Tacoma’s Spaceworks program has received a $100,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, for use toward its Creative Business Strategic Growth Plan.
The monies, according to Spaceworks manager Heather Joy, will allow the program to develop a five-year strategic plan, which will be completed in late summer.
“We’ve been cultivating that relationship with [JPMorgan Chase Foundation] for several years,” Joy said, “and finally, we were at the right place to get that type of grant from them. They’re interested in supporting entrepreneurship and small business, so it was a really good fit for what we’re doing.”
Spaceworks, a joint initiative kicked off in 2010 by the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, connects vacant spaces in Tacoma with business owners focused on art and creative enterprise. With many of the businesses it has helped launch now past their infancy, Joy said that the Chase grant funds will also be put toward services to help them continue to progress.
“We want to take our Creative Enterprise Program to the next level to help our existing alumni businesses,” said Joy. “We’re working with our handful of our businesses who have been around for a year or several years. We have such a great roster of businesses here in town. We want to help keep them here and strong.”
Spaceworks intends to launch a pilot “Tier II” program in April to supplement the current training program for new or recently formed businesses. This new program would be geared toward helping alumni businesses expand, develop new products, figure out new marketing angles and clear other growth hurdles.
Joy said that when the Tier II program starts, Spaceworks will work with “some or all” of the following alumni businesses: Tease Chocolates, Birdloft, The Blue Octopus, eTc, The Tshirt Men, Arts & Crafts Press, Kiddos & Kin, Side x Side Creative, Write@253, Tikertopia and Grit City Grindhouse.