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Schatz, Cornyn Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Support Creative Small Businesses, Grow American Economy

CREATE Act Unlocks Federal Resources For Artists, Small Businesses In Creative Industries

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today introduced the Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy (CREATE) Act. The bipartisan legislation will support artists and 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 are vital to our economy and enrich our daily lives,” said Senator Schatz. “Unlocking federal resources for creatives will generate jobs and help the industry reach its full potential.”

“The world knows about the Lone Star State and our rich culture thanks to the creative Texans who have chronicled our way of life for hundreds of years,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would support the Texas writers, singers, artists, and arts entrepreneurs whose work helps drive our economy.”

The CREATE Act will offer direct support to artists and small businesses by:

  • Expanding the Microloan Program qualifications to include artists and arts entrepreneurs, or small businesses, that support the creative economy;
  • Providing support to state, regional, and local art agencies, artists, and creative workers through traditional economic development tools;
  • Directing 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;
  • Tasking the SBA with partnering with relevant stakeholders to develop a technical assistance program that targets the specific needs of artists and arts entrepreneurs; and
  • Establishing a program to examine helping local arts agencies and nonprofits with planning grants.

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.

“We’re excited to support the CREATE Act and its efforts to strengthen America’s creative economy through small business and economic development policy. In 2022, Etsy’s creative community added $13.5 billion to the U.S. economy by harnessing their creativity and bringing unique products to market. This bill has the potential to amplify their reach and the many positive benefits that come with it. We encourage Congress to pass this bill and continue to invest in the creative economy, helping to support the small businesses and artisans that power our communities,” said Angela Hooks, Senior Public Policy and Advocacy Manager, Etsy.

“Entrepreneurism, creativity, and passion are on the rise among creator communities across the country. These individuals and their creative businesses represent an increasingly important and fast growing component of the U.S. economy. As a company committed to advocating for creators, Patreon fully supports the CREATE Act. This bi-partisan legislation is focused on ensuring important and meaningful tools are made available to creators who are working to bring their passions to life, while driving significant revenue and economic opportunities in communities across the US. We appreciate and commend the efforts of Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Representatives Debbie Dingell (D- Michigan) and Jenniffer González-Colón (R- Puerto Rico) – for leading the effort to ensure that creators have access to tangible programs that can help them achieve their dreams,” said Laurent Crenshaw, Senior Director, Policy and External Affairs, Patreon.

"Arts Workers United is thrilled to see The CREATE Act being reintroduced to both the Senate and House with bipartisan support. By investing in the creativity of our creators and the vision of our visionaries, this legislation will empower America’s most exciting workforce– Arts Workers– to create and sustain new Arts-related businesses, stimulating local economies and strengthening communities in every state in our union,” said Carson Elrod, CEO, Arts Workers United.

“The creative economy is a vital source for innovative progress that touches every industry and offers an open and inclusive path for entrepreneurial opportunity. Tech tools and the emergent use of immersive technologies, including the growth of the metaverse, are empowering and fueling the creative class while enabling more rapid growth and uses of their innovative creations in the marketplace. The CREATE Act modernizes and expands existing small-business support systems and establishes pilot initiatives that will help to leverage the diverse creative energy that exists in every community across our nation. SBE Council strongly supports this bipartisan, forward-looking legislation to harness the vibrant power of American creators and entrepreneurial opportunities in the creative economy,” said Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and founder, The Metaverse Business Alliance.

The CREATE Act has been endorsed by more than 170 organizations including Esty, eBay, Patreon, The Recording Academy, Americans for the Arts, Arts Workers United, National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, League of American Orchestras, The Educational Theatre Association, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, OPERA America, Dance/USA, Western States Arts Federation, Inspire Washington, New England Foundation for the Arts, Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), and the Hawai‘i Arts Alliance.

Companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives has been introduced by U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico).