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Creative Business Loan Fund

In partnership with Bridgeway Capital and Community First Fund, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is pleased to make available the Creative Business Loan Fund. This fund makes available $2.2 million in the form of affordable, flexible financing to small, creative businesses across the commonwealth. 

Inspiration for creation of this fund stemmed from the PCA's awareness of a growing need for financial support for creative small businesses, which are important drivers of employment and economic vibrancy. Creative, for-profit businesses add to the state's economic activity and, if supported, will be positioned to play a critical role in helping Pennsylvania's cities and towns recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. 



Eligibility

The fund will prioritize creative 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. 

Under the program’s definition, creative businesses include craft manufacturers, arts schools, architecture, design and fabrication firms, media companies, and visual and performing arts production agencies.

Eligible loan uses will include working capital; equipment purchases; renovations to retail, production, or office space; and, in limited cases, building acquisitions. Loan amounts will vary, ranging from a few thousand dollars to an average loan size of $75,000, though Bridgeway and Community First will consider requests up to $250,000. 


How to Apply

Interested applicants in the following counties may apply to the program through Bridgeway Capital's Creative Business Loan Fund page: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Hundington, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Interested applicants in the following counties may apply to the program through Community First Fund's loan application pageAdams, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, Wyoming, and York.

For general questions about the Creative Business Loan Fund, contact Sarah Merritt, Director of Creative Communities via email or phone (717-787-1521).


About the Creative Business Loan Fund Partners

The fund will be supported with small business technical assistance provided by Bridgeway Capital and Community First Fund, each holding responsibility for deploying 50 percent of the total available loan capital. 

Both Bridgeway Capital and Community First Fund are nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs) with track records of making investments that benefit low-income individuals and communities in Pennsylvania. 

CDFIs are community institutions certified by the U.S. Treasury that provide financial products and services to their communities. CDFIs provide services beyond those typically offered by conventional lenders, including community outreach programs, business resources, and financial counseling.


About Bridgeway Capital

The mission of Bridgeway Capital is to make western Pennsylvania a thriving region for all by promoting economic opportunity and community revitalization. Bridgeway assists underserved populations by providing capital and education to ignite business and job growth, to develop communities, to support entrepreneurs, and to expand vital services that strengthen their region. Bridgeway serves the western Pennsylvania population from its headquarters in Pittsburgh and satellite offices in Erie and Uniontown.








About Community First Fund

The mission of Community First Fund is to create sustainable prosperity for low wealth communities and individuals, especially people of color and women, by aligning capital, knowledge, and advocacy to advance business ownership, housing, and community development. Community First serves the eastern Pennsylvania population with its headquarters in Lancaster and satellite offices in York, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, and Philadelphia.