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Shapiro Administration Shines a Spotlight on PA’s Creative Economy During Small Business Week


​Today, in celebration of Small Business Week, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) launched the Creative Business spotlight series, which shines a light on the role small businesses play in the economy and Pennsylvania communities.  

"PA Small Business Week is the perfect occasion to tell the story of the creative entrepreneur ecosystem of our state and its vital role in making our communities vibrant, competitive places," said Karl Blischke, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The video series spotlights the following businesses:

  • Bridgeway Capital: A Pittsburgh-based community development financial institution that is a key partner in the PCA's Creative Business Loan Fund, and business consultant for PCA's Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator. | Bridgeway Capital website
  • Rabbit 3: A sole proprietor apparel company based in Erie, PA and a grantee in the PCA's Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program. | Rabbit 3 website
  • NextFab: A network of collaborative makerspaces for professional makers, with locations in greater Philadelphia and Wilmington, and a grantee in the PCA's Creative Catalyst program.| NextFab website

In addition to funding available for general operating support, arts-based community and economic development, equitable capacity building, arts in education, and folk and traditional arts, the PCA offers support for creative entrepreneurs and creative small businesses.

The PCA's Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator (CEA) connects Pennsylvania creative entrepreneurs with existing free business consulting and grants of up to $2,000, which can be used to build, expand, or market the recipient's business. Since its 2021 launch, the CEA has supported 385 creative entrepreneurs in 45 counties across the Commonwealth. For FY 2022-2023, the PCA estimates participation of an additional 315 entrepreneurs in 52 out of 67 total Pennsylvania counties.

The Creative Business Loan Fund (CBLF) provides affordable, flexible financing to creative small businesses located in low-income communities, those owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) or serving a diverse market, and those located in small towns and rural communities. The PCA partners with Bridgeway Capital and Community First Fund to service the CBLF. Since its 2020 launch, the CBLF has made 20 loans averaging $110,000 for a variety of uses, including equipment purchase, building renovation and refit, working capital, and more.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce calculated that, in 2021, Pennsylvania's creative economy contributed $28.6 billion to the Commonwealth's economy, employing more than 165,000 FTE positions and providing $14 billion in compensation.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) supports jobs, builds communities, inspires lifelong learning, promotes the Commonwealth, and sparks innovation through its portfolio of funding opportunities. The PCA reaches all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through its investments in arts and cultural production, creative placemaking, accessibility, capacity building, arts in education, and the growth and sustainability of creative small businesses and creative entrepreneurs.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, please visit the website or follow PCA on Facebook.

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