Launchpad : Spring 2016 Cohort



abel r. cano

ARC LEADERSHIP develops social movement leadership capacity for urban young adults, grassroots community organizations, and nonprofits, by leading Public Narrative and Movement Organizing training workshops and delivering expert Coaching to cultivate a network of movement change-makers and constituency groups who share resources, peer-coach, and learn from one another for the purpose of building progressive leadership capacity globally.

Abel R. Cano is a Boston native, and also grew up in Hawaii and Indiana. A community organizer and leadership trainer, Abel served as the Boston Field Organizer and Statewide Constituency Organizer for Massachusetts in President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. A UMass Boston alumnus, Abel R. Cano taught Public Narrative and Community Organizing at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with Professor Marshall Ganz.



Taylor diamond & anson frazier

INDYSTRY LLC is a music publishing and marketing company that gives artists the tools to stay 100% Independent!

Founded by a group of creatives (mostly producers and musicians), Indystry aims to help recording artists, producers, musicians, and songwriters avoid a dying business model that is increasingly unfair to content creators.

Membership provides artists with access to high quality original production, free promotional service and opportunities to make meaningful connections with industry professionals of all kinds.

To ensure a community dedicated entrepreneurs, Indystry's exclusive platform will be available by invitation only.



cassandra george, amal hussein & ayni nur

LUUL COLLECTIONS empowers women with chic, sleek and modest clothing.

We aim to influence a generation of diverse, and headstrong individuals while meeting their need for modesty in this day and age. Through our collections we aspire to impact and help dictate the notion that we as women always have options in the way that we present ourselves to the world. We hope to show activism through fashion and warmth here at Luul Collections. 

Cassandra Georges is fun free spirited fashion lover. With a major in fashion design and an eye for creativity she lives and consumes art. 

Amal Hussein is an entrepreneur, a writer, and a fashion nova. She takes pride in engineering versatile looks. She attends UMass majoring BioChem and a minor in Business Administration.

Ayni Nur is a senior at Northeastern University. As a young entrepreneur with an eye for fashion she hopes to create a lucrative venture that not only has a strong moral standing, but one that creates a source of inspiration for her community.


mavis hicks

BEAUTY N SIMPLICITY is a soothing, handcrafted natural bath and body care line made is small batches.

A native of Northern California, CEO Mavis Hicks moved to New England in 2004 to attend Johnson & Wales University where she earned Degrees in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management with a concentration in Sales, Meeting and Event Management. 

Mavis had suffered from Eczema her entire life and the harsh winters in New England did a lot of damage to her skin. Tired of using over-the-counter and medicated products she began researching natural remedies to sooth her challenges with Eczema. Utilizing her Baking and Pastry Arts background she began developing and testing different formulas until she found the perfect combination that worked!



THE FABLAB  is a design and prototyping studio that provides artists and creative entrepreneurs access to high tech digital tools as well as training in the use of the tools. The Lab is a resource to support innovation and expand creativity.




DEBORAH L. SHARIFF PRODUCTIONS is a full production film and video company.  Deborah L Shariff Productions is M/WBE certified with the State of Massachusetts. Deborah  is a native of Boston and holds a Master of Science Degree in Film from Boston University School of Film and Television. Credits include producing, directing, and writing movies and socially-conscious television shows which have been presented on WGBH, WCVB, WBZ, BNN-TV, and BET STARZ.





I AM KRÉYOL is a company that encompases all things fashion; with a ladies ready-to-wear clothing line. They also provide styling services for magazines, music artists, & of course...YOU!



james hobin | artist-in-residence

James Hobin is a painter, print maker, muralist, and teacher who uses art to help build community. James designs and teaches specialized art programs for (K– 12) students in Boston schools. He also acts as a mentor to talented emerging artists in Dorchester and Roxbury, MA.

James has been working to launch “Art Engine,” a non-profit organization devoted to helping community groups create successful proposals for public art projects. While participating in the accelerator, James planned a pilot summer youth apprentice program to provide his most talented and motivated students with the rigorous formal art instruction not offered in their schools.

In addition, James is a staff writer at the Dorchester Reporter Newspaper contributing a monthly column entitled, “A round Dot.” 


Melissa nussbaum | artist-in-residence

Melissa is passionate about the possibility of theater as  a tool for social justice, healing, beauty and joy. She loves to tell stories in English or Spanish , whether they're hers or volunteered from the audience as in Playback Theatre. Her work is especially focused in the Fairmount Cultural Corridor as an ExpressingBoston Fellow partnered with DSNI and supported by the Fairmount Innovation Lab as Artist-In-Residence. She is honored to be  chosen by the City of Boston for the first Artist-In-Residence cohort. Being part of the Fairmount Innovation Lab's new cohort makes Melissa think that her fledgling theatre company, Red Sage Works, will become a successful community endeavor.