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Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator grant program provides creative entrepreneurs with small business consulting and $2,000 in critical financial resources to grow businesses and revenue. 51% of the funds available for distribution in this program have been reserved for Black, Indigenous, or persons of color (BIPOC), or individuals residing in low-income communities identified by the Small Business Administration’s low income communities map. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance administers this grant on behalf of the PA Council on the Arts for Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties through the Partners in the Arts (PPA) Program.

Full details of the grant program are below and we welcome you to join us for one of the upcoming virtual Information Sessions:

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Process and timeline

Step 1: Confirm your eligibility 

On March 4, an eligibility form will go live to determine if you meet all the requirements. If you are eligible, you will receive information about the next steps in the process. 

This grant program offers $2,000 in support to creative entrepreneurs starting a business or currently operating a micro-business with gross revenue less than $200,000 in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Eligible applicants must participate in creative fields such as marketing, architecture, visual arts, crafts, design, film and media, digital games, music, entertainment, publishing, or a similar creative field. Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for the Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program once every three years. Non-profit organizations are not eligible for funds through this program.

Eligible applicants must: 

  • Be 18 years of age or older and live in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Montgomery counties
  • Manage a business with gross revenue of less than $200,000 or intend to form or operate a business in Pennsylvania
  • Operate in one or more of the following creative industries:
    • Marketing – Advertising and marketing agencies and professionals
    • Architecture – Architecture firms and architects
    • Visual Arts & Crafts – Galleries, artists, artisans, and makers
    • Design – Product, interior, graphic, and fashion design firms and designers
    • Film & Media – Film, video, animation, television, and radio businesses
    • Digital Games – Companies, programmers, and individuals producing games
    • Music & Entertainment – Producers, venues, musicians, and performers
    • Publishing – Print or electronic businesses and content creators, editors, and writers

 

To read a full list of eligible and ineligible expenses for grant funds, please download the full grant guidelines.

Step 2: Business plan consultation with a Referral Partner 

Following eligibility confirmation, applicants will receive contact information to schedule a consultation and business plan review with a local small business development organization, known as a Referral Partner. The Referral Partner will help with the logistics of starting a business including the development of a business plan and growth strategies. Business consultation services are provided at no cost to prospective applicants.

Widener University Small Business Development Center and Temple University Small Business Development Center act as Referral Partners. Widener University tiene servicios en español.

We encourage applicants to connect with Referral Partners as early as possible. This timing is to ensure that meeting appointments are available prior to the application window opening. Meeting with a referral partner is a mandatory requirement as part of the application process. Review the criteria for approval in the grant guidelines. Referral of a creative entrepreneur by a Referral Partner does not guarantee that a grant will be made.

Step 3: Apply

The Cultural Alliance will accept applications beginning on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis until the application portal closes on Friday May 31, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. Applicants must submit application materials through the Cultural Alliance's Submittable system. Only applicants who have completed a meeting with a Referral Partner will be considered. However, meeting with a Referral Partner does not guarantee that a grant will be made.

On May 1, 2024 at 9:00 a.m., the Submittable application will go live. Preview the application questions here! We encourage you to review the application questions and develop responses prior to when the application opens. When the application opens, cut/paste your responses and submit the application.

Step 4: Notification and award 

Successful applicants will be notified in July 2024. For those approved, the Cultural Alliance will enter into a grant award agreement with the awardee. Following completion of grant paperwork as well as a brief baseline survey, funding will be disbursed electronically. A limited number of grants are available and demand for this funding is high.

For those who do not receive funding, we encourage you to apply again next year. Applicants who completed their meeting with a referral partner, but did not receive funding, will not be required to repeat that meeting in advance of the application opening next year. You will have to complete a new application.

Step 5: Utilize the grant 

Funds will be delivered in August 2024. The grant period is one year (August 2024 - August 2025) though most grantees utilize funding right away.

Eligible use of funds

Funds must support business formation or development. Nonprofit businesses are not eligible for support under this program. Eligible uses of grant funds include:

  • Professional fees for workshops, consultants, and career coaching
  • Participation in events, trade shows, and festivals that could support audience and revenue generation
  • Fees for relevant courses or seminars on business development
  • Development or upgrades to technology related to business practices
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Studio, rehearsal, or retail space rentals
  • Reasonable fees for supporting or collaborating with artists
  • Research and development
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment

 

Ineligible Use of Funds

  • Activities outside the grant period
  • Activities that have a religious purpose
  • Payments to lobbyists
  • Activities for which academic credit is given
  • Hospitality, food, or beverages
  • Offsets to regular business operating costs, including regular salary or wages

 

Step 6: Report

All grantees will be required to submit a final report on their grant, due September 2025 (though grantees may submit prior to then). Receipts and an itemized list of how funding was spent are a required part of the final report.


If you have questions about the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator grant, please email grants@philaculture.org

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