The SVA GroundFloor Incubator transforms projects by School of Visual Arts alumni into viable ventures with positive social impact

 
 

PROGRAM

instructors

FAQ

join the community

 
 

 Through SVA GroundFloor’s free fellowships, alumni receive the mentoring and resources necessary to launch sustainable businesses.

 

THE PROGRAM

The GroundFloor offers one term a year (September to March) to accepted SVA graduates and alumni. Fellowships are granted to highly driven alumni with exceptional products that have a strong chance of making positive social impact with the right support. We provide mentoring, workshops, lectures, office space, and prototyping facilities to small groups of SVA alumni to help them launch new careers, products and businesses.

 
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LEAN-START UP CURRICULUM

Each term consists of ten learning modules in distinct design and business disciplines, beginning with an intensive dive into prototyping and user testing. Fellows get a two-month period at the end of the program for refining products, pitches and planning the next stage of their ventures.

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FREE WORKSPACE & FACILITIES

Fellows are given access to office space with hot desks and conference area. They are also granted access to SVA shops and prototyping facilities such as the Visible Futures Lab.

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MENTORING & COMMUNITY

The GroundFloor Incubator is connected to many working professionals in the design, business and entreprenuerial world. These professionals help mentor our fellows on their ventures, providing a strong community for collaboration.

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WORKSHOPS & LECTURERS

SVA GI hosts workshops and lectures with guest entreprenuers and designers. Some of our past lecturers include: Jeff Staple (Founder, Staple Design), Alicia Hallett-Chan (Design Director at T Brand Studio), Noel Wiggins (Founder & CEO of Areaware) and many more.

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FOUNDER-IN-RESIDENCE

The GroundFloor has a founder-in-residence program that provides founders of businesses that grew out of our fellowship program with continued access to our mentors and facilities. The founder-in-residence brings a perspective on start-up culture that deeply supports our fellows.

INSTRUCTORS

Sinclair Smith - Director  Pitching, User Exp. & Design Refinement  Sinclair is an industrial designer and a founding faculty member of SVA's MFA in Products of Design. His studio, Sinclair Smith & Co., has provided product and interior design services for clients including Disney, This American Life, DKNY, Staple Design, Amex, BMW and Samsung. He holds a BFA in film production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a masters of industrial design from Pratt Institute.   Website:   sinclairscottsmith.com

Sinclair Smith - Director
Pitching, User Exp. & Design Refinement

Sinclair is an industrial designer and a founding faculty member of SVA's MFA in Products of Design. His studio, Sinclair Smith & Co., has provided product and interior design services for clients including Disney, This American Life, DKNY, Staple Design, Amex, BMW and Samsung. He holds a BFA in film production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a masters of industrial design from Pratt Institute.

Website: sinclairscottsmith.com

Robert Blinn  Market Validation & Capitalization  Robert studied mathematics at Brown University and economics at LSE. After several years in finance on Wall Street he pursued a masters in Industrial Design at Pratt. He has worked as a design consultant in markets ranging from food technology to 3D printed jewelry. He currently works at Pura Vida Investments focusing on patent analysis for private equity while spending his evenings helping entrepreneurs turn their napkin sketches into scalable businesses.

Robert Blinn
Market Validation & Capitalization

Robert studied mathematics at Brown University and economics at LSE. After several years in finance on Wall Street he pursued a masters in Industrial Design at Pratt. He has worked as a design consultant in markets ranging from food technology to 3D printed jewelry. He currently works at Pura Vida Investments focusing on patent analysis for private equity while spending his evenings helping entrepreneurs turn their napkin sketches into scalable businesses.

Dino Sanchez  Art Direction & Marketing  Dino is founding partner at Commercial Studio, a branding agency located in New York City. His approach to branding reflects a culmination of professions in Industrial Design, interiors, furniture and advertising. Dino pulls from these experiences to build ideas that are thoughtful, fresh and useful. His eponymous product and furniture line is designed and made in the USA.   Website:   commercialstudio.com   Instagram:   @thisisdino

Dino Sanchez
Art Direction & Marketing

Dino is founding partner at Commercial Studio, a branding agency located in New York City. His approach to branding reflects a culmination of professions in Industrial Design, interiors, furniture and advertising. Dino pulls from these experiences to build ideas that are thoughtful, fresh and useful. His eponymous product and furniture line is designed and made in the USA.

Website: commercialstudio.com
Instagram: @thisisdino

 
Frank Martinez  Intellectual Property  Frank has a BFA from Pratt and a JD from Hofstra University. He has worked in the arts and in graphic and package design. Frank was a design patent examiner at the Patent Office. His law practice is devoted to design and software issues at the nexus of design, technology and the law. Frank teaches Intellectual Property at SVA’s MFA Designer as Author & Entrepreneur program.   Website:   martinezgroup.com

Frank Martinez
Intellectual Property

Frank has a BFA from Pratt and a JD from Hofstra University. He has worked in the arts and in graphic and package design. Frank was a design patent examiner at the Patent Office. His law practice is devoted to design and software issues at the nexus of design, technology and the law. Frank teaches Intellectual Property at SVA’s MFA Designer as Author & Entrepreneur program.

Website: martinezgroup.com

Elan Cole  Branding  Elan has been a professional designer for over 20 years and has helped re-imagine global brands for Jet Blue, Johnson & Johnson and Infiniti Motors. He has designed Santeria candles for a Botanica in the South Bronx, collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art and PS1, and designed comic books for Marvel. He presently leads a packaging and brand design group for Comcast, and is building a leather goods and cast silver jewelry line.   Website:   thefutureisforever.net   Twitter:   @elancole

Elan Cole
Branding

Elan has been a professional designer for over 20 years and has helped re-imagine global brands for Jet Blue, Johnson & Johnson and Infiniti Motors. He has designed Santeria candles for a Botanica in the South Bronx, collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art and PS1, and designed comic books for Marvel. He presently leads a packaging and brand design group for Comcast, and is building a leather goods and cast silver jewelry line.

Website: thefutureisforever.net
Twitter: @elancole

Toshi Mogi  Business Model & Management  Dr. Toshiharu (Toshi) Mogi leads the Global Financial Services practice at frog as AVP of Strategy. In this role, Toshi helps frog clients respond to rapidly changing business dynamics by leveraging human centered design and technology enabled innovation to transform their strategies, products, services, and operations. With over 20 years of experience in management consulting, private equity, technology, and engineering, Toshi has helped develop and execute global strategies extensively with large corporations as well as start-up innovators.   Website:   frogdesign.com

Toshi Mogi
Business Model & Management

Dr. Toshiharu (Toshi) Mogi leads the Global Financial Services practice at frog as AVP of Strategy. In this role, Toshi helps frog clients respond to rapidly changing business dynamics by leveraging human centered design and technology enabled innovation to transform their strategies, products, services, and operations. With over 20 years of experience in management consulting, private equity, technology, and engineering, Toshi has helped develop and execute global strategies extensively with large corporations as well as start-up innovators.

Website: frogdesign.com

 
Colin Miles Campbell   Investor Profiling  Colin is an artist, activist and entrepreneur. He co-founded Wikiburg, a digital platform that facilitates civic engagement. Previously, he organized Save Domino, the grassroots campaign that tried to save Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s iconic pre-war sugar refinery from luxury development. Colin has worked with brands like Chanel, David Copperfield, Jacobo Borges, Peter Brandt, TED, William Jefferson Clinton, and the Washington Ballet.   Website:   wikiburg.com

Colin Miles Campbell
Investor Profiling

Colin is an artist, activist and entrepreneur. He co-founded Wikiburg, a digital platform that facilitates civic engagement. Previously, he organized Save Domino, the grassroots campaign that tried to save Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s iconic pre-war sugar refinery from luxury development. Colin has worked with brands like Chanel, David Copperfield, Jacobo Borges, Peter Brandt, TED, William Jefferson Clinton, and the Washington Ballet.

Website: wikiburg.com

 

FAQs

Can anyone apply?

Fellowships at the SVA GroundFloor Incubator are available only to alumni of the School of Visual Arts. Graduates of any SVA program, grad or undergrad, may apply.

How do I apply?

Contact us to become a fellow. Fill out the email form and we will send you a preliminary application.

How much does SVA GI cost?

There is no tuition or service charge for a fellowship at the GroundFloor. However, participation comes at the cost of time and dedication. Interested alumni should be prepared to invest everything they can into their success.

Can I receive benefits or a stipend so I don’t have to work?

At this time, there is no stipend to be offered. Financial aid packages cannot be extended to cover living expenses during fellowships.

Can I receive the same health insurance coverage I received as a student?

No. Student health insurance cannot be extended to fellowships.

Does SVA own a Percentage of my venture?

No. SVA takes no stake in the intellectual property or business transactions that occur during or after a fellow's participation at the GroundFloor.

Can I use the SVA shops?

Yes. Fellows will have all the access to SVA shops and facilities that they did as students.

Will my SVA ID card still get me into the library and museums?

Yes. Fellows will be issued new ID cards that offer the same benefits as their previous student ID cards.

How do I get involved if I am not an SVA alumnus?

Fellowships at the GroundFloor are only available to SVA alumni. However, non-alumni can partner with our fellows as project and business collaborators, and many of our mentors and lecturers are graduates of other institutions. If you are not an SVA alumnus, but think there's a role for you here, get in touch!

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

FELLOW

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Fellowships at the SVA GroundFloor Incubator are available to recent graduates and alumni of the School of Visual Arts from any department in the school, graduate or undergraduate. If you believe that a project you created during or as a result of your studies at SVA has the potential to become a marketable product with positive social impact, we want to hear about it!


MENTOR

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Each of the modules in the GroundFloor curriculum is lead by an instructor with expertise in the area of study. But some fellows and their ventures require more specific mentoring. The GroundFloor is always exploring opportunities to grow and improve the curriculum and the support network of instructors and mentors. If you are interested in conducting master classes, workshops, providing one-on-one consultation to fellows or playing any other role in the culture and output of the Groundfloor, let us know!


LECTURER

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Our fellows succeed with the widest access to voices in design and business possible. The lecture series at the GroundFloor adds critical variety and counterpoint to the perspectives provided by our instructors. If you want to contribute your expertise and influence but have limited time, consider contributing an evening as a lecturer.


CORPORATE PARTNER

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The GroundFloor depends upon generous support and partnerships across all operations. From the practical furniture and tool needs of our office to the prototyping, legal and financing needs of our fellows, we grow through our partnerships and in turn provide clear evidence of the power of our partners' products and services. Additionally, our partners get a first look at the innovative products and investment opportunities coming from our fellows. If your company would like to join the network of strategic partners contributing to new ventures in New York City, we are always open to exploring new relationships.


CHARITABLE DONOR

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The SVA GroundFloor Incubator is an internally funded fellowship program at the School of Visual Arts. Your donation to SVA's Visual Arts Foundation can be ear marked for the GroundFloor and will contribute to instructor compensation, facilities, prototyping and could even endow fellows with stipends that significantly offset the cost of living, allowing them to maximize their time and dedication to their ventures and to create positive social change. Please consider a donation— any amount will make a difference.

Have a question?
Get in touch with us!