You Belong Here is San Diego's first Creative Hub where creatives can cowork, connect, teach, and learn with one another to build thriving businesses and communities.
You Belong Here is on a mission to elevate our Creative Arts community to economic empowerment by offering access to affordable coworking, studio rentals for content creation and monetization, business development tailored to the arts, and community and cultural programming that is essential for expanding their network and connecting to one another.
COWORKING: You Belong Here encourages the culture of collaboration through low cost access to creative-centered space.
STUDIO RENTALS: You Belong Here eliminates barriers to entry into creative industries by offering access to studios loaded with top of the line gear and equipment, like our podcasting and photo studios.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: You Belong Here is packed with a ton of resources and programming created by and for Creatives.
COMMUNITY & CULTURE: The heart and soul of You Belong Here. Opening our doors to Artists showcases a side traditional business development forgets to incorporate; the complex and beautiful cultural identities of its community
You Belong Here opened in the Fall of 2018 to bring creatives together to learn, share and connect. It was a place where we didn't feel alone. Eventually, through our community-building programming, we emerged as an important fixture of the creative community, for social activism. The collective creativity and expression in our communities began challenging what wasn't working. Our strength was our diversity of creatives. Photographers, activists, poets, muralists, musicians, podcasters–all were joining collaborative forces in a powerful and creative way. And then the pandemic hit. Our collective efforts were halted.
THE PROBLEM: ECONOMIC SETBACKS IN OUR COMMUNITY
COVID exposed the underlying inequities, but the lockdowns exacerbated our economic setbacks.
Sadly, I learned that You Belong Here artists were losing their incomes and jobs, some were moving in with their families to make ends meet, and some were on the brink of poverty.
In 2020, San Diego released its Creative Economy report that revealed our Creative Industries bring in $11.1 Billion in local revenue, however, our communities do not reflect this wealth.
Due to a lack of simple business foundations like EINs (employer identification number), tax returns, and business licenses, over 85% of the creatives I spoke with were ineligible for COVID relief funding. Following that, I surveyed 123 creative artists, and 47% reported that, prior to COVID, their creative arts-based businesses made less than $25K annually.
To put this number into context, the area median income (AMI) in San Diego as an individual is $106,900 (SanDiegoCounty.gov, 2022).
"The income needed to make ends meet in San Diego County is 4.1 times more than the Federal Poverty Level."
This dynamic isn't unique to San Diego. In many US communities, this is the case. As a result of COVID, we have been able to emphasize the previously overlooked need for business acumen and economic empowerment in our creative communities.
At You Belong Here, Our work is rooted in the community’s ability to thrive in spaces that were not fundamentally designed with equity in mind–education, social enterprise and advocacy.
You Belong Here is advocating for the economic prosperity of creatives by expanding access to business education resources tailored to the creative arts– bridging the gap between creativity and sustainability.
We want to expand our workshop and business development offerings that we provide locally and launch our creative arts fellowship program (the first of its kind in San Diego County)
The #StartHere Creative Business Fellowship, a 10-week intensive program that centers urban creative artists, to take them from ideation to profitability.
Fellows are going to walk away understanding how they can MONETIZE their creativity by creating a business model, how to price their services and products, how to track their expenses and build profit, protect their Intellectual property, and put together a business plan that will set them up for long-term growth.
REACHING ARTISTS BEYOND SAN DIEGO
YBH evolved into a platform to advocate for artists locked out of opportunity in our San Diego community, namely urban artists, young artists out of college, artists who lack formal training in their creative fields, and rural artists, who are at risk of missing out on business development opportunities.
Our goal is to digitize our business resources and courses onto a digital platform so that they can be available to creative artists who cannot access creative economy resources or small business development programs tailored to the creative arts!
WHO DO WE SERVE
There is no better investment than in Creatives. Creative passions can serve as the social fabric of our communities and lead to scalable and profitable businesses. Our cities are richer in culture and identity because of us!
We serve creative arts-based businesses and individuals in the following industries; music, filmmaking, videography, photography, graphic and website design, poets, copywriters, fashion designers, fine art artists, zine designers, podcasters, bloggers, content creators, online course creators, and so much more!
Over 21,000 creative freelancers live in San Diego County and the number is growing. There is a strong desire for learning in our community. This doesn't even touch on the need outside of San Diego.
HELP US GROW
You Belong Here is raising $50K on IFundWomen to launch our digital online business and community platform as well as the #StartHere Creative Business Fellowship pilot program.
You Belong Here needs to build its capacity to grow sustainably. We will need offer both local and digital services to expand our local workshops, and broaden our impact through a digital platform that will be accessible beyond San Diego, allowing us to better meet the needs of artists around the nation. In order to accomplish these next steps,
Our funding will be invested into:
Expanding our human resources; to accommodate greater programming
Tech & Software Infrastructure; to create robust internal systems for expansion
Equipment; to increase accessibility and remove technical barriers to entry for fellows
WHY WE CARE?
We are a women owned and operated team that is committed to making our neighborhoods, cities, and creative art communities accessible while amplifying the fairness in how we are compensated, valued, and run sustainable businesses. In addition to celebrating the joys of our cultures and identities with our community, we believe in nurturing a safe space that fosters the intersection of business and cultural identity.
Nic Roc, Owner and program director of You Belong Here brings 14 years of business experience within the Creative Arts industry. She is certified in entrepreneur center management, funding for creatives, and equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. She is eager to build with her community and help to elevate our creative arts community to economic empowerment.
Please check out our campaign page for some great rewards! We need your help to grow and expand these programs throughout our communities.
With your support, together, we can elevate the creative community to economic prosperity.