Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship

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Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship

Empowering creatives to build sustainable lives as entrepreneurs

About Us

Entrepreneurship and creative practice are intertwined for many MICA students seeking purposeful and sustainable pathways post-graduation. The focused yet flexible creative entrepreneurship programming at MICA empowers both artists and designers with a wide range of creative professional tools that support purposeful and successful lives.

Building on MICA’s dedicated commitment to helping creatives develop innovative, socially-conscious businesses, the Ratcliffe Center addresses the evolving needs of students and alumni in the new creative economy. Its activities reflect a comprehensive range of strategies, including curricular, co-curricular and experiential programming; and competition and entrepreneurship showcases. Business skills and 21st-century entrepreneurship training are embedded into MICA’s curriculum.

The Center serves MICA students at all stages of undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, in addition to alumni, through MICA’s extensive network of mentors, access to startup incubators and The Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network. 


Featured Initiatives

Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network (BCAN)

BCAN empowers creative entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and disciplines throughout Baltimore to translate their ingenuity and resourcefulness into thriving creative businesses that sustain their livelihood and strengthen the city.

By promoting the economic empowerment of Baltimore City’s creative entrepreneurs, BCAN aims to foster a stronger, more equitable creative ecosystem and economy in Baltimore. 

Since launching in late 2017, BCAN has propelled the growth of 38 creative enterprises through cohort-based acceleration programs and have supported over 1400 local creatives through workshops, networking events, coaching and navigation.


UP/Start Venture Competition

The UP/Start Venture Competition focuses on incubating and building creative business ventures within the MICA community. Working with industry partners, the Competition provides mentorship, prototyping funds, and seed funding totaling $100,000, funded by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, to help nurture venture ideas into sustainable businesses. The annual competition is open to MICA graduating students and alumni one year after graduation.

First Year Fellows in Creative Entrepreneurship

MICA’s First Year Fellows in Creative Entrepreneurship is a year-long program for first year students focused on integrating studio research with emergent technologies, project-based learning, professional practice, and financial literacy. 

Students selected for this experience live together on campus, are enrolled in entrepreneurial focused First Year Experience classes and participate in co-curricular programming specifically designed to support budding entrepreneurship.