About 15 years ago, Theresa Quintanilla began working with two Houstonians who wanted to support the creative economy in Houston. George M. Worthington is a fellow alum of Columbia Business School, and he's focused on pushing Houston to celebrate its innovators, creators and entrepreneurs. Durwin Sharp is an innovation trainer, and he showed Theresa and George how to bring Houstonians together to create new ideas and projects.

Our first effort was The Houston Summit for the Creative Economy in 2010, and the event energized a small community but it was not sustainable. The event lacked sponsors, and the community didn't continue collaborating on their projects as we had hoped. We began to learn that Houstonians have a tendency to feel they can go it alone and "do it myself," like a wildcat driller looking for his own hole of black gold.

So Theresa began working on an online directory at www.CreativeHouston.org, thinking that she could 'bootstrap' a sustainable way to inspire a new image for Houston. While working full-time as a marketing strategist, she collected stories about Houstonians who invented, invested, and produced new ventures. Gradually, she came to realize that the web site she had envisioned could not be created or sustained by one person. It would take a team and a business plan.

Recognizing that Houston has many publications and organizations that promote its creativity for Houstonians, Creative Houston decided to focus on the challenges which limit Houston's ability to compete with other cities in two specific areas: importing more talent and exporting our inventions and creations. Houston's reputation as a creative city, and as a place to innovate and start new projects, became our focus.

With the support of George and Durwin, Theresa wrote a business plan and submitted it to a new equity crowdfunding platform, LetsLaunch. Our venture was accepted with the insight that funding a 'proof of concept' would be easier than funding our entire business plan.

Since we want to have a data-driven business which measures its challenges and results, we decided to use our opportunity with LetsLaunch to fund a survey to analyze how talented people in other cities see Houston as a place to work. We want to know how they feel about the prospect of being a creative professional located in Houston, launching their work into a worldwide market from our city.

What you think about Houston as a creative city? Do you think we get enough credit for our supportive environment that helps inventors, innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs thrive? Do you think our creative professionals are getting sufficient recognition?

What do you want to learn about Houston's reputation? How do you want to contribute to improving it?

By purchasing a share in Creative Houston, you'll be investing in a growth engine based on reliable information about where Houston is now and where it could go. We'll profit along with the city.

Please take a view of our pitch for equity crowdfunding at LetsLaunch.com.

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