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Creative Business Loan Fund

Learn more about our current RFP for CDFIs interested in participating in and administering the Creative Business Loan Fund (PDF)

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 provides $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. 

Loan Fund Management

The fund is managed by Bridgeway Capital and Community First Fund, each holding responsibility for deploying 50 percent of the total available loan capital and providing small business technical assistance.

What is a creative business?

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.


Eligibility

The fund prioritizes creative businesses:

  • Located in low-income communities;
  • Owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) individuals or serving a diverse market; and
  • Those located in small towns and rural communities. 

Eligible Loan Uses

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 must apply to the program through Bridgeway Capital's Creative Business Loan Fund: 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 must apply to the program through Community First Fund's loan application page: Adams, 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.


About the Creative Business Loan Fund Partners

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.