(From left to right John, Geniyah, Erin, Autumn, Addyson, Daniel at Sankofa Community Connection/ Melanin Sol Creations)

Due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases, we have decided to suspend this program until it’s safe for our community to continue working together in person. In the meantime check below to see how you can support this great work!

“I love coming here. I feel at home. I love spending my time creating designs.” Autumn, Age 14 Graphic Designer

FabNewport’s Incubator Entrepreneurship Program is a spark to ignite the creative entrepreneur spirit in our youth. We help students find their passions, connect with the community, and work on real-life projects for local businesses.

Over the last two months, we’ve allowed our students to enhance their learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment, working hand-in-hand with two of our full-time staff/mentors, Daniel Cano (Product Designer) and John Spillane (Director of Operations) to develop projects that businesses and organizations in our community have asked for. 

We meet on Tuesdays at the FabLab located at the Florence Gray Center in Newport’s North End. There we can provide our students with the necessary tools to develop projects requested by community members. 

At FabLab in Newport, we have a laser cutter, woodshop, vinyl cutters, 3D printers and workstations with graphic design software. We also cover basic notions of business entrepreneurship, how to sell products and services, install products, and more.

We recently had the opportunity to collaborate with FabNewport staff member Niko Merritt and her nonprofit Sankofa Community Connection & Melanin Sol Creations. Melanin Sol Creations is a local Black-owned business that creates custom-designed items (clothing, earrings, keychains, notebooks to name a few)  that express, center and celebrate Black culture. 

“Students being exposed to various businesses and entrepreneurship opportunities is so vital in this day and age. This program gives them a chance to experience things firsthand and get a genuine feel of what careers appeal to them. This program allows them to do things of interest to them and sparks their growth. It was great having an opportunity to host the students at Melanin Sol Creations. We worked together to create custom face masks this time around and I look forward to working with them again soon.” – Niko Merritt

Last week, we were given the opportunity to visit Sankofa’s new space on Broadway in Newport and talk to Niko Merrit. There Niko explained how to use a sublimation printer. The students then designed and created their own masks using the printer. 

This program’s magic is the variety and diversity of projects we work on and supporting the students to help them find their unique role in the work. Here are some of the community partners we are grateful for the opportunity to work with.

If you have a project we may be able to support, drop us a line! You can also continue supporting our work with your time and talent, materials, and economic support at Fabnewport.org/donate 

FabNewport’s mission, to inspire the maker in all of us, wouldn’t be possible without all the amazing donors and community members who support our work. Thank you!

Recent Businesses & Projects Supported by the Entrepreneurship Incubator Program

Sankofa – Vinyl Cut African Warrior (design, production and installation)

Erin Briskie Designs – Laser-cut wooden tide clocks

Newport Art House – Vinyl window decal

Newport Health Works – Vinyl cut and heat-pressed outdoor flag