YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A local non-profit organization is helping to build and raise awareness for small businesses in the inner city of Youngstown.

The group, which has been around for three years, is called the Youngstown Creative Collective.

It has plenty of initiatives to support and help groom small business owners, one of which is called the Co-Creator Series. It gives individuals a way to have hands-on experience with other businesses to help them further their successes.

Youngstown Creative Collective co-founder Joseph Napier said the organization gives start-up businesses an extra hand for free.

“Each one, teach one — it’s about creating new traditions, new patterns and new knowledge and spreading it,” he said.

While going to Kent State University and being part of a student organization, Napier said he realized how important it is to engage with the community.

So, he wanted to bring that mentality back to Youngstown.

“Early on, I had the want to give back and the best way I could was helping organizations promote and market themselves the right way,” Napier said.

The Youngstown Creative Collective’s goal is for members to build strong relationships with one another in the community, because networking is key.

“All in all, as much as we would love to do everything on our own, we can’t. So the more the merrier. If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together,” said Meeluvh Iman, owner of Meeluvh’s Secret Garden.

Iman said she’s a big supporter of the initiative because it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.

“Because he’s getting all of the entrepreneurs in the city to come together and work together and bounce ideas off of each other and network,” Iman said.

The Youngstown Creative Collective is having a big event called the “Lit Exchange” on Jan. 25 at Meeluvh’s Secret Garden.

“It’s basically about pushing the culture, working together, finding other like-minded individuals and helping each other build to get to where they want to go. Like I said, going together is really the best way,” Iman said.

Lit Exchange is free and open to the public.