Turning Maker Dreams into Reality with Free Business Workshops


SecondMuse has been working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation on a community-sourced incubator and will be tweeting under a new name — NOT going away. Next Top Makers is now part of Futureworks NYC,  a network of programs, services, and spaces to support the growth of New York City’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem from NYCEDC. The new Twitter handle is @FutureWorksNYC.

In its third year, Next Top Makers is launching a five-month workshop series for aspiring product entrepreneurs on January 21st! Roxann Stafford and Katey Metzroth of SecondMuse join us to tell us what entrepreneurs can expect from this series.

1) Tell us how you came up with the idea for the workshops?

New York’s makers are a community of inventors, learners, doers and collaborators. The program fills gaps, and showcases (or builds on) what already exists right here in NYC. This year, we are introducing a learning series because we saw an opportunity for the entire hardware or product startup community to benefit from what each other are up to.

The workshops emerged from the learnings from past iterations of Next Top Makers such as:

  • It is lonely to be a founder – NTM helped last year’s Fellows feel supported.
  • NYC has amazing resources for Maker entrepreneurs — the workshop series showcases a sampling of them.
  • Creating community matters — workshops bring people together to connect with each other, build relationships and support (and challenge) each other’s vision.
  • Hardware entrepreneurship is an emergent field — the people with the best answers are the entrepreneurs themselves.

In 2016, we opened it up and we’re taking the product startup community along for the journey through a five-part workshop series including: Business Basics, Understanding Users, Legal, Designing for Manufacturing and Marketing & Storytelling. Spaces are limited, knowledge is not — join us in person or online to get your product startup up to snuff.


2) Who are the facilitators and what’s the format of the workshops?

The series will feature expert facilitators from a wide variety of  backgrounds — founders, CEOs, VPs, seasoned university lecturers and serial entrepreneurs. Our facilitators have started, run, and sold their own businesses. Others come from places like Expa, Google, Apple, Indiegogo and Stanford’s d.school (Institute of Design at Stanford) with specific expertise relevant to a hardware startup.

The workshops will have interactive learning sessions and plenty of time for networking. Built into each workshop are a series of ‘Office Hours’ where participants can connect with experts to ask specific questions about their own businesses expanding their network of partners and resources.

To help tie the five-month journey together, participants are guided through completing a Product Startup Plan which is an interactive guide to thinking through, planning for and achieving business goals. Each workshop builds on the previous one and by the end of May, participants will have a plan, access to resources and new knowledge as well as a network of people to learn with and hold them accountable throughout the series and beyond.

3) The theme of the first workshop is Business Basics: How to Develop a Business Around Your Product. Can the workshop help a business that already exists, or one with multiple products? How so?

For our first workshop, Business Basics, you’ll be guided by BotFactory CEO and Next Top Makers Alum Nicolas Vansnick, Karma Mobility VP of Marketing Adrea Simmons and Martenero CEO John Tarantino. They’ve put together a wonderful session that gives you an opportunity to walk out of the evening with action steps identified and feedback (not to mention more than 100 other entrepreneurs will be there too)!

We’ll be discussing a variety of areas, like creating a value proposition, developing a revenue model and building a strong team behind your startup. These topics will help those at the initial product prototype stage to someone who has a team with a suite of products. Throughout the workshop there will be opportunities to learn alongside and from other attending entrepreneurs as they share their ideas and feedback. The ultimate goal is to build a community that attendees can turn to going forward and outside of this workshop.

Keep your eyes on @FutureworksNYC and @SecondMuse for live tweets from Business Basics workshop on Jan. 21.

Eleanor Greene

About Eleanor Greene

Eleanor works on the communications team for LAUNCH and SecondMuse, where she has co-created a storytelling toolkit. Prior to joining these teams, Eleanor interned in digital communications in multiple fields including nonprofit, public media, and government, and was the editor-in-chief of AWOL Magazine. She is the 2013 recipient of the Margery Kraus Scholarship for the study of global communications and public affairs and is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha national journalism honors society. She holds a BA in journalism from American University.

Want to talk about a potential project? Interested in joining our team? Contact Us