I’ve spent time with Erin Dean, Program Manager of Creative Saskatchewan, discussing the opportunities available. I think many of you can take advantage of the programs, and I want to encourage you to try. If you have any questions, the Creative Saskatchewan staff is ready to assist you. Contact Erin at: 306.798.3076 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I may also be able to answer some questions for you.
The application process takes some work, but if you qualify you will receive 50% of your costs. It’s a non-repayable investment in you and our sector.
The grants are for projects – not your day-to-day operations. Projects can be wide in scope, and can last more than one year; the important element is that they have a defined beginning and ending. You must also have objectives that you are attempting to accomplish, and you must be able to define, measure and report on your success. Remember that Creative Saskatchewan is investing in you because they want to see a growth in economic impact of Fine Craft in Saskatchewan. These grants are also NOT for the development of your skill as an artist. You need to go to the Saskatchewan Arts Board to get assistance with that side of your craft. Instead these grants are designed to strengthen your capacity for success in the business of craft.
There are five different grant applications that apply to Fine Craft.
- Creative Industries Production Grant
- Market & Export Development Grant
- Business Capacity Grant
- Research Grant
- Market Travel Grant
So which is the right one(s) for you? Be sure to click on the grants above to get all the details on the Creative Saskatchewan website. But, I’ve got some extra advice for you below. (You can apply for more than one.)
Apply to the Creative Industries Production Grant if you have a refined practice and you’re ready or already producing for sale. This is a great grant because it allows you to apply for 50% of your costs and labour (be reasonable here) in order to get craft ready for market. Your project might be getting product ready for the 2015 Market season. Or it can be producing a new line for Christmas that you will get into retail spaces. This grant is about producing your craft for SALE. You can get money to help you offset 50% of the costs that you are spending to get your product made. And it’s not a loan. You need to make sure your costs are authentic, that you can demonstrate your market, and that you can clearly measure your results.
Apply to the Market & Export Development Grant to develop marketing tools that support your marketing strategy. Remember that this must also be project-centred and focused on revenue generation. Look at the different streams you have that earn you revenue, and how you can grow one or all of them. What does your marketing strategy (even the one you have in your head) tell you about your revenue streams? Which one(s) do you want to focus on and how? What do you need to reach your target audience or to create a new one? Define what you want to do, explain it well, derive your budget, and describe how you’ll measure success, and voilà it’s done.
Apply to the Business Capacity Grant to strengthen your business. If you have a project of creating product for the upcoming Market season, and you want to double your output, you may need to hire an apprentice to help you achieve that goal. Fifty percent of your apprentice’s salary can be paid through this grant. If you want to purchase software so that you can manage your customers more effectively during Market season, this grant may help you. This grant is for those one of a kind expenses that help you strengthen or develop aspects of your business.
Apply to the Research Grant for support to craft industry-based research, and market intelligence projects. This research must provide new understanding to the development of markets that will benefit our sector. It can be focused on a sub-sector of craft, but it must be market-driven.
Apply to the Market Travel Grant to get to places that will help you expand your market or to get to recognized events where you can demonstrate that you will make important contacts, or develop sales.
Don’t delay. Just do it. Some grants are processed within 4 to 6 weeks. Other grants are only processed twice each year. If you have an idea, call Erin Dean at Creative Saskatchewan. Give her your 30 second pitch and she’ll let you know if it’s a good fit. You can also call me, and I may be able to give you some advice.
These opportunities aren’t just for our crafts people – they are also for services related to our sector, such as retail venues, agents, commercial galleries, online venues, wholesalers.
Let me know your results – tell me your experiences. Creative Saskatchewan has asked for our input so that these programs can be strengthened. Your feedback will be invaluable to me.
Good luck to you,
Carmen Milenkovic, Executive Director