NASAA Notes: September 2023

September 6, 2023

Pennsylvania: Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program

Melanie Hasan is business owner of Modest Traditions, a small, natural dye and textile studio. Photo courtesy Modest Traditions, Melanie Hasan

Creators are the foundation of a healthy creative economy. They serve as the originators and producers of creative goods and services. As small businesses, artists and artisans generate economic opportunity while also shaping community identity and facilitating civic engagement.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) is fueling this component of the creative economy through its Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. This program offers financial assistance in tandem with consulting services to creative entrepreneurs who are starting their own business or who operate an existing microenterprise. This program’s small business assistance model is designed to help artists who incorporate as for-profits, a population often not served through other state arts agency grant programs.

The process begins with creative entrepreneurs receiving a free consultation from a Small Business Development Center. These consultants provide technical assistance for starting a business, developing a sound business plan, and establishing growth and sustainability strategies. Once a viable business plan is in place, entrepreneurs are referred to regional Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts providers—local arts agencies that collaborate with PCA to regrant state funds. Through the partner agencies, entrepreneurs can receive $2,000 to implement their plans. Funds may be used for a wide array of business functions, such as marketing, supplies, research and development, technology, and rent.

The program places an emphasis on reaching creative entrepreneurs in communities with limited economic opportunity. It prioritizes investment in creative entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous, or persons of color or those located in and whose work benefits low-income communities. Low-income communities are defined as those where the poverty rate is greater than or equal to 20%, or the median family income is less than or equal to 80% of the area median. Only creative entrepreneurs whose businesses have gross receipts of under $200,000 are eligible for support.

For more information about the program, contact PCA Director of Access to the Creative Sector Amanda Lovell.

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