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PPA | Creative Entrepreneurs

Accelerator Program

PPA | Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program (CEAP)

We appreciate your interest in the Creative Entrepreneur Accelreator Program. Program funding for the CEA Program is temporarily unavailable in Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, and Carbon Counties. This program is administered locally by the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) on behalf of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency. We anticipate having additional grant money from the PCA available in January 2025. In the meantime, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the application process by reviewing the steps listed under the How to Apply section at the bottom of this page. You are also welcome to meet with a referral partner who may submit a referral to the program on your behalf. 

What is the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program?  

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is a new program purposed to help creative entrepreneurs to grow their small business, audience, and revenue, and is designed to:   

• Pair creative entrepreneurs who aspire to start their own for-profit business or who operate an existing for-profit micro business with existing small business consulting services.   

• Provide financial resources through $2,000 grants.

• Advance the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ overarching value of diversity, equity, and inclusion.   

• Prioritize investments to creative entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).   

• Prioritize investments to creative entrepreneurs located in and whose work benefits low-income communities as defined by the Small Business Administration.  

Download a CEAP Two-Page Overview PDF

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency under the Office of the Governor, and administered regionally by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA). Lehigh Valley Community Foundation serves as the PA Partners in the Arts partner organization for Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties.  

Eligibility Criteria 
Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program once every three years.

Applicants must:

• Be a current resident of Pennsylvania for at least one year. 
• Be at least 18 years of age. 
• Operate a business with annual gross revenue less than $200,000. 
• Be a creative entrepreneur intending to form a business or operating a business in Pa. 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, 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  

NOTE: Previous Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program Grantees are eligible to re-apply once every three years, as long as they have maintained the terms of their Grant Award Agreement.  

Grant Awards and Eligible Uses of Funds 

Grants are for $2,000. Funds must support business formation or development.

Eligible uses of 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. 

Funds cannot be used for the following: 
• Activities outside the funding 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  

How to Apply

Lehigh Valley Community Foundation needs to receive a Referral Form from a participating Referral Partner to begin the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (CEAP) application process.

1. CEAP Referral Form

Interested applicants should schedule a meeting with a participating referral partner who serves the county your business is addressed to. The referral partner will work with you to understand your business needs, offer small business consulting services, and submit a referral for the program on your behalf.  

New clients  should choose a referral coordinator that serves their area and follow the initial steps outlined on the referral list. Once connected to the referral coordinator, clients will need to complete at least one consultation regarding a business formation or development activity.  

Existing or past clients of any referral partner on the list, may reach out to their contact to request a referral to the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program.  

• The referral coordinator will submit the referral form to LVCF on your behalf

List of Participating Referral Coordinators

Referral of an entrepreneur to LVCF does not guarantee a grant will be made; LVCF will make determinations of eligibility and availability of funds.

Lehigh University Small Business Development Center 
Serving Lehigh and Northampton Counties  

Rising Tide Community Loan Fund 
Serving Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties  

  • To get started, call or email Chris Hudock at the contact information below  
  • Phone: (484)-893-1093  
  • Email: chudock@caclv.org   

Community First Fund 
Serving Lehigh and Northampton Counties 

Wilkes University Small Business Development Center 
Serving Carbon County  

The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center 
Serving Monroe County  

Please note: A referral of an entrepreneur to the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program does not guarantee a grant will be made.  

Upon receipt of a referral to the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, LVCF will review the Referral Form to make determinations of eligibility. In the event LVCF is unable to determine eligibility, we will consult the PA Council on the Arts to assist in the decision.  

If eligible to apply, the referred entrepreneur will receive an invitation to apply via email. If the entrepreneur is not found eligible to apply, we will either follow up wit

2. Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program Application & Awards 

The CEA Program application will collect additional information about your business and ask specific questions needed to determine eligibility. Applications are reviewed for funding on a quarterly basis.  

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are expended. Funding decisions will be made in quarterly cycles as outlined below.   

If awarded, grantees are required to complete a W-9 and sign a Grant Award Agreement before grants can be distributed. Grantees must also submit a final report one year after receiving funds. Grantees who fail to submit a final report will not be eligible to re-apply for funding.  

Key Dates

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are expended. Funding decisions will be made on cycles as outlined below. An application is considered complete when LVCF has received a Referral Form from a participating referral partner, an Entrepreneur Information Form from the applicant, and a CEAP Application Form completed by the applicant.  Future key dates will be posted when applicable.

Key Documents for Grantees

  • W-9 Form (2021) PDF
  • CEAP Grant Agreement Form PDF
  • CEAP Guidelines (Printable form of what’s on this page) PDF

ASK Monique | Learn more about the Community Foundation’s Partners in the Arts (PPA) grant opportunities

Monique Saunders Moreno
Assistant Director of Community Investments
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
840. W. Hamilton Street, Suite 310, Allentown, PA 18101
610 351-5353, ext. 17 | monique@lvcfoundation.org