Wicked Peacock talks to Malia Lazu, Executive Director of Future Boston Alliance
Wicked Peacock is humbled and honored to have been chosen as one of 25 start-ups to participate in Future Boston Alliance’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator program, Accelerate Boston. The program, run by the Executive Director of FBA, Malia Lazu, provides mentorship and guidance to young businesses as a way to catalyze creative economies in Boston. “Entrepreneurship is a part of Boston’s spirit. Bostonians believed in their power as individuals to invent mechanisms for a changing society,” Malia says of Boston’s entrepreneurial lineage.
Future Boston Alliance, the vision of Karmaloop founder Greg Selkoe, is a new organization in the Hub serving as a platform for conversation, connectivity and cultural change. A deep love for Boston and its potential for greatness pushed Selkoe and Lazu to launch Future Boston Alliance, which they deem as a solutions-based, action tank with a mission to encourage and retain talented thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, and keep them in the city. “We believe Future Boston will help Boston become greater than the sum of its parts by helping to amplify creativity and innovation at all levels of Boston society.”
According to Lazu, “For a couple hundred years Boston was on top of its game with some of the most accomplished artists, authors, thinkers and inventors in the entire world. There was a time Boston could actually call itself “the hub” of the universe with only a little bit of hyperbole. Currently, Boston is stuck in the kind of lack-luster inertia that makes a great city become merely good. We have not built on the achievements of the past but instead relied on them to keep us afloat coasting on our fundamental strengths not building on them.” Future Boston Alliance plans to re-energize the city through targeted dialogue and action.
We recently spoke with Malia about Future Boston Alliance, Accelerate Boston and what we can look forward to in terms of FBA programming.
WP: How did you become involved, and how do the values and mission of FBA speak to Boston’s future?
Malia Lazu: Mike Monestime, Karmaloop’s former CMO, introduced me to Greg and his idea of Future Boston Alliance and I got really excited about what we could do on the ground with his vision. I was just finishing up a fellowship at MIT and statewide redistricting and was thrilled to be able to build out this organization. After doing nonprofit work for over 15 years I wanted to have the freedom to build a community organization outside of the nonprofit industrial complex. I believe that America as a society is ready to evolve and I could do my part by working with Greg on Future Boston.
WP: What are some projects FBA is working on right now?
ML: 1) Accelerate Boston: A five month incubator, providing mentorship to start-ups as a way to catalyze creative economies in Boston. 2) Assemble: A weekly series of live events bringing together Boston’s arts and culture. 3) Liquor License Reform: Future Boston will educate the public on the upcoming liquor licenses hearing in Boston and forthcoming legislation out of the Statehouse to reform state-wide practices. 4) Voter Registration: In partnership with Rock the Vote, we will release a phone App that encourages people register to vote, and sends nonpartisan information and polling locations.
WP: FBA sponsors an Accelerator program, helping artist-based businesses succeed. How did the idea come-about?
ML: Our first retreat we were hemming about how its so hard to get boutiques, bakerys and those cool kind of businesses that help give a city its feel. We identified a few common problems we heard creatives talking about, like their feeling alone, unsupported and lost at navigating the small business space. An accelerator seemed like an easy answer.
The experience has been a blessing for Wicked Peacock. We’ve learned so much about business, have benefited form talking with fellow entrepreneurs and have expanded our network of friends and resources. The Wicked Peacock team is grateful for this opportunity. Thank you, Future Boston Alliance!
Watch for our behind the scenes styling Malia Lazu for this interview.