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The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is designed to pair access to existing small business consulting services with financial resources for creative entrepreneurs who aspire to start their own for-profit business or who operate an existing for-profit micro business.

The Program’s purpose is to help creative entrepreneurs to grow their business, audience, and revenue. The Program will advance the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ overarching value of diversity, equity, and inclusion and prioritize investments to creative entrepreneurs who identify Black, Indigenous, or people of color ("BIPOC") and those who are located in and whose work benefits low-income communities.

Application Deadline
Applications will be accepted from October 1 - December 31 at 11:59pm. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by February 1.

Grant Amounts
Grants are $2,000.

Creative entrepreneurs, if funded, are eligible to reapply for the Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program once every three years.

Applicants must:
1. Be at least 18 years of age and a current resident of Pennsylvania for at least one year.
2. Have a business with gross revenue less than $200,000.
3. Be a creative entrepreneur intending to form a business or operating a business in Pennsylvania within one or more of the following creative industry areas:

  • Marketing – Advertising and marketing agencies & professionals
  • Architecture – Architecture firms & architects
  • Visual Arts & Crafts – Galleries, artists, artisans & makers
  • Design – Product, interior, graphic, and fashion design firms and designers
  • Film & Media – Film, video, animation, TV & Radio businesses
  • Digital Games – Companies, programmers & individuals producing games.
  • Music & Entertainment –Producers, venues, musicians & performers
  • Publishing  – Print or electronic businesses & content creators, editors & writers

Eligible Uses of Funds
Funds must support business formation or development. Eligible uses of grant funds include:

  • Professional fees for workshops, consultants, and career coaching.
  • Participation in events, trade shows, festivals, etc. that offer access to audience and revenue generation potential.
  • Business development fees for courses or seminars for business skills.
  • Research and development.
  • Marketing and promotion.
  • Development or upgrades to technology related to business practices.
  • Studio/rehearsal/retail space rent.
  • Reasonable fees for supporting/collaborating artists.
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment.

Grants funds cannot be used for the following:

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

Step 1:
Before applying, all applicants must first have a consultation with a Referral Coordinator. The Referral Coordinator assists with the logistics of starting a business including the development of a business plan and continued growth strategies. Local Referral Coordinators for Erie Arts & Culture can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
Step 2:
Upon receiving a referral form from a designated Referral Coordinator, applicants may submit application materials through Erie Arts & Culture. Submissions must include the creative entrepreneur’s application form, business plan, 12 month budget projection, and referral form.


Successful applicants to the CEA program have:

  • Consistently accessed resources before and after receiving grant support (including consulting, accelerator programs, skill building workshops, etc.)
  • A relevant business plan
  • An understanding of their target market
  • Demonstrated their business' growth 
  • Created a plan for CEA funds that addresses needs and will grow the business, audience, and/or its revenues     
    • Can demonstrate matching funds (if proposed use of funds exceeds the $2,000 grant amount)


Questions? Contact Casey Corritore, Program Officer of Capacity Building: casey@erieartsandculture.org | 814-452-3427 x 108

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