Apply to Creative Enterprise


Applications for Fall 2017 round will open first week of May. please subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date: Spaceworks Newsletter

Creative Enterprise Tier I – APPLICATION GUIDELINES

Creative Enterprise Tier I includes a 14-week training program.

Start a Small Business in Tacoma

Spaceworks invites entrepreneurs with a creative/innovative business or business idea that benefits Tacoma’s community and who are seeking to grow a thriving business to apply to participate in our Creative Enterprise Tier I program.

Spaceworks’ Creative Enterprise Tier I 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 Creative Enterprise Tier I with the training program in February 2017 and pitch a full business plan for review in May 2017. Spaceworks staff will help to launch these businesses to the streets of Tacoma.

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.

Information Sessions & Office Hours

Spaceworks will be sharing information about our Creative Enterprise Tier I 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.

Information sessions will be scheduled in May and June 2017

You can also schedule individual Office Hours during next application process with Creative Enterprise Coordinator, Gwen Kohl at 253.682.1740 or

Examples of possible creative enterprises:

  • 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 of Creative Enterprise Tier I must agree to the following:

  • Enter into an agreement with Spaceworks Tacoma regarding the program
  • Participate in Spaceworks’ business training program (6-9 PM every Tuesday from February – May 2017)
  • Participate in occasional Spaceworks events
  • Partner with Spaceworks to market and promote events and activities associated with your project

Benefits include:

  • Small business training (6-9 PM every Tuesday from February – May 2017)
  • Participation in our coaching program
  • Introductory 6-month membership to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
  • 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

Participants can expect the following associated costs:

  • Creative Enterprise program fee (sliding scale: $50 – $200 based on participant’s income level)

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 in the past and will continue to work in these areas. We are also encouraging business ideas for the Lincoln district and South Tacoma. These are our focus areas during 2017.

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.



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 Tier I applications are reviewed by a panel including Spaceworks’ Steering Committee members and Spaceworks’ Alumni. Notification will occur in late January 2017.




We are looking for a clear idea of your creative enterprise and your ability to successfully implement it. Be as concise as possible.

  • Creative enterprise title: What is the name, or title, of your proposed enterprise?
  • Creative enterprise description: Explain your proposed creative enterprise. (200 words)
  • 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)
  • Organizational impact: Why are you/your group in a good place to take advantage of the Creative Enterprise Program? (200 words)
  • 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)
  • Obstacles: What’s holding you back from launching or growing your enterprise today? (200 words)
  • 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)
  • 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.) (200 words)
  • Finances:
    • What are your startup expenses?  (100 words)
    • What will be your three largest expenses? (100 words)
    • What will be your three largest income sources? (100 words)
  • Collaboration: Will you collaborate with other artists, businesses, or community groups?  If so, please name these groups, and explain the collaboration. (200 words)
  • Space: Are you looking for commercial 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)
    • How many square feet would be ideal for your enterprise? (choose from list in application)
    • If your enterprise is already underway, say in your basement, how many square feet are you currently using? (choose from list in application)
    • What amenities are required for your enterprise to succeed? (choose from list in application)
    • Which areas of Tacoma could you locate your Creative Enterprise? Which would you prefer? (choose from list in application)
    • How much can you afford for rent each month, including utilities, insurance, etc? (choose from list in application)
    • How much rent do you think your enterprise could realistically afford after 6 months, including utilities, insurance, etc? (choose from list in application)


  • 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.

Work Sample Descriptions
Provide the following information on the online application form for each sample:

  • Title of the sample.
  • Description of the sample. Include dimensions if applicable. If work is presented as part of a collaboration, explain your role in the larger project. (50 words)


  • Each resume should be 3 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. (3 attachments max)
  • File Format: Save as .pdf, 1 MB or less.
  • File Labeling: Name your resume file with your last name like this: “Smith_ Resume.pdf”


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.

  • One page or less.
  • 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.)
Questions? Contact Spaceworks Creative Enterprise Coordinator, Gwen Kohl at 253.682.1740 or

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