StARTup Grant

StARTup Grant

The StARTup grant is designed to support Erie’s creative entrepreneurs grow their business, audience and revenue. Creative for-profit entrepreneurs are eligible to apply, businesses must be less than two years old; or an established businesses that is seeking to branch out in a new creative direction are welcome to apply. For full program guidelines and to apply please continue here.

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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       Applications are now being accepted! 

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 through September 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. Previous award winners may only apply again after 12 months. Applications will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the former Board of Directors of the StARTup Incubator.

To date, $57,000 in StARTup grants have been awarded to 15 creative businesses.

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