday ATX
- Azena Jones, NomE’ NosRac Fashion Boutique
All finalists will receive business coaching and educational resources throughout their time at the Box Bazaar from the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Small Business Program.
The Box Bazaar: Manor Road is anticipated to open in early 2019. Opening Day details coming soon.
About the Box Bazaar
The Box Bazaar is a temporary neighborhood installation that will activate a piece of city-owned land in East Austin by housing six business incubator spaces for small, local businesses in retrofitted shipping containers and by creating a vibrant neighborhood center with programming designed to benefit the surrounding community.
This City of Austin pilot project aims to bring citywide goals for complete communities, economic opportunity, and equity to life in a yearlong demonstration project – the first of its kind.
The Box Bazaar is a joint effort between many City of Austin departments including Planning and Zoning, Public Works, Development Services, Economic Development, and the Office of Innovation. Stay in touch by signing up to the mailing list and following @imagineaustin on Facebook and Twitter. Explore the project website at austintexas.gov/boxbazaar.
About Imagine Austin
Imagine Austin - the city's comprehensive plan through 2039, was created with input from thousands of Austinites and established a community vision of a city of complete communities where the necessities of life are affordable and accessible to all. Learn more at austintexas.gov/imagineaustin.
About Planning & Zoning Department
The purpose of the Planning and Zoning Department is to provide planning, preservation and design services to make Austin the most livable city in the country. The City of Austin is committed to improving the experience of residents, small businesses, developers and other stakeholders needing these services. The department has undergone an extensive process to lay the groundwork to making necessary changes for Austin's future. For more information, visit http://austintexas.gov/department/planning-and-zoning.