Sean Powell. Photo by Will Roye.
“We have to work together in these tough times.”
Sean Powell knew that he wanted to help others long before he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business in 2011. Growing up, his mother was a foster parent to children who were dealing with disabilities. This awakened a sense of altruism in Sean that continues to motivate him. He imagined creating a foundation. Engage, The Foundation was started after Sean and a couple of friends had successful experiences mentoring school-aged boys within the city of Richmond. Engage has evolved into an assortment of programs and projects that span the city.
Sean Powell and his son outside Workshop RVA. Photo courtesy of Sean Powell.
Sean’s latest project is called Workshop RVA, a co-living, co-working retail and studio-boutique based in Richmond, Virginia. He launched the space in August 2018. Due to COVID-19 and multiple protests in the city, Workshop RVA has restricted its services. “During this historical time of COVID-19 and police brutality protests, we’ve continued to motivate the community towards self-help through our youth empowerment program Young Business Builders, Disaster Behavioral Health Education & Services developmental programming, and our collaborative working platform,” Sean explains. He says that while they can only allow member and by-appointment shopping, WorkShop RVA has continued to support the local West Broad Street area, which was one of the principal sites of unrest in Richmond, with wholesale shopping for the vintage retail stores in the area.
The limited ability to offer real-time and place experiences for his patrons led Sean to develop an online membership structure for people to use Workshop RVA’s network, space, products, and services. His goal is to ultimately help others have a platform and space to succeed in their creative and business ventures. “We encourage everyone to utilize our platform to work together through these tough times,” he explains.
“End Police Brutality.” Photos courtesy of Sean Powell.
Along with Workshop RVA, Sean has developed Eco-Friendly Fundraiser – a program designed to encourage local businesses and individuals to commit to using renewable energy sources. Sean Powell’s initiatives will continue to create stronger bonds in his community and could become a model for other cities.
To learn more about Sean Powell and Workshop RVA, visit workshoprva.com and follow them on Instagram. Purchase Workshop RVA’s “LOVE WINS ALWAYS” T-shirt to support their Young Business Builders Program and Eco-Friendly Fundraiser here.