Past Next Leap Participants

Application Now Closed

The Next Leap application will open in the Spring of 2023

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

Next Leap applications are submitted through the  F6S platform. We use F6S because its online community and application portal connect founders to more than 16,000 of the world’s top startup programs.

If this is your first time using F6S, you’ll be prompted to create an account for yourself and your company. Once you’ve created your account or signed in, you’ll be directed to the application page. Your application autosaves periodically, and you can come back to it to make changes until the submission deadline.

Through F6S you can message our team, receive notifications about your application, and access other entrepreneurial resources. Questions? Contact Katie Johnson at

F6S Instructions

PDF of Next Leap Application

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, northern West Virginia, and eastern Ohio
  • 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


Session Dates:

Sessions are virtual and run 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Week 1 | June 8 | Orientation
  • Week 2 | June 15 | Session 1 | Programming
  • Week 3 | June 22 | Session 2 | Programming
  • Week 4 | June 27 to July 1 | Study Week/Company Meetup
  • Week 5 | July 6 | Session 3 | Programming
  • Week 6 | July 13 | Session 4 | Programming
  • Week 7 | July 18 to July 22 | Study Week/ Company Meetup
  • Week 8 | July 27 | Session 5 | Practice Presentation
  • Week 9 | August 1 to August 5 | Practice Week
  • Week 10 | August 10 | Session 6 | Final Plan Presentation

Key Dates:

  • March 28 to May 6 | Application Period
  • April 20| Information Session
  • June 1 | Cohort Announced
  • June 8 | Orientation (Phase 1 Starts)
  • August 10 | Plan Presentations (Phase 2 Starts)
  • Feb. 1, 2023 | 2022 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.

Through Next Leap, creative businesses address tough challenges hindering their growth and work to adapt their business practices to overcome those challenges. They also build on their strengths to chart exciting new pathways forward. Learn more about each cohort that participated in Next Leap.

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. Still have questions?

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