Short and Long Term Goals

Phase One – Build the Plan:

Ten weeks of intensive sessions to measure the strength of your creative business and target growth opportunities
  • Work with a team of business experts to “look under the hood” for your creative business to reveal hidden weaknesses and strengths
  • Develop an ambitious and data-driven plan to take your business and creative practices to a higher level
  • Define the operational and financial goals to move toward in Phase Two with ongoing CBA support

Phase Two – Start the Plan:

Six months of steady action to access capital, space, markets, peers, workforce, and guidance for growth
  • Partner with CBA team members and creative business coaches to make meaningful progress
  • Pursue the space, capital, and workforce needs to scale, sustain, and create social impact in your community
  • Tackle challenges and breakdown barriers holding your creative business back from success

In 2020, ten creative business addressed tough challenges facing their growth, including the COVID-19 pandemic. They also built on their strengths to chart exciting and adaptive pathways forward.

Click below to learn more about these top creative businesses and their plans for 2021 and beyond. Learn More

Applications Open

The application period for Next Leap will run from March 29, 2021 to April 29, 2021 with eligibility below.


Program Parameters


  • Identifies as an artist, maker, designer, craftsperson, and/or small-batch manufacturer *
  • Full-time business owner or aspires to be
  • ≥ 3 years of business operations
  • Located in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia
  • Participating or willing to participate in CBA

* Please visit for samples of creative business types that would likely realize the most success in the Next Leap Program.


  • Minority, women, and/or veteran-owned creative businesses
  • Creative businesses operating low to moderate income areas
  • Creative businesses with evidence of and/or aspirations for social impact
    • Creating quality jobs
    • Reactivating postindustrial spaces
    • Revitalizing Main Street corridors
    • Elevating underserved populations

Information Session

The info. session on April 13, 2021 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. will help potential applicants better understand the program.



Session Dates:

  • Sessions are virtual and run 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Week 1 | May 26, 2021 | Orientation
  • Week 2 | June 2, 2021 | Session 1 | Programming
  • Week 3 | June 9, 2021 | Session 2 | Programming
  • Week 4 | June 14 to June 18, 2021 | Study Week
  • Week 5 | June 23, 2021 | Session 3 | Programming
  • Week 6 | June 30, 2021 | Session 4 | Programming
  • Week 7 | July 5 to July 9, 2021 | Study Week
  • Week 8 | July 14, 2021 | Session 5 | Practice Presentation
  • Week 9 | July 19 to July 23, 2021 | Practice Week
  • Week 10 | July 28, 2021 | Session 6 | Final Plan Presentation

Key Dates:

  • March 29 to April 29, 2021 | Application Period
  • April 13, 2021 | Information Session
  • May 19, 2021 | Cohort Announced
  • May 26, 2021 | Orientation (Phase 1 Starts)
  • July 28, 2021 | Plan Presentations (Phase 2 Starts)
  • Feb. 1, 2022 | 2021 Next Leap Conclusion


The ten-week focus areas include:

  • Week 1: Participants will start to build the peer dynamic and gain a better understanding of the current condition of their creative businesses.
  • Week 2 and 3: Participants will leverage their SWOT assessments to thoughtfully consider opportunities on the horizon and create realistic and systematic approaches to go from possibility overload to progress making.
  • Week 4 and 5: Participants will target “next leap” opportunities that capitalize on their strengths and will map out the financial modeling needed to take the calculated risks to grow.
  • Week 5 and 6: Participants will synthesize their diagnostics and forecasting into a streamlined plan of action and will document their next steps in a pitch presentation to inspire their stakeholders and guide their future decisions.
  • Week 7 and 8: Participants will prepare and practice Next Leap plans and will gain final caching insights on how to make success happen in the following six months and beyond.
  • Week 9 and 10: Participants will present the a team of expert and engaged panelists one where they want to go in 3 to 5 years, and what steps it will take to get there.

Additional Support

Intensive business skill-building programs can be intimidating for even seasoned creative businesses. If you reviewed the tools and resources listed above and still require additional support, feel free to connect with Katie Johnson. The Next Leap Program helps ambitious creative business owners integrate sound entrepreneurship into their everyday practices. When more capable and confident, they better realize and sustain creative fulfillment, financial resilience, and social impact.

Katie Johnson
Associate Director of CBA

412 201 2450 x 136 | Email