Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program
Supporting Entrepreneurs in the Creative Sector

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. Centre Foundation administers Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program grants in Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, and Huntingdon counties on behalf of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) as a regional Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) partner.

The program’s purpose is to help creative entrepreneurs grow their business, audience, and revenue. The program will advance the PCA’s overarching values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and prioritize investments to creative entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) and those who are located in and whose work benefits low-income communities.

Eligibility and Timeline

This grant program provides $2,000 in support for creative entrepreneurs starting a business or currently operating a micro-business with gross revenue less than $200,000 in Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, and Huntingdon counties.  Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for the Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program once every three years. 

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and a current resident of Pennsylvania for at least one year.
  • 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 & 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

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

  • Application Opens: June 25, 2024
  • Application Closes: August 15, 2024
  • Award Notification: September 2024
  • Grant Period: September 2024-September 2025
  • Final Report Due: October 2025

A virtual grant information session was held on June 27:

Application Process

Step 1: Conduct consultation with a Referral Partner

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.

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

  • Penn State SBDC – Serving Centre and Clinton Counties
  • PennWest Clarion SBDC – Serving Clearfield County
  • St. Francis SBDC – Serving Huntingdon County
  • PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship – Serving Clearfield, Clinton and northern Centre Counties
  • Startup Alleghenies – Serving Huntingdon County
  • Happy Valley LaunchBox

Step 2: Apply

After you meet with one of the approved Referral Coordinators, you will receive a link to the application, along with an application Access Code, via email. Submit your application via Centre Foundation’s Online Grant Portal before 11:59 pm on Thursday, August 15

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.

Step 3: Notification and award

Successful applicants will be notified in September 2024. For those approved, Centre Foundation 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. 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 during the next cycle in January 2025. Applicants who completed their meeting with a referral partner, but did not receive funding, will not be required to conduct a new consultation meeting but will be required to complete a new application.

Reporting: All grantees will be required to submit a final report on their grant, due October 2025. 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 Program, contact Krista Williams at (814) 237-6229 or krista@centre-foundation.org.

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