Schatz joins in introducing bill to support creative workers, small businesses

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) joined college John Cornyn (R-Texas) today in introducing the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy Act or CREATE Act.

The bipartisan legislation is aimed at supporting small businesses in creative industries by increasing access to federal resources to help them grow.

“Local artists, writers, performers, and the creative industry they support play a leading role in our economy and our everyday lives. As the creative economy begins to rebuild from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to make key federal investments that will create new jobs and help the industry reach its full potential,” said Senator Schatz.

The creative economy includes businesses focused on individual creativity, skill, talent, or expression of indigenous culture or regional or local heritage culture. These businesses collectively add $919.7 billion annually to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, with a growth rate nearly double the rest of the economy.

The recent growth of the creative economy has occurred despite federal small business and economic development policies largely ignoring the needs of the industry. The CREATE Act will offer direct, concrete support to these businesses. Specifically, the CREATE Act:

  • Expands the Microloan Program qualifications to include artists and arts entrepreneurs, or small businesses, that support the creative economy;
  • Provides support to state, regional, and local art agencies, artists, and creative workers through traditional economic development tools;
  • Directs the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop procedures on evaluating the business proposals and plans of non-employer business and small businesses within the creative economy; 
  • Tasks the SBA with partnering with relevant stakeholders to develop a technical assistance program that targets the specific needs of artists and arts entrepreneurs; and
  • Establishes a program to examine helping local arts agencies and nonprofits with planning grants.

The CREATE Act has been endorsed by more than 400 organizations including Etsy, Get Creative Workers Working Coalition, Department for Professional Employees AFL-CIO, Hawai‘i Arts Alliance, American Planning Association, Be An #ArtsHero/Arts Workers United, the Performing Arts Alliance, Americans for the Arts, the National Association of Music Merchants, Grantmakers in the Arts, the Freelancers Union, the American Planning Association, the National Alliance of Economic and Community Development Associations, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and Transportation 4 America/SmartGrowth America.

Companion legislation in the US House of Representatives has been introduced by US Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).

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