Creative Capital Microgrant Program for Artists & Makers Launches in Frederick County

Frederick, MD—In an imaginative new program designed to stimulate the revenue growth of underrepresented artists and makers in Frederick County, Maryland Women’s Business Center proudly announces the launch of the Creative Capital Microgrant (CCM) Program, in partnership with the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.  

The CCM Program offers a financial microgrant of up to $1,000 to qualified businesses in creative industries, such as woodworking, jewelry, textiles, photography, music, and performing arts. MWBC Senior Business Consultant and Leadership Kalantzis envisioned and developed the program as part of her capstone project. The inaugural grant period runs from February through June 2024.

Initially funded with $20,000, the pilot program supports 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. 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. To further support the businesses, grant recipients will receive personalized business counseling and attend training classes designed to enhance the skills of creative business owners.

Applicant businesses must be located in Frederick County and be registered and in good standing with the State of Maryland. Applicants must also establish their eligibility as an underserved community and have earned less than $55,000 of gross revenue in 2023 from the art associated with the business. Applicants are given three months to complete their projects and, upon conclusion of the program, will be invited to participate in a community event to showcase their work.

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.

“Arts and culture contribute 2.8 percent to Maryland’s economy and Frederick County is home to many of our state’s artists,” said Karen Kalantzis, Senior Business Consultant at Maryland Women’s Business Center. “But as an artist, it is challenging to raise capital especially for women or other underrepresented owners who often experience additional barriers. I wanted to offer a way to support them and their creative works through this microgrant.”

“At MWBC, our mission is to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs to launch and grow sustainable businesses in Maryland’s Capital Region,” said Danette Nguyen, Managing Director of Maryland Women’s Business Center. “This program, developed by one of our experienced business consultants, helps local creative enterprises generate revenue growth and establish a foundation for future business success. We’re pleased to partner with the Frederick County Office of Economic Development to support emerging artists and makers and the incredible work they create.”

“The Creative Capital Microgrant Program aligns with our strategy to support underrepresented business owners in Frederick County through projects that help them grow their enterprises,” said Lara Fritts, Director of the Division of Economic Opportunity of Frederick County Government. “We’re excited to partner with Maryland Women’s Business Center to fund and promote this program that will not only inspire the artists and makers who participate, but also boost the business-to-community engagement that helps our county thrive.”

Interested artists and makers in Frederick County with project ideas to increase their creative business success are encouraged to learn more and apply. Visit https://marylandwbc.org/ccm for complete information about the Creative Capital Microgrant Program and access to the online application, which opens today.

Questions? Contact Karen Kalantzis at karen@marylandwbc.org.

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Maryland Women's Business Center (MWBC) works with women entrepreneurs and small businesses across Maryland’s Capital Region to help them to start, sustain, and grow their businesses. Through workshops, individual counseling, facilitated peer group support, special resources, and access to capital, MWBC annually helps more than 1,500 women gain the skills, connections, and confidence necessary to navigate entrepreneurship.

Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) serves as the primary contact for businesses to start, locate, and expand in Frederick County by connecting them with Federal, State, and local resources. FCOED assists companies in site selection, workforce recruitment and training, incentives, marketing, and more.