Starving Artists No More: Business is Getting Creative in Erie
Applications are open now for ErieMade's second session
ErieMade Business Academy is now accepting applications for their 2023 program which is open to entrepreneurs in Erie within the creative and arts sectors. The program, which is the second to be hosted by the academy, has an application deadline that is quickly approaching and ErieMade facilitator Amanda Duncan would love for as many people who would benefit to apply to this program, which will guide those in the arts sector and give them the skills needed to achieve their business goals. Duncan comments, "We are looking forward to meeting the next group of artists and makers who will comprise the second ErieMade cohort. Erie is teeming with creativity and talent. As Erie continues to grow and develop, it's essential for these businesses to thrive. They make Erie a more beautiful place to live and drive our strong arts and culture scene. Their success is important for all of us."
The program will help creative entrepreneurs to develop a workable business plan, give them greater access to capital (through loans and grants), teach legal, financial, and marketing strategies, and help connect them with peers who share the same struggles and concerns. The program is completely free and allows for business owners to learn from real-life experts on how to grow and flourish. Duncan continues, "Erie is flush with resources for entrepreneurs. What I love about the ErieMade program is that it is specifically tailored to the needs of creative entrepreneurs. The curriculum guides participants through the process of professionalizing and monetizing their craft. The 'starving artist' trope is tired. It's time we start to compensate artists appropriately. ErieMade equips creatives with the tools to understand how they can do that while continuing to pursue their life's passion and work."
So who is eligible for the program? Anyone interested in applying must self-identify as an artist, maker, designer, craftsperson, or small-batch manufacturer; they must aspire to become a full-time creative business owner; they must have at least one year of business operation; they must have access to technology (including a computer and internet); and they must be a resident of Erie County. ErieMade Business Academy encourages everyone eligible to apply including: BIPOC, women, veteran-owned creative businesses, creative businesses operating in low to moderate-income areas, or those businesses that have demonstrated goals to make a social and/or economic impact.
The program will take place over 12 weeks with an additional six months of support offered after the initial intensive courses. The classes and mentoring sessions will take place at the 1020 Collective (1020 Holland St.), whose owners were graduates of the program's first session. Topics of study include (but are not limited to): defining your business's mission and goals, branding and marketing, legal and operational considerations, sales channels, and funding. The six months of additional support include up to $500 worth of services (legal, business, etc.) to aid in achieving one's business goals as well as eligibility to apply for Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator grants of up to $2,000 from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Additionally, participants who successfully complete ErieMade become eligible for the Erie Arts and Culture Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator grant. "There are so many benefits to participating in this program and it's completely free to any eligible creative business in Erie County," Duncan explains.
ErieMade sessions will be held in person on Wednesday evenings from May 17th through July 26th. Participants are expected to attend all eight two-hour learning sessions, complete study sessions available during "study weeks," and complete assignments outside of dedicated classroom time. On average, ErieMade requires 5-8 hours weekly to participate.
If you or someone you know is an entrepreneur in the arts and culture sector in Erie and is looking for a boost in business knowledge and opportunity, consider applying for the ErieMade Business Academy's second session before the deadline on April 19th. More information on applying to the program is available at bridgewaycapital.org and the application for the 2023 program can be found here.
Amanda Duncan can be reached here.
Erin Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org