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Whether designers are setting out to start their own company or simply want to hone their skills to successfully compete in today's fast-moving business environment, it is essential that creative professionals have entrepreneurial awareness and knowledge. Running from June 3–27, the Certificate in Design Entrepreneurship (CDE), a three-week entrepreneurship immersion program, will give designers the tools to create their own businesses. Aimed at design professionals interested in starting businesses in fashion, product design, footwear, jewelry, design consulting, or social entrepreneurship, this certificate program was developed by the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation.

The program will include general business courses of interest to all design entrepreneurs, as well as intensive courses in specific disciplines. Designed to meet the needs of working professionals, the schedule features Pratt faculty and industry professionals accomplished in their fields.

“These days entrepreneurship is a critical life skill that will allow a talented person to design and live the life they want,” said Debera Johnson, executive director, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS). “The CDE program will do a deep dive into the business of design and give the participants the tools they are missing to bring their start-up to life.” 

“I wanted to create a curriculum of  ‘on demand’ classes that would be valuable individually. Each of the classes in the CDE has been designed for designers and covers areas that are rarely covered in depth in design school,” explained Johnson. “Negotiation or writing a business proposal for example—these are critical skills that everyone should have."

Courses may be taken individually or as part of the certificate program. A sampling of courses include:

  • Getting to Your Market
  • Start-up Your Design Consultancy
  • Turn Your Idea Into a Product
  • Starting a Fashion Business
  • Design Your Life Like an Entrepreneur
  • Tools and Strategies for Sustainable Design
  • How to Give a Ted Talk
  • The Power of Negotiation
  • Made in NYC
  • Starting a Jewelry Studio

For information about certificate requirements, course descriptions, and dates, please go to the CDE website.

For further inquiries and to pre-register contact CDE@pratt.edu. Online registration begins on April 22. Housing is available on the Pratt campus for those who need it.

“The CDE faculty have been selected because they are great teachers who are successful design entrepreneurs,” said Johnson. “But we think of our faculty as curators who will ramp up the experience by inviting their favorite industry connections to stop by.”

Program faculty include:

  • Miquela Craytor, vice president, Industrial Initiatives at the New York City Economic Development Corp.
  • Kevin Crowley, footwear designer and partner, Unstitched Utilities
  • Kris Drury, designer and founder, TYTHE design
  • Debera Johnson, executive director, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Studies
  • Robert Langhorn, product designer
  • Patricia Madeja, jewelry designer and coordinator of Pratt’s jewelry program
  • Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, designer and founder, RPF Design Studio
  • Sam Shipley, CFDA fashion designer, Shipley & Halmos

The Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation was created in 2002 to help launch and grow social/environmental enterprise. Since its inception, the Incubator has supported the launch of 30 companies and consulted for 20 organizations. Our businesses generated more than $4.2 million in revenue and 50 jobs. The Incubator is a part of Pratt's CSDS.

Text: Bay Brown
Photo: Bob Handelman

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This is strange
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