In a Boston neighborhood that's long been a cultural stronghold, how do we ensure that we preserve what's unique as we innovate? That was the fundamental question at hand during Monday's Open Doors Dudley Square event.
We came together in the heart of the city and the commercial hub of Roxbury to open a discussion with community leaders around what's needed for Dudley Square's innovation economy to grow. We also welcomed visitors and Dudley Square residents alike to explore neighborhood staples like the Frugal Bookstore and the revamped Hibernian Hall.
Reflect back or get the scoop on what you missed with some highlights below from this gathering of neighbors and friends.
Building a Culturally Conscious Innovation Economy
Our opening panel at Black Market brought together Dan Vidaña of Roxbury Innovation Center, Joelle Fontaine of Kréyol and Fairmount Innovation Lab, Kim Napoli of New England Treatment Access, and Nia Evans and Cierra Peters of Boston Ujima Project. Natalia Urtubey, Director of Small Business for the City of Boston and Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030, moderated the discussion.
The conversation opened with several panelists asserting that to invest in the creative economy in Roxbury, we need add a collective lens and not be limited by an individualistic mindset. This will require envisioning community wealth over individual wealth, and keeping the greater good at the forefront of each business decision.
When asked what we can do to build up the innovative economy, one panelist simply said, “Show up and support the businesses and ideas that are here.” This served as an important reminder that when we make it part of our routine to shop small, it can inspire those around us to do the same.
Some similar advice was offered by Dan Vidaña to help small businesses stay in Dudley Square for the long haul. He suggested creating events to draw people into the business and serve as an example of what’s possible. He noted that Black Market, our host for the panel, is a great example.
Time to Read
In between the panel and the rest of the evening's programming, we invited Open Doors attendees to stop into Frugal Bookstore, a community institution who's mission is to “Change Minds One Book At A Time.” We also offered a free copy of Boston Book Festival's One City, One Story for 2019, Ciera Burch’s “Yvonne.” Picked it up? Consider joining the 1C1S Town Halls at the BBF on October 19 and 20 to discuss the story with other readers, moderator Alicia Anstead, and Ciera Burch herself.
Speed Mentoring & Networking Reception
The evening concluded at the historic and recently revamped Hibernian Hall where Olawumi Akinwumi presented entertainment from local artists, including a heartfelt spoken word performance by Dashawn Borden and powerful singing from Lovely Hoffman. Attendees mingled and networked over drinks and delicious treats from Fresh Food Generation, while local entrepreneurs provided speed mentoring sessions to answer any and all questions about bringing business ideas to life in Dudley Square.
With the Fall Festival coming up in just a few weeks (take a peek at the agenda and register for your pass if you haven't already!) our next Open Doors event won't take place until November 4 in Allston/Brighton. Stay tuned for more details!