StARTup Grant

StARTup Grant

The $250K Artist Entrepreneurial Fund/StARTup Grant is supported by a major gift from the StARTup Incubator to support opportunities that will benefit artists' careers - to foster and promote the creation of new businesses and educational programs and training for artists that will help facilitate or create new and/or expanded employment opportunities throughout Erie County. Grants up to $5000 are available. Awards will be made with the intention of supporting as many projects as possible.

Project Eligibility

Acceptable formats: Workshops, exhibits, readings, performances, festivals, concerts, screenings, and metal fabrication, painting, and mixed media. 

Projects can be delivered online, in small groups, and other means that are not traditionally accessible to the public because of COVID-19 restrictions. Applicant businesses may be new startups or new branches of an existing business but no more than two years old with main location in Erie County.

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April 23 2021 Check Presentation

Suggested Uses for Grant Funds

Suggested uses include business plan consulting services, liability insurance premiums, purchase of raw materials & supplies, software such as design & financial software, marketing activities, including online sales & social media or outsourced marketing services, financial advisor services.

Qualified Applicant Examples

  • Arts & Craft production
  • Design firms
  • Arts instruction, for profit workshops, instructional arts, and crafts kits
  • Fashion/clothes design & manufacturing
  • Literary Arts-related enterprises (bookbinding, publications, ghostwriting/editing services)
  • Photography
  • Film production
  • Professional Singers/Performers

StARTup cannot support the following

  • Projects whose sole purpose is fundraising
  • Scholarships, fellowships, awards
  • Retroactive funding
  • Projects that already receive funding from The Erie Arts and Culture and/or Community Foundation
  • Rent or real estate purchases nor for salaries
  • For the purchase of computer hardware

NOTE: Applicants may apply only once in each calendar year.

Priority is given to the following:

  • Applicants with potential to hire employees will be given special consideration
  • Projects that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Projects that support Erie County residents
  • Clear, concise, and complete application submissions

Each application is reviewed based on its own merits. Limited funds are available, and awards will be made with the intention of supporting as many eligible projects as possible.

Award Criteria

Grants are awarded based on the following primary criteria:

  1. Creativity and Design Quality
  2. Demonstration of managerial and fiscal Managerial/Fiscal Competence
  3. Award Notification & Distribution of Funds

Award notification are sent via email approximately two weeks after the application submission. Grant funds are mailed via check approximately two weeks after the notification submission. Grant funds cannot be distributed until grant recipients sign and return the acceptance agreement attached to the award notification via email. 

*Submitting an application is not a guarantee of a grant award.

Credit and Usage Rights

Where possible, credit to the StARTup grant program must be given using language provided with award notification. StARTup and the ECRDA reserve the right to describe or reproduce material for publication or public relations purposes from any opportunity awarded funding. Grant funds cannot be distributed until grant recipients sign and return via email the acceptance agreement attached to the award notification.

Application Process and Deadlines

StARTup Grant applications are accepted beginning March 1st, 2021 at 7AM through March 15th, 2021 at 5PM.

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