UP/Start Venture Competition

MICA Awards Over $105K to Creative Entrepreneurs at 2021 UP/Start Finale

As announced at the finale event on April 14, TamPal, Reside Burials, and Garden Party Press were the top prize winners of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) 2021 UP/Start Venture Competition.

The UP/Start Venture Competition, now in its sixth year, is an initiative of MICApreneurship and the Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, and focuses on incubating and building creative business ventures within the MICA community. The finalists will competed for seed funding totaling $105,000, funded by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, at the finale event.




The next generation in tampon and pad vending, TamPal was founded by Erica Duffy ’21 (Design Leadership MBA/MA), was awarded $35k in seed funding.

“Being in the UP/Start cohort has been an enriching experience,” Duffy said. “It has been really interesting to learn from the guest speakers that come in to speak on their areas of business expertise. It has also been great to learn from others starting up their businesses and seeing the amount of creativity and drive that exist in our MICA community.”


Reside Burials

Reside Burials, which seeks to provide eco friendly burial solutions to residents of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, founded by Carrie Carter ’20 (Humanistic Studies + Product Design BFA), was awarded $25k.

“Our product is made out of a conifer composite and linen lining that’s completely biodegradable; and right now, it applies specifically to the Chesapeake watershed, because we have a lot of conifers that grow in this region. The idea is these are locally sourced caskets made out of local materials made by local people for other local people," Carter said.


Garden Party Press

Taking a unique approach to creating group portraits, where each person is represented by the flower of their birthday month, Garden Party Press was founded by Chelsea Conrad ’20 (Illustration MA), was awarded $15k. The venture also won the $5 People's Choice Award.

Conrad hopes to put UP/Start funding toward a custom website that will allow customers to build a unique print and preview it before purchase, as well as put social media’s powerful marketing capabilities to use with targeted advertising. and said, “I hope that will free me up to make more art on the same theme, using flowers to examine personal relationships. I love the idea of building on that concept,”

Seed funding was also awarded to:

  • Anchovy Press ($14,100), co-founded by Rebecca Marimutu ’20 (Photographic & Electronic Media MFA), Priyanka Kumar ’20 (Illustration Practice MFA). Read their full profile
  • Dexter Design Co. ($8,900), founded by Christian Dexter ’20 (Graphic Design & Printmaking BFA). Read their full profile
  • Confetti Collection Co. ($2k), founded by Charlene Etienne ’21 (Data Analytics & Visualization MPS). Read their full profile

Other ventures taking part in this year's UP/Start event include:

Foraday, co-founded by Sean Duffy ’20 (User Experience Design MPS), Stephanie Petagno ’02 (General Sculptural Studies BFA), and Amber LaRosa. Read their full profile

LeBoi, founded by Yuze Le ’21 (Design Leadership MBA/MA). Read their full profile