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

The six-week focus areas include:

  • Week 1 and 2: (Where have you been?) Participants will gain a better understanding of the current condition of their creative businesses through facilitated SWOT analysis and a deeper dive into their financial documents.
  • Week 3 and 4: (Where will you go?) Participants will leverage the self-assessment to thoughtfully consider opportunities on the horizon and create realistic and systematic approaches to go from possibility overload to progress making.
  • Week 5: (How do you get there?) 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 6: (What is your road map?) Participants will pitch their Next Leap plan to a team of expert and engaged panelists from the regional creative economy and will gain final insights on how to make success happen in the following six months and beyond.

Importants Dates

Application Period Timeline:

  • August 17: Application Open
  • September 9: Virtual Information Session
  • September 17: Application Close
  • September 28: Notice of Acceptance to the Program

Application Questions Preview

Application Platform User Guide

Program Timeline (Virtual Session from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.):

  • October 5: Orientation
  • October 7: SWOT, Customer & Competitor Analysis
  • October 14: Understanding the Health of Your Business
  • October 21: Identifying Growth Opportunities
  • October 28: Unpacking and Using Financial Projections
  • November 4: Pitch and Plan Preparation
  • November 9-13: Break & Pitch Preparation Week
  • November 18: Pitch Presentation & Graduation

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
CBA Business Support and Impact Specialist

412 201 2450 x 136 | Email