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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 sometimes 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 August 2017 and pitch a full business plan for review in November 2017. Spaceworks staff will help to launch these businesses in 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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

5:00-6:30 PM
Lincoln District Project Office
750 S. 38th St., Suite C
Tacoma, WA

Thursday, June 22, 2017

5:00-6:30 PM
Asia Pacific Cultural Center
4851 South Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409

Applications due June 29, 2017, by 9:00 AM

Office Hours:
Contact Creative Enterprise Coordinator, Gwen Kohl at 253.682.1740 or

Examples of creative enterprises:

Benefits of participation include:

  • Small business training
  • 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
  • Simple vinyl signage for your store windows

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
    • Tuesdays, 6-9pm, August – Nevember
    • Pitch completed business plan at Fish Tank
  • Participate in occasional Spaceworks events
  • Partner with Spaceworks to market and promote events and activities associated with your project

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:


  • 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.)
  • A modest tenant improvement budget for health & safety issues and minor upgrades


  • 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
  • Creativeness and innovativeness of the idea/concept
  • 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 July 2017.




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

  • Creative enterprise title: What is the name, or title, of your proposed enterprise?
  • Creative enterprise description:Explain your proposed creative enterprise. (200 words)
    • What makes your business innovative or creative? Spaceworks Creative Enterprises are unique, innovative, and contribute to Tacoma as a destination city. Please explain how your business or business idea fits in this niche. (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)
    • Who are your competitors? What businesses, located in Tacoma, will you be (or are currently) competing with for customers? Are there businesses outside of Tacoma you’ll be competing with? Who are they and where are they located? (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)
  • Collaboration:Will you collaborate with other artists, businesses, or community groups?  If so, please name these groups, and explain the collaboration. (200 words)
  • Other support:Are you currently receiving support from other supporters or funders? For example: The City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Artist Trust, MDC, SCORE, etc? If yes, please describe your relationship or what support you are receiving (money, technical assistance, membership, etc.) (200 words)
  • Finances:
    • What are your startup costs?  (100 words)
    • What will be your three largest expenses? (100 words)
    • What will be your three largest income sources? (100 words)
  • Space: 
    • Are you looking for commercial space?
    • What type of space do you need? (Choose Retail/Storefront, Studio/Workspace, or Office)
    • 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)
    • Which areas of Tacoma could you locate your Creative Enterprise? Which would you prefer? (choose from list in application)

Provide 6 WORK SAMPLESDigital images, videos, audio files, brochures, etc. that demonstrate the applicant’s past work and/or products and/or services you will provide/produce.

  • 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.

IF PROVIDING VIDEO OR AUDIO: Please provide the exact web address where the online videos can be viewed and the time segment for the panel to view. The panel will view 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)

Provide your most recent resume. 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). This document should show that you and any team members have relevant experience to execute your proposal.

  • Each resume should be 3 pages or less.
  • 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, as well as 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 feel free use our budget template (excel download), or use your own.  If you are new to budgets, check out this budget example (pdf).

  • Budget should be simple charts – two pages 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.)

submittable apply button
Questions? Contact Spaceworks Creative Enterprise Coordinator, Gwen Kohl at 253.682.1740 or

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