2024 Spring Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative


“I’m learning so much and renewing my mindset… I’m transforming into a Creative Business Owner rather than a creative with a business.” – Claude Whitfield, Founder Backspinz Music Academy


Creatives in Charlotte are not only essential to our quality of life and our reputation, they are vital members of our local economy. As we’ve said many times, each individual creative is a small business. But, to thrive in a business town, both part-time and full-time creatives need business knowledge to help them chart the path forward.

Developed by Charlotte is Creative and with funds from Wells Fargo and Mecklenburg County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with support from Aspire Community Capital, Interact Studio and the Do Greater Foundation, the Creative Entrepreneurs Initiative (CEI) is a 10-week program held twice a year, that provides individuals with insight, tools, and access to subject-matter experts to develop and grow their creative businesses.

CEI Participants Receive:

  • 10 classes on topics ranging from project management, bookkeeping and legal structure, to marketing and storytelling
  • Increased social capital and networking opportunities
  • Promotion via Charlotte Is Creative’s media channels
  • A supportive and collaborative Alumni network
  • Access to learning materials to use after the class
  • $50 stipend to attend each class
  • $1,500 grant, upon successful completion of the CEI program, to enhance their creative business with equipment purchases, legal fees, infrastructure or towards a specific project, etc.

Please note: Cohort members will be expected to attend AT LEAST 7 of the 10 classes to receive their grant.

Class Topics Include: ⁣

  • ⁣Finance & Taxes
  • Pitching & Storytelling⁣
  • Goal Setting & Planning⁣
  • Legal Contracts & Entities
  • Business Communication⁣
  • Marketing & Public Relations⁣
  • Grant Writing & Proposal Creation

Who Should Apply?

We’re looking for artists and creatives with big ideas and a desire to hone entrepreneurial proficiency and build sustainable creative businesses. ⁣To be eligible, applicants must reside in Mecklenburg County and have a track record of previous work to share. Previous CEI cohort members are ineligible for this program.

Spring 2024 CEI Classes Schedule

January 22, 20245:00-8:00pm
January 29, 20246:00-8:30pm
February 5, 20246:30-8pm
February 12, 20246:30-8pm
February 26, 20246:30-8pm
March 4, 20246:00-8:30pm
March 11, 20246:30-8pm
March 18, 20246:30-8pm
March 25, 20246:30-8pm
April 8, 20245:00-8:00pm
April 15, 20245:00-8:00pm
April 22, 20246:30-8:30pm

Application Dates and Deadlines

Applications are now closed for the Fall 2023 cohort. Applications for the Spring 2024 cohort will open September 20.

  • Application Period: Sept 20 – Oct 13, 2023
  • Selected individuals notified: Nov 17, 2023
  • Spring 2024 CEI Sessions: January – April 2024 

Applications received after that point will not be eligible. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Information Session for Applicants

If you have questions about the application, we’re offering two ZOOM information sessions:

Applicants with questions should reach out to ceiprogram@charlotteiscreative.com.

Before You Apply

At Charlotte Is Creative, we want you to have the opportunity to complete a successful application! Prior to submitting this form, please review some resources we’ve compiled on the following topics:


2024 Spring CEI Cohort Application

Please enter your full name.(Required)
Are you a for-profit business or a legal non-profit?(Required)
Are you a full-time or part-time creative?(Required)
To be in this program, you must commit to participating in at least 7 of our 10 training classes (preferably all 10). Class sessions will range from 90 minutes to 3 hours in length, varying between 5-9pm, and you will be compensated for attending. Can you make 7 of the 10 dates below?(Required)
The class schedule for the Spring is: 1/22, 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/26, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22
Are you a Mecklenburg County resident?(Required)
To learn more about measurable goals, check out the deck from our past Creative Convo - "How to Set SMART Goals" here: https://www.charlotteiscreative.com/2023-open-classes/
Max. file size: 256 MB.
Max. file size: 256 MB.
What age group do you fall under?
What is your racial or ethnic identity? (select all that apply)
How do you describe your gender?

CEI Sponsors

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