Business Strategy: Artist Entrepreneur Program applications are open

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Kenton Tsoodle
Kenton Tsoodle

Through the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, visual media artist Timothy Bush Jr. is connected to a supportive arts and cultural community living and working in Oklahoma City.

Tim is a BIPOC artist, full-time public school teacher and U.S. Navy veteran. The new Artist Entrepreneur Program is an opportunity for him and other artists to build their network and business acumen, and take their art business to the next level.

Visual and performing artists are invited to apply for the new Artist Entrepreneur Program, a 10-week accelerator designed to equip under-resourced and underrepresented artists in OKC with the skills and knowledge to create and enhance strategic business plans.

The Artist Entrepreneur Program will offer visual and performing artist entrepreneurs the opportunity to expand their growth potential by pairing them with mentors and providing them with networking opportunities and workshops for business skills development.

Over the course of 10 weeks, participants will learn about topics such as business plans, legal compliance, accounting, marketing, grant writing and more. The new program will provide underrepresented businesses a path to grow their businesses. Tim anticipates the program will help many local artists begin to see their artistic work through the lens of a business owner.

The program will culminate with a networking event where artists will pitch their business plans to the broader business entrepreneurial community and, upon completion of the program, participants may be eligible for up to $5,000 in ARPA funds, directed to the City of Oklahoma City and administered by The Alliance, to implement their creative business plan.

To qualify, a business must be located in Oklahoma City, have been in business before March 3, 2021, and be either minority-owned or located within a Qualified Census Tract (majority low-income) area. Apply at ovac-ok.org/aep.

Accelerators like the Artist Entrepreneur Program foster communities of entrepreneurs who share common life experiences and play a vital role in facilitating community building, resource-sharing and the collaborative exchange of ideas. They also provide a platform for BIPOC entrepreneurs, offering meaningful examples to inspire other entrepreneurs and community members.

Oklahoma City has launched several resources and support services for small businesses, including programs to maintain jobs, support small business recovery and increase their resiliency. Learn more at www.theallianceokc.org/arpa-programs.

There are many opportunities for business leaders to network within the arts community. If you can offer mentorship to emerging small creative businesses in the development of their business strategy, contact the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition at [email protected].

Kenton Tsoodle is the president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

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