Mikea Hugley, graduate of Overlea High School and a visual arts teacher at Milford Mill Academy, has been named one of eight finalists in the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) UP/Start Venture Competition for her project called “Makers for Humankind.”
The UP/Start Venture Competition, now in its fifth year, is an initiative of MICApreneurship and the newly created Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, and focuses on incubating and building creative business ventures within the MICA community. The finalists are competing for seed funding totaling $100,000, funded by the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, as well as a $5,000 People’s Choice Award — which the public can vote for online now through April 24.
According to MICA’s website: “Makers for Humankind’s mission is to develop accessible footwear that bridges the gap between the fortunate and less fortunate and many stigmas that plague society. Its signature shoe, the ‘HM1’s,’ is an all-in-one shoe, both sneaker and sandal.”
Hugley’s plan for her company is to donate 10 percent of its proceeds to benefit those in the unhoused population who suffer from the lack of proper footwear.
Hugley is a first-year teacher at Milford Mill Academy. She studied design and art at the Community College of Baltimore County and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from MICA. As the founder of the design company CRE8T1V3, she has worked on media projects for the Maryland Health Connection, Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and other businesses, artists, and authors. Before joining the Milford Mill Academy staff, Hugley was a long-term substitute graphic design teacher at Overlea High.
The eight UP/Start Venture Competition finalists were selected from a pool of 37 applicants, all students or alumni of the classes of 2019 and 2020.
After selection, finalists were paired with industry leaders or investors as mentors to refine their business plans and presentation skills. They also received website development support from Wix and peer mentorship from past UP/Start winners in the weeks leading up to final presentations, which took place on April 14.
Winners of the venture capital and the People’s Choice Award will be announced after Friday, April 24. Finalists who do not receive funding from the judges will receive $500 stipends to continue advancing their ideas.