We’re big fans of the Pratt Institute (with several of our writers hailing from the awesome institution), mainly because of the school’s dedication to sustainability, be it through green buildings or student creations. One of the school’s highly successful green programs is the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, which has just added nine new New York based companies to its existing roster. The new companies come from a diverse range of industries, including fashion design (like Eko-Lab, pictured above), home furnishings, and clean energy technology. The Incubator aims to support local artistic entrepreneurs, such as designers, artists, and architects, by providing them with the resources they need to launch their businesses.
“Pratt has a longstanding interest in the economic development of small businesses in Brooklyn. The Incubator is a direct way for the Institute to help local entrepreneurs develop products and services that create jobs, support local industry, and bring innovative products to market,” said Deb Johnson, director and founder of the Incubator. “We’re looking to create a diverse mix of creative thinkers that can bring design, engineering, and technology together into an innovative eco-system based on sustainability.”
The new start-up companies include eco-fashion company Eko-Lab; renewable energy and waste management venture Spectrum BioEnergy LLC; Pliant Energy Systems LLC, which develops innovative methods of dam-free hydroelectricity; sustainable accessory design company ReMADE USA; eco-product creators Holstee; energy management consultation firm Life Cycle Solutions; socially and sustainably-minded design firm designing hope; bike accessory designers Dargelos; and eco-designer Frank Millero Studio.
The Incubator will support these companies by providing various services for their business endeavors. This includes “a flexible curriculum in sustainable entrepreneurship mentor-based coaching and work amongst a thriving community of socially responsible entrepreneurs.” The Incubator also provides access to different markets, networks, office infrastructure, training, talent, and capital in order to assist in the overall implementation of each entrepreneur’s ideas. Since its inception in 2002, the Incubator has supported the launch of 26 companies, has created over 50 new jobs, and has consulted for 15 organizations.
The Incubator’s main focus is to use its resources to help support companies that provide services and products that are in line with sustainability principles, ecological activism, health, and social equity. Pratt Institute, being one of the leading institutes in art and design education, has also implemented environmental sustainability and green design in bother its curriculum and on its campus in an effort to promote sustainable practices.
It’s great to see renowned institutions like Pratt providing business opportunities and services to eco-friendly local artists, architects, and designers. Not only does this further the sustainable movement, but it also shows how an educational institute can give back to both their alumni and the community beyond the typical college job placement services. Perhaps more universities should adopt Pratt’s approach as well.