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PPA | Creative Entrepreneurs

Accelerator Program

PPA | Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program (CEAP)

Boy draws with a brush an abstract big light bulb. Concept of innovation and creativity

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 Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is a new program 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), PCA’s statewide network of re-granting partners. The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation serves as the PCA’s PPA partner organization for Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. 

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.  Click heror on document to download the CEAP guidelines:

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is designed to: 

  • Pair creative entrepreneurs with existing small business consulting services.  
  • Help creative entrepreneurs grow their business, audience, and revenue.  
  • Provide financial resources through grants of up to $2,000. 
  • 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. 

Eligibility Criteria 
Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for the Creative Entrepreneur 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.
  • 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 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, 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 

Grant Awards and Eligible Uses of Funds 

Grant amounts range from $500 to $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

To begin an application, LVCF needs to receive two forms: 

Entrepreneurs Information Form 

  • To be completed by the applicant 
  • Can be accessed and submitted online – click here (English) or Ver en español aquí (Spanish)

Referral Form 

To be completed by a participating referral partner listed below: 

  • Existing or past clients of any of the organizations on the list, may reach out to their contact at that organization to request a referral to the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. 
  • 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. 
  • The referral coordinator will submit the referral form to LVCF. 

The Entrepreneur Information Form and the Referral Form can be submitted in either order, but both are required to move forward with the application. When both forms have been submitted, LVCF will review them for eligibility. Pending availability of funds, LVCF will invite the entrepreneur to submit an Application Form for the program. The application form will be online and access will be given to those who are invited to apply. 

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. 

CycleCompleted applications received:Funding Decisions will be made:
Before August 15, 2022 August 2022 
August 16 – November 15, 2022 November 2022  
November 16, 2022 – February 15, 2023 February 2023 
February 15 to May 15, 2023 May 2023

Referral Organizations

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

List of Participating Referral Coordinators 

Lehigh University Small Business Development Center

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 

Rising Tide Community Loan Fund

Serving Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties 

Community First Fund

Serving Lehigh and Northampton Counties

Key Documents for Grantees

  • W-9 Form (2021) PDF
  • CEAP Grant Agreement Form PDF

CEAP Instructional Video | Virtual Information Session


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

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