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On the job

B-HIP intern helps build Creative Economy Network


08/12/2009

A Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) participant is bolstering a unique new start-up venture that aims to be the go-to source for stakeholders in the creative economy when it comes to news and information and other services.

This summer, Maggie Bang of Victoria, Texas, a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, is working on the Creative Economy Network (CEN) with project founder Eugenie Sills. In addition to conducting market research and helping to flesh out the business plan, Bang is compiling a database that includes individuals and institutions or organizations that are part of the creative economy.

As part of this summer's internship, Bang and Sills discuss how to develop CEN's business plan, the Web site layout, the product rollout and other aspects of starting a business.

"Building the database is a continuous effort," says Bang. "While it is really time consuming, it is also the meat of the CEN up to this point. I have researched the various creative economy initiatives in the country and abroad. I'm collecting and documenting all conferences and events related to the creative economy, as well as any economic development reports."

Bang, who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing this December, previously served as a marketing intern at the University of Texas Performing Arts Center-her only other exposure to arts management on a theoretical and educational level.

To follow that experience, she says, "I wanted a more substantial arts management internship. I chose B-HIP because I liked the combination of classroom learning with work experience.  B-HIP enhanced my knowledge of the field greatly in a very short amount of time."

Bang's mentor is glad to have her on the job.

"I've been really impressed with her business acumen, especially since she's someone who's still in college and hasn't had a lot of experience in the world," says Sills. "She's a good thinker. She's definitely kept this project moving forward."

It's the second time Sills has worked with a B-HIP student.

"I'd had a really great experience before and I found it really useful," says Sills. "I also was very impressed with the program and the other interns as I had the chance to interface with them that summer. As I decided to move this business plan forward, it made sense to request another B-HIP intern. I would definitely do it again."

Now, Bang is considering studying cultural policy or economic development as part of her graduate school experience.

"Working to build the foundation of such an organization is very unique, and I am very grateful for this experience," says Bang. "I have learned so much about a field that I knew nothing of eight weeks ago, and now am passionately committed to it. I enjoy working on something that I know has the potential to be a huge resource for so many people."