Apply to Creative Enterprises


Deadline to apply: 5pm on 12/7/15

Spaceworks invites creatives* who have a plan for a creative/innovative business that benefits Tacoma’s community and are seeking to develop a thriving business to apply to participate in its 2016 Creative Enterprise Program.

Spaceworks’ Creative Enterprise Program provides relevant and meaningful business training and peer-to-peer support to the participants to systematically grow Tacoma’s creative class and generate destination quality activity that will engage and transform our community. Affordable space is also provided, dependent on availability, to serve as a training ground to test new ideas, products and services with a safety net of technical assistance and mentorship.

Selected participants will start Spaceworks’ Creative Enterprise Training in January 2016 and pitch a full business plan for review in May 2016. Spaceworks staff will help to launch these businesses to the streets of Tacoma throughout 2016.

A link to the online application is available at the bottom of this page. Spaceworks will offer information sessions and “office hours” for potential applicants prior to the deadline to present ways to build a strong application and provide feedback to applicant’s proposals. Click here for the workshop schedule and a link to sign up for Office Hours.

*Artists, designers, crafters, techies, makers, foodies, consultants, organizations, community groups and other entrepreneurs working in any creative field (for-profit or non-profit).

Examples of possible Creative Enterprise uses:

  • Retail space for hand-made items (i.e. jewelry, fashion, art, etc.) – example: Do The Extraordinary
  • Services (i.e. art or dance classes, design advice, etc.) – example: Fabitat
  • Merchandising a creative product – example: Grit City Grindhouse
  • Art Galleries/Museums – example: Mod Curio
  • Creative home-based businesses testing their product in a retail environment – example: The T-shirt Men Company
  • Office space (individual or co-working) for creative business, for example: digital media company or photographer with a digital darkroom – example: Turtledust Media
  • Long-term artist studio space/sole proprietor artist – example: Nate Dybevik Piano & Co.

Selected participants in the Spaceworks’ Creative Enterprise Program must agree to the following:

  • Enter into an agreement with Spaceworks Tacoma regarding the program
  • Participate in Spaceworks’ 8-session business training program (3-hr sessions)
  • Participate in occasional Spaceworks events
  • Partner with Spaceworks to market and promote events and activities associated with your project

Participants can expect the following associated costs:

  • Program fee (sliding scale: $50 – $200 based on participant’s income level)
              Benefits include:

    • Small business training (8-sessions, 3 hours each. Classes start late-January)
    • Introductory 6-month membership to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
    • One consultation with a content expert of choice (attorney, accountant, etc.)
    • Marketing through Spaceworks’ website, FB, IG, enews, print & online maps
    • Space – rent free for 3 to 6 months (Acceptance into the Spaceworks program is not a guarantee that you will be placed in a space. We can only place as many projects as we have available spaces.)
    • Simple vinyl signage for your store windows
    • A modest tenant improvement budget for health & safety issues and minor upgrades

For participants that get a space:

  • Utilities ($50 – $200/mo depending on the space)
  • General liability insurance (~$50/mo depending on the space)
  • Damage deposit of $250 (refundable)
  • Space upgrades based on your preference and your budget
  • City of Tacoma business license ($90/annually)
  • State of Washington business license ($19)

 Once in a space, participants must agree to the following:

  • Present destination quality product and/or service
  • Create an enticing visual display for passersby
  • Pay for utilities for your space
  • Have/obtain a General Liability insurance policy
  • Have/obtain the appropriate City of Tacoma and State of Washington business licenses and permits, as well as a federal DUNS number
  • Be willing to relocate or give up the space if the property owner finds a permanent tenant within the negotiated time frame
  • Leave the space in the same or better condition if/when you move out
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws

About the Spaces, Locations, and Timeline

Spaceworks Tacoma relies on willing property owners to provide space and Spaceworks actively recruits space partners with viable locations for the proposed projects. Spaces vary in size and amenities; selected individuals/groups will be paired with an appropriate space for their proposal when the project is deemed ready. Many approved projects wait six to nine months before a space is identified for them.

Spaceworks has secured space primarily in downtown and the Hilltop neighborhood over the past five years and will continue to work in these areas. We are also encouraging business ideas for the Lincoln district. These are our focus areas during 2016.

Spaceworks reserves the right to pair selected individuals/groups with spaces at its discretion. Available spaces can be raw and windows often will have active “For Lease” signs, which cannot be moved. Participants will be required to provide all furniture and, in some cases, fixtures.

Selection Criteria
Up to 12 businesses will be selected based on the criteria listed below. The review process is competitive and the panel will be looking for a diversity of projects.

  • Quality of product or service or artwork as exhibited in the work sample
  • Feasibility of the business
  • Ability to execute proposal
  • Ingenuity and strength of concept/proposal
  • Benefit to the community and appropriateness for the public realm
  • Readiness of the business to be placed in a space
  • Potential that the business will stabilize
  • Ability to create a destination-quality business or to engage the community including passers-by (if applicable)

Selection Process
Creative Enterprise applications are reviewed by a panel including Spaceworks’ Steering Committee members and Spaceworks’ Alumni. Notification will occur in late December.



  • Digital images, videos, audio files, brochures, etc. that demonstrate the applicant’s past work and/or products and/or services you would provide/produce in a space.
    File Format: Submit only “High” quality JPEG files (do not use GIF, TIFF, or other formats.) Do not embed the images into PowerPoint or submit moving image or audio files.
    Image Size: Images must be 72 ppi resolution and 1000 pixels max on the largest side.
    File Size: Files must be less than 2 MB each
    File Labeling: Files must be titled with the applicant’s name followed by a number indicating the viewing order. Use a “0” in front of single digit numbers and use only letters, numbers, and underscores. For example: Smith_01.jpg; Smith_02.jpg. If using Mac OS 8 or later, be sure to include a “.jpg” extension at the end of each image title.
    File Upload: In the application, please upload your images in the order to be viewed.
  • AND/OR up to three Online Videos of the applicant’s past public interactions
    o Please provide the exact web address(es) where the online videos can be viewed. The panel will view a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 3 minutes of each video.

Provide the following information on the online application form for each image:

  • Title of each work represented in the image or activity depicted
  • Media & dimensions (H x W x D”), if applicable, or description of activity
  • If work is presented as part of a collaboration, explain your role in the larger project

RESUME (three pages or less)

  • If submitting as a team/group, a current resume should be submitted for the contact person and all relevant team/group members
  • File Format: Save as .pdf, 1 MB or less.
  • File Labeling: Name your resume file with your last name like this: “Smith_ Resume.pdf”

BUDGET (one page or less)
Please outline a projected 12-month budget, including income and expenses and capital (equipment) needs, for the launch of your creative enterprise. Essentially, let us know what resources you need to start your business and where you expect revenue to come from. Please use our budget template (pdf) or contact staff if you would like to use our sample budget in Excel. If you are new to budgets, check out this budget example.

  • File Format: Save as .pdf, 1 MB or less.
  • File Labeling: Name your budget file with your last name like this: “Smith_Budget.pdf”

Please submit any supplemental materials that can help describe your project, including your business plan, marketing materials, sample program calendar, press release, etc. Submit .pdf documents (3 MB max.)

PROPOSAL (Answer the following questions)
We are looking for a clear idea of your creative enterprise and your ability to successfully implement it. Be as concise as possible.

  1. Creative Enterprise Title: What is the name, or title, of your proposed enterprise?
  2. Creative Enterprise Description: Explain your proposed creative enterprise. (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  3. History: Tell us about your background or the background of your group or organization. Please describe, in detail, a successful project that you or your group has completed. (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  4. Organizational Impact: Why are you/your group in a good place to take advantage of the Creative Enterprise Program? (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  5. Timeline: Please describe a general timeline for your project from planning to implementation. What are the steps that you’ll need to take in order to realize your vision and when will they occur? (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  6. Goals: What are your goals 3 months after moving into a space? What are your goals 6 months after moving into a space? How will you achieve those goals? (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  7. Space: What would a space allow you to do that you can’t already do? In other words, why do you need a space, and how will it help further your artistic or professional life?  (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  8. Finances: What will be your three largest expenses? What will be your three largest income sources? How much rent do you think your project could realistically afford after 6 months? How much can you afford for rent each month, including utilities, insurance, etc? How much rent do you think your enterprise could realistically afford after 6 months, including utilities, insurance, etc? (200 words or less/1200 characters or less)
  9. Space: How many square feet would be ideal for your enterprise? If your enterprise is already underway, say in your basement, how many square feet are you currently using? What amenities are required for your enterprise to succeed? Which areas of Tacoma could you locate your Creative Enterprise? Which would you prefer?
  10. Community Benefit: How would your project benefit the Tacoma community? What would the public see and experience? If you have specific ideas about outreach, marketing, special events, etc. related to your project, include those here. (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  11. Collaboration: Will you collaborate with other artists, businesses, or community groups?  If so, please name these groups, and explain the collaboration. (200 words/1200 characters or less)
  12. Other Support: Are you currently receiving support from other supporters or funders, for example: The City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Artist Trust, MDC, SCORE, etc? If so, please describe your relationship or what support you are receiving (grants, technical assistance, membership, etc.)

Spaceworks will be sharing information about our Creative Enterprise Program at upcoming Information Sessions and during Office Hours. Whether you are just thinking about applying, or you’ve started the application and have questions, join us to get your questions answered. Click here for the workshop schedule and a link to sign up for Office Hours.

Click here to start the online application.

Questions? Contact Spaceworks Creative Enterprise Coordinator, Gwen Kohl at 253.682.1741 or


2 Responses to “Apply to Creative Enterprises”


  1. Applications Now Available! | Spaceworks Tacoma - May 7, 2013

    […] Apply to Creative Enterprises […]

  2. Creative Enterprise in Tacoma | Spaceworks Tacoma - June 5, 2013

    […] Apply to Creative Enterprises […]

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