On Thursday, January 9, FIT kicked off FIT Design Entrepreneurs, an open-to-anyone “mini-MBA” program that provides specially selected designers the business acumen, resources, and community to grow their companies. The program culminates in a final live pitch event in front of a panel of fashion industry veterans with a $150,000 in prizes at stake. Since 2011, FIT’s Design Entrepreneurs has helped 202 companies across the country including Chromat, Thistle & Spire, Eckhaus Latta, David Hart, Haus Alkire, Abasi Rosborough and more. The event was attended by incoming candidates like Victoria Hayes (Victoria Hayes Collection), Jameel Mohammed (KHIRY), and Moya Annece (Ashya), as well as G-III’s Morris Goldfarb and Jeanette Nostra, FIT president Dr. Joyce F. Brown, FIT DE alumna Nora Gardner, and many others.
Starting this month, the newly selected designers will attend a series of specialized workshops, learning intensives, and networking salons to learn how to develop effective business plans and strategies in order to help ensure the future success of their lines. Based on areas of expertise, leading fashion industry professionals will be paired with the designers as mentors throughout the FIT DE program.
In a final event in June, notable judges will evaluate each designer’s business plan to select four finalists. With support from founding sponsor G-III Apparel Group, LTD, and other fashion companies, the top two finalists will be awarded $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, to help grow their businesses.