Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program Guidelines

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (the “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 as defined by the Small Business Administration.

Grant Amount


Applications Open: January 1, 2024

Applications Close: February 15, 2024

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Grant Eligibility

Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for the Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program once every three years.

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and a current resident of Pennsylvania for at least one year.
  • Creative entrepreneur’s business must have gross revenue less than $200,000 or intend to form or operate a business in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties.
  • 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

Submission Process

Arrange a meeting with one of the designated Referral Coordinators for business plan review. After the Referral Coordinator has reviewed and approved your business plan, they will sign and date the referral form. If the Referral Coordinator does not approve of your business plan, they will indicate why on the referral form. You can then edit your business plan based on their feedback and meet with them again for approval.

    • Lebanon and Dauphin
    • Cumberland

Grant Timeline

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The Creative Entrepreneur grant is first-come-first-serve. Funds will be replenished by the PA Council on the Arts on a to-be-determined cycle.

Grant Size

The maximum grant award amount is $2,000.

**Please keep in mind that 55% of the funds available for distribution in this program will be reserved for black, indigenous, or persons of color (BIPOC), or individuals whose income falls below the Federal Poverty Income Level as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By doing this, PCA hopes to prioritize investment in creative entrepreneurs who are located in or whose work benefits socially or economically disadvantaged communities.

What We Do Fund

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.

What We Do Not Fund

  • 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.

Criteria for Evaluating Proposals

Entrepreneur intends to form a business or operates a business within the specified creative industry areas in Pennsylvania (refer to list of eligible creative industry areas).

  • Entrepreneur has a viable business plan (see below).
  • Potential for the proposed grant-supported activities to grow audiences and revenues for the entrepreneur (entrepreneur can use the Program funds to further the business plan).
  • Appropriateness of proposed budget and use of funds (refer to Program guidelines that detail the grant amount range and eligible and ineligible uses of grant funds).

For the purposes of the Program, “viable business plan” means evidence of planning directed at forming a for-profit business or pursuing sustainable growth opportunities for an existing for-profit business. Evidence of planning may take a variety of forms and may be assessed by the Referral Coordinators’ existing methods of working with clients. Examples of appropriate planning include, but are not limited to:

  • New business brief
  • Completed Business Model Canvases
  • Participation in business planning workshop
  • Streamlined pitch deck
  • Recorded business pitch presentation
  • Extensive business plan


If you should have any questions regarding TFEC grant opportunities or your application, please contact the Community Investment Team, at or 717-236-5040. Questions are welcome at any time!

Questions regarding our grant opportunities?

get in touch with us or
view the grantseeker FAQ