APRIL 11 -14

Last year may have set you off course when it came to your business or creative venture. While many of us were trying to figure out how to tread water, a prolonged season of transition and change has taught us that we need do more than stay afloat. In order to truly reach our destination and accomplish our goals, we need to build something that will help us get there. Our goal with Build a Boat is to help you find and take steps that build stable and steady operations that can survive changes and help you actualize your vision.
Build a Boat is a four-day mini-conference designed to meet you where you are. The week offers conversations, tutorials, and networking opportunities that will help you identify where you are in a sea of turbulence. As we navigate the waves of life, we want to encourage, empower, and equip by creating community and conversation. Save the date to set sail with Create Birmingham from April 11 – 14, and let us help you navigate your journey.
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Registration for the Build a Boat conference is FREE! It includes four days of conversations, networking, and tutorials that will help you get a handle on your next steps and build something sustainable for the next leg of the journey. We know you can’t make all the sessions, so you’ll have access to all our videos and recorded sessions up to six months after the conference. This means you can watch them on your own time or review them again for a second dose of inspiration or anything you may have missed.

Want a little extra? We are offering a VIP Support Pack for $29. In addition to helping keep the conference free, you’ll also receive some fun stuff:

  • Powered by Create multi-use charging cable
  • Stickers to help keep your conference notes organized
  • Stop Treading Water button
  • Stop Treading Water sticker
  • Plus more goodies



9:00 - 10:00 AM

Hosted by our Director of Programs, Jessica Moody, via Zoom, this meeting helps local artists, small businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs start the week off with coffee and brainstorming. This is a time to allow you to share recent challenges & concerns and discuss how to continue adapting your business, organization, or idea.

11:00 - 11:30 AM

Meet the small, but mighty, crew that keeps the Create ship afloat!

4:30 - 6:00 PM

Join us as we discuss the purpose of BAB and how you should navigate your journey throughout the week.


9:00 - 10:00 AM

Join us as we take a look at how to best navigate the Build a Boat conference and plan the course that’s best built for you and your venture.

This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

11:00 - 11:15 AM

Hear more about Film Birmingham, our role as a film liaison, and how to make sure incoming productions know you’re available to work.

2:00 - 3:00 PM

Now, where would we all be without the support of organizations that offer guidance, resources, and a little cheerleading?! But, what we know about how to navigate that support and what kind of impact connecting to organizations can have can vary among us.

Since community support is a key element to the success of businesses and organizations we are lucky to get the opportunity to chat with Monique Shorts with the City of Birmingham, Jessica Moody with Create Birmingham, and Reginald Smith with Sabre Finance about the work they do to support us all.

This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

4:30 - 6:00 PM

We’ll be popping up in person around town to show some support to small businesses, nonprofits, and makers. Make sure to tag us using #buildaboat2022 so we can share the love.


9:00 - 10:00 AM

Most of us begin with an offering rooted in passion. That passion can sometimes make it difficult to manage the need to change pricing or policies as the world changes and evolves. Even more, there is the technical aspect and the impact on your audience to consider.

Join us for “Ebbs and Flows” to hear Tiffany Martin of Ignite Cycle discuss how she has handled and adjusted pricing and pivoted within the pandemic and beyond!

This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

11:00 - 11:15 AM

For those who may be lost, stuck, or just ready to set sail, CO.STARTERS may be the right program for you. Learn more about this interactive program in this session.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Your nonprofit’s strengths aren’t just your outstanding programs and your growing audience. Your employees are your secret – or hopefully not so secret – weapon.

In this free webinar with Human Capital Strategist Melva Tate, we’ll talk about how a thorough human resources plan, from basic workplace policies to talent management, can help an organization achieve its overall goals by attracting and retaining a motivated and cohesive team.

This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

4:30 - 4:45 PM

Sometimes, you just need a one-on-one. Learn more about how you can meet with a member of the Create staff to get some guidance or feedback as you continue to build your boat.


9:00 - 10:30 AM

This interactive workshop is an opportunity to establish goals with corresponding tasks and assess current needs for your growing business. Looking at where you want to be 12 months from now, you’ll determine tasks and milestones over the next 30, 60, and 90 days to move your business or organization forward.

11:30 - 12:30 PM

We get it. You want to sell your product/service or offer your service/support to everyone who says they want it. But, the truth is, not everyone is your customer. So, how do you find the intersection where your solution meets those with the need (and will pay for or support it)?


Join us for “Not Everyone Is Your Customer” with Autumn Sanders as we explore what you should consider when narrowing down the right audience for your business or organization.


This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

2:00 - 3:00 PM

Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s all good until it’s not”? Well, it’s true. Along the journey, plans get sidetracked, the unexpected happens, and hard decisions must be made.So what do you do, “When the Winds Change”?

Join us for a virtual conversation with Deidre Clark, Daniel Drinkard, and Kaitlin Slattery that explores the touch decisions and celebrates the brave who make them!

This session is set up as a webinar. We welcome comments and questions. 

4:00 - 6:00 PM

We would love to wrap up and chat about your journey through BAB and where you think your boat is headed next! Join us for a closing session.


Create Birmingham’s small business support programs are made possible by our generous supporters.

Alabama Power Foundation   |   City of Birmingham   |   Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation   |   Daniel Foundation of Alabama   |   Regions Foundation   |   Welch Group Foundation   |   The Ruby S. & John P. Ansley Fund   |   Jefferson County Commission   |   Caring Foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama   |   Vulcan Materials Company Foundation   |   Protective Life Foundation   |   Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau   |   Hugh Kaul Foundation   |   Robert R. Meyer Foundation   |   Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust   |   National Endowment for the Arts   |   Wells Fargo Bank   |   Alabama State Council on the Arts   |   Jemison Investment Co.   |   C. Eugene Ireland Foundation