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23 Creative Entrepreneurs to Receive $45,020 in Grants to Support the Growth of Small Businesses in the Greater Philadelphia Region

January 11, 2021 (PHILADELPHIA, PA) – The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (“Cultural Alliance”) is pleased to announce the first round of grants made through the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator, a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA). In this funding round, 23 creative entrepreneurs received a total of $45,020 in grants to support their small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region.

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program matches eligible creative entrepreneurs with existing, free small business consulting services and financial resources - up to $2,000 - to help them grow their businesses, audiences, and revenue. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and funding determinations are made quarterly.

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is funded by the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts (PCA), a state agency under the Office of the Governor, and administered regionally by Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), PCA’s statewide network of re-granting partners. The Cultural Alliance serves as the PPA partner organization for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.

“We are delighted by the initial response to this new statewide program and excited to see how these local entrepreneurs leverage these new grants to drive growth within our cultural economy,” said Patricia Wilson Aden, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “So many small businesses - rooted in arts and culture - contribute to the vibrancy of our sector and this type of support allows us to support their efforts to grow, which in turn helps spur our collective recovery from the pandemic.”  

First Round Funding: Grant Highlights:

Melanie Hasan / Modest Transitions

Modest Transitions was founded by Melanie Hasan in 2019 to empower community inclusion and holistic healing through textile arts. It is a mixed media studio that hand-dyes, designs, and creates one-of-a-kind apparel and curated workshops that encourage sustainability and teach ancient natural dyeing techniques. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will allow the business to scale and commit to a new space lease, as well as invest in equipment and workshop supplies.

Megan Biddle / Dark Matter Glass  

Dark Matter Glass produces handmade blown glass interior lighting and drinking glasses with a focus on sustainability and accessibility. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will support the business’s initial launch of a new line of interior lighting. Funds will be used for prototyping and custom fabrication, marketing and promotion, and participation in design fairs.

Daniel R. Jackson / Embassy: Interactive

Embassy: Interactive is a multimedia company and entertainment-based platform specializing in building content for creatives, small businesses, and individuals through photography, video production and consulting. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will be used to enhance the company’s digital infrastructure and software to support business services.

Christian G. Noguera / Acheré Percussion

Acheré Percussion centers on the concept of “drums made by drummers” (“tambores hechos por tamboreros”). It is an artisan small business that creates handmade percussion instruments specifically for Latin American music genres, including congas and batá drums. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will be used to conduct market analysis and research; invest in upgraded equipment and source a greater variety of local and international supplies; and engage a marketing consultant to create a comprehensive marketing plan.

Dawn States / Dawn States Dance Company

Dawn States Dance Company is an emergent dance company that centers disability as a viable and valuable way to make dance. Dancers collaborate in generating choreography, participate in performances, and transpose movement across many different disabilities and mobility aids. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will support artist fees for artists with disabilities, acquiring ADA accessible rehearsal space, as well as marketing/promotion and accessibility features ( ASL, audio descriptions, and closed captions) for an upcoming performance.

Mark Ruffin / Black Dolls Matter

Black Dolls Matter® is a Philadelphia-based manufacturer and online retailer of black and multi-ethnic dolls, apparel, and accessories. Born out of a passion for doll collecting, a love of community, and a desire to improve doll testing results, Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator funding will allow the company to participate in ToyFair 2022, the largest trade show event for the toy industry. The funds will further support new product development, marketing, the purchase of supplies and equipment.

To learn more about the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program visit To view a full list of entrepreneurs receiving grants this round at:

About the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research, and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and amplify the voices of a cultural community that ignites creativity, inspires people and is essential for a healthy region.” Our membership includes more than 450 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit