Creative Capital Microgrant Program
A partnership between:
In an imaginative new program designed to stimulate the revenue growth of underrepresented artists and makers in Frederick County, MWBC proudly presents the Creative Capital Microgrant Program, in partnership with the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED).
The Creative Capital Microgrant (CCM) Program offers a financial microgrant of up to $1,000 to qualified businesses in creative industries to support specific projects that use traditional business practices—such as marketing, social media, and online sales platforms—to accelerate a short-term return on investment and can be replicated for ongoing growth. MWBC Senior Business Consultant and Leadership Frederick County Class of 2023 graduate Karen Kalantzis envisioned and developed the program as part of her capstone project. The inaugural grant period runs from February through June 2024.
A CCM Review Committee has been established to review applications and select grantees based on their eligibility, overall business assessment, evaluation of proposed project, and the ability to replicate it for future revenue. The program aligns with MWBC’s and FCOED’s strategy to support underrepresented business owners through projects that support Frederick’s vision for small business and economic development:
- Generating additional revenue, with an emphasis on traditionally under-employed populations
- Retaining and expanding local business services
- Supporting business-to-community engagement
- Establishing a foundation for future business success
- Creating a social impact
To be considered for the CCM Program, prospective businesses must:
- Be located in Frederick County
- Be registered and in good standing with the State of Maryland
- Establish eligibility as an underrepresented community
- Have earned less than $55,000 of gross revenue in 2023 from the art associated with the business
Applicants will have three months to complete their projects and, to further support the businesses, grant recipients will receive personalized business counseling and attend training classes designed for creative business owners. Upon conclusion of the program, will be invited to participate in a community event to showcase their work.
- Entities engaged in activities deemed illegal under federal, state, or local law.
- Businesses generating over one-third of their gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities.
- Entities involved in hosting live performances of a prurient sexual nature.
To be eligible, CCM projects must yield a short-term return on investment and be replicable for future business growth. These include but are not limited to:
- Marketing initiatives with a call to action
- Social media setup and enhancement
- Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies
- Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram, or Google
- Direct mail or drip email campaign implementation
- Web development, design, and/or copywriting
- Establishment of new sales channels, including online shopping platforms
- Video production
- Professional photography for online galleries or portfolios
- Promotional expenses for studio open houses or in-house shows
- Support for show entry fees with sales opportunities
- Branding and logo design or redesign
The following types of projects lack a measurable impact on short-term revenue generation and WILL NOT be considered:
- Creative or business training courses
- Materials, supplies, cost of goods, costumes, instruments
- Software licenses or computer equipment
- Framing or packaging expenses
- Studio rent or studio-related costs
- Travel-related expenses
- Contest entry fees
- Branded promotional products
- Legal fees
- Food, beverages, or alcohol
- Applications will be accepted until all available funds are awarded, with a minimum selection of 20 creative businesses that represent a variety of artistic genres.
- Applicants can receive up to $1,000 for their proposed project.
- To further support their long-term business success, grant recipients must complete a minimum of two consulting sessions with a MWBC business consultant and attend one training class for creative business owners during the grant period of February and June 2024. Proposed training classes include topics such as:
- Legal Issues for Creatives
- Accounting for Your Creative Business
- Marketing & Storytelling for Creatives
- Participating in Public Art Opportunities and Farmers’ Markets
- The proposed project being submitted must be completed within 3 months.
- The grant funds will be paid after proof of the applicant’s project has been submitted including paid receipts.
- Grant recipients must agree to share business revenue and profit information before and after the project is complete during the counseling session so we can measure the pilot program’s success.
- MWBC reserves the sole right to amend, modify, add or delete any part or subpart of this Program. Additionally, MWBC reserves the sole right to accept, reject, or modify any application.
For full details about this program including the application process, eligible projects, and evaluation criteria, view the Creative Capital Microgrant Program Brochure here.
The application must be completed online using the link below, but to help applicants prepare for the questions, view a copy of the Creative Capital Microgrant application here.
For more information, email Karen Kalantzis at email@example.com.