Accelerator for Creative Business classes will be held every Saturday (except Memorial Day weekend) from 2 PM – 4 PM CST. The full 8-week schedule from May 4 - June 29 is crafted to provide creative business owners with the secrets to growth and success through carefully tailored content.


In the ArtUp Accelerator for Creative Business, we’ve tailored our pilot series to help creative business owners make art, make a difference, and make money too!

If you’ve been in business 1-3 years, this course will advance your business acumen as creative entrepreneurs from all disciplines-- including photographers, chefs, graphic designers, tattoo artists, classical and contemporary musicians, rappers, fashion designers, dancers, hair stylists, and more.

The 8-week series offers expertise from dynamic industry leaders across the country, including experts from the Rutgers Business School Newark Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. Participants can expect to learn robust techniques and strategies necessary to drive profits.

Ready to Register NOW?


Classes include:


  • Top action items to propel your success
  • Personal 1:1 pitch coaching
  • Legal contract and agreement templates
  • Strategies for generating revenue over the next 12-24 months
  • Renewed commitment to your wellness as a creative business owner
  • Networking opportunities with other creative entrepreneurs


The Accelerator for Creative Business pilot series registration fee is $199 for single individuals, and $350 for two business partners. A deposit of $50 secures your spot to participate. Payment plans are available.

    Full Registration Fee

    Deposit Fee

    *Complete payment due on Friday May 17, 2019


    Unless otherwise noted, all class meetings will be held at ArtUp, located inside the South Main Artspace Lofts at 138 St. Paul Ave. Memphis, TN 38126. Participants are welcome to join virtually. Please email to receive your personalized link!


    ACB Course Topic: Strategies, Priorities & Profits

    Lynier Richardson

    Executive Director, The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

    Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Management & Global Business

    Lyneir Richardson is the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University-Newark in Newark, NJ, where he leads capacity-building programs that have assisted over 400 entrepreneurs. He is also Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School, where his commitment to teaching, advising and coaching students intersects with his entrepreneurial experience and his passion for equitable economic

    Lyneir is also CEO of The Chicago TREND Corporation, a social enterprise startup working to stimulate, foster and invest in retail development to strengthen city neighborhoods. TREND was launched in 2017 with $7M of funding from two prestigious impact investors. By closing investment deals, securing additional funding and developing the firm’s project pipeline, Lyneir is leading TREND out of its pilot phase, with the goal for the firm to be profitable by the end of 2019. Lyneir has served as Chief Executive Officer of the primary economic development corporation in Newark, NJ, for two different mayoral administrations. He was Vice President of Urban Development at General Growth Properties, Inc. where he led the national initiative to bring quality shopping centers to ethnic neighborhoods in large U.S. cities. Early in his career, Lyneir founded his first company and was named a U.S. Small Business Administration "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" while in his 20s. Lyneir started his career as a corporate attorney at the First National Bank of Chicago.

    Lyneir graduated from Bradley University and the University of Chicago Law School. He serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, Equal Measure, New Growth Innovation Network, Newark Arts Council and the Cook County Land Bank. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Illinois Housing Development Authority Trust Fund Board and as a Commissioner on the Chicago Plan Commission.

    ACB Course Topic: Get Smart. Get Legal.

    Lee Rankin

    Founder and CEO of Lee Rankin Group (LRG)

    Lee Rankin is a dynamic attorney that marries legal expertise with industry savvy and a social conscience. With Lee at the helm, LRG has the unique capability to not only visualize your opportunity, but drive the strategy and finally, draft the deal.

    Armed with a desire to impact positive change, she uses her understanding of the nuances of governance and public affairs to advise on the approach that will help build connection with influencers and constituents. Her background in music enables her to also address the needs of talent, allowing the dexterity to broker deals and partnerships that serve their personal and professional goals.  No matter the client, LRG is poised to consult on a strategy that will result in a win for both the parties at the table, and the community at large.

    ACB Course Topic: Marketing Playbook: Online and Offline Strategies

    Elizabeth Cawein

    Founder and CEO, Signal Flow PR

    Elizabeth Cawein is a publicist, marketing and public relations strategist and music advocate. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Murray State University and an M.A. in contemporary music from Brunel University. She founded Signal Flow Public Relations, a boutique music publicity and marketing firm, in 2011 after discovering her passion for music publicity while working as communications and development coordinator for the Memphis Music Foundation.

    Her not-for-profit initiative Music Export Memphis leverages public and private support to function as an export office for Memphis music, creating opportunities for economic development through music and culture. Elizabeth has taught at the Stax Music Academy and Visible Music College and currently serves as an adjunct professor of music publicity at the University of Memphis. In 2015 she was honored by the British Council at its inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions, for her entrepreneurial work.

    She regularly consults and lectures on topics including the new music industry, how digital technology has shaped music economics, music publicity and marketing, social media strategy for music organizations, direct-to-fan marketing, entrepreneurial thinking in the arts, building audience, marketing strategy and more.

    ACB Course Topic: Make It Rain: Managing Your Cash & Revenue

    James E. Stokes

    Principal Consultant at Bass River Advisors, LLC

    He brings 35+ years of professional finance and management experience. As a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Municipal Finance Officer, James performs at high levels and standards in private, public, and government finance. James currently advises and engages entrepreneurs, non-profits, and venture-backed companies on strategy, operations, business development, and financial planning. He routinely leads training and development programs on finance and business.

    Prior to founding Bass River Advisors, James served as Deputy Finance Director for Tennessee’s largest municipality, Memphis. His career has included key roles in finance and operations at Fortune 500 companies including FedEx (Memphis, TN), Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY), Illinois Tool Works (Boston, MA) and Resources Global Professionals (Boston, MA). While at Corning Incorporated, James and his colleagues were featured in a Harvard Business Review case study. He also serves on the ArtUp Advisory Council.

    ACB Course Topic: Design Thinking Around Your Customers

    Dr. Felicia L. Townsend

    FLT Communications, LLC

    Dr. Felicia L. Townsend is the founder of FLT Communications, LLC, which creates and markets publications and Professor Credo® motivational products. Professor Credo® was created in 2014 while Dr. Townsend was working on her dissertation. She took a coffee break and started to doodle an image of a whimsical character with flyaway hair, bold eyeglasses and colorful bow tie. She decided to use this charming character to motivate others to reach their goals while bringing a smile to their face. Customers can choose from a host of products that include inspiring messages.

    In addition to being a creative entrepreneur, Dr. Townsend’s career expands over twenty years in the areas of marketing, communications, and higher education administration.

    Her diverse higher education career consists of roles as a director of corporate and community education at a public university, director of business and industry services at a community college, and as an assistant dean of recruitment, admissions, and marketing & director of the center for professional excellence at a private Catholic university, all in Illinois. Before launching her career in higher education, she held account management and director-level positions at an arts education organization and two Chicago-based newspapers.

    Dr. Townsend is the author of a self-published book titled, SpecialTopics Education: Lead the Way, which is a compilation of interviews with higher education leaders from across the United States.

    She served on several boards including WTTW Channel 11, NAGAP–The Association for Graduate and Enrollment Professionals, and the Community and Economic Development Association. Early in her career, she was appointed to serve as chair of the Business and Economic Development Committee for the 7th Illinois Congressional District.

    Dr. Townsend earned her doctorate (Ed.D.) in adult and continuing education from National Louis University, an M.B.A in marketing from the Illinois Institute of Technology, an M.Ed. in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.S. in marketing from DePaul University.

    She is a 2014 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges honoree and a Diversity MBA Magazine 2011 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Emerging Leaders honoree. In her spare time, Dr. Townsend finds time to relax by attending theatrical performances and painting abstracts.

    ACB Course Topic: Ready. Set. Pitch.

    Kimberlee Williams 


    Kimberlee Williams is at the forefront of communities becoming engines of an economy that works for all. She is an innovator with an eye for vast visions and unique solutions. Over the course of a two-decade illustrious career, Kimberlee has developed a deep network of meaningful connections across different sectors that she draws upon to help people and businesses connect with one another.

    A member of the inaugural TED Residency and Founding Curator of Newark Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum, Kimberlee embodies boundless energy and enthusiasm, and a powerful sense of commitment to the projects she accepts and to the organizations she collaborates with. As CEO and Chief Marketing Strategist at FEMWORKS, she has perfected the balance of marketing and innovation needed to ignite creativity and add value through authentic connection and community engagement.

    A Senior Fellow at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Kimberlee is consciously a community builder; she has launched small business advocacy organizations; Forward Ever Sustainable Business Alliance and New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce. As a result, she was recognized by her peers with the 2014 New Jersey Social Entrepreneur of the Year at Rutgers Business School 1st Annual Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony. Her continued efforts to leverage the power of global networks to shape projects and places in ways that transform metropolitan areas, embed technology and bring to life underutilized urban areas goes unparalleled.

    Proudly extending her leadership acuity to her community as Senior Entrepreneur in Residence of the Newark Business Hub in 2016, a program of Rutgers Business School Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Kimberlee continues to lay the foundation for an ongoing conversation about how to equip entrepreneurs of distressed urban areas with the skills they need to expand, as well as to create an environment conducive to their success.

    ACB Course Topic: Your Wellness, Your Business

    Deborah Howard

    Founder and CEO, Guiding Change Consulting, Inc.

    Deborah Howard, Esq., M.S.O.D., founder and President of Guiding Change Consulting, Inc., is a leading organizational consultant, professional certified coach, and author who previously worked as a public interest lawyer.  She brings intercultural insight and a passion for social justice to her work as a change catalyst — helping leaders and their teams access their inner wisdom and tap into their creativity, passion and potential to bring about desired changes in themselves, their organizations and the world.

    Deborah is a member and former board member of the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, author of Repairing the Quilt of Humanity: A Metaphor for Healing and Reparation and Mystery of Memory: Telling My Truth, Standing My Ground, and serves on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science (JABS).

    Her work with organizational leaders and teams includes:

    • Coaching leaders to live and work in alignment with their purpose and values, enabling them to re-ignite passion and bring out the best in themselves and others
    • Working with team members to strengthen their relationships and collaborate creatively across differences
    • Enabling leaders to make strategic decisions to overcome challenges, manage change and fulfill their organizational missions

    In her prior career as a lawyer in high-level positions across sectors, Deborah was motivated to use the law to help create positive social change. She began to see how she could make a greater difference — and fuller use of her skills and talents — helping organizations develop work environments that are inclusive and just. This led her to earn a master’s degree in organization development from American University/NTL after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the Northeastern University School of Law.

    Previously, Deborah worked for the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute as Director of the Law School Consortium Project, where her focus was supporting law schools and solo practitioners to meet the legal needs of low and moderate-income communities. This experience gave her insight into the challenges non-profits face in accomplishing important organizational missions with limited resources.  Earlier, Deborah was Director of Career Services at New York Law School, where she focused on helping graduates of color and first generation law school graduates gain access to and succeed in the legal profession.

    In the public sector, Deborah served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York Department of Law, and was an Assistant Attorney General for Alaska’s Office of the Attorney General. She also worked in private practice in Washington, D.C.

    Deborah’s experience also includes having lived, studied, and worked in Japan as well as working in Singapore and India.  While an undergraduate majoring in East Asian Studies, she spent a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, where she studied Japanese language and culture, also earning her black belt in Judo.  She returned to Japan later, after practicing law in Alaska, to study law for a year and a half at Doshisha University in Kyoto, through a fellowship awarded by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

    ACB Course Topic: Marrying Purpose & Profits

    Jeff Billingsley

    CEO, Cobblestone Multimedia

    Jeff Billingsley is CEO of Cobblestone Multimedia, an Independent Multimedia Company that is comprised of a music, film & television production group, casting agency, and a professional recording studio located in Newark, NJ. He currently stands at the helm of several vocational apprenticeship programs for young people in partnership with Rutgers TEEM Gateway, Essex County College, Ironbound Film Studios, and the prestigious Berklee College of Music of Boston MA, “Berklee City Music Network Member”, a program that prepares youth for professional music & film scholarships/opportunities. He is a member of The Quincy Jones Music Consortium, ASCAP and BMI through Cobblestone Music Publishing.

    Class Descriptions

    Strategies, Priorities, and Profits

    This class will be a robust discussion of what types of revenue generation strategies could be right for your business increasing profit in your business within the next 12-24 months. We will take a look at all the ways creative businesses make money, such as how you can think strategically about pricing for online and offline sales. We will talk about best practices in filling out forms and applications for grants, loans, subsidiary ventures, and other forms of business support. Emphasis will be placed on how to learn from successes and mistakes as you streamline future revenue streams.

    Get Smart. Get Legal.

    Business structures, implementing contracts, and protecting your intellectual assets are the key components of a perfect legal game. In this ACB class, you will learn how to determine the best legal structure for your creative business. What legal paperwork needs to be done to declare your creative business type or status? Implementing contracts is key to keeping you in the clear. In this course, we discuss the right paperwork, components of a sound contract for your creative business, and templates needed to close the deal and get your money. Setting up licensing and copyright agreements will also be covered.

    Marketing Playbook: Online and Offline Strategies

    In this session, participants will learn how to determine the best forms of social media for their creative business, including how to differentiate from their personal and business accounts. How much of a web presence do you really need? Are there times you should take your marketing offline? Who should manage your social media and online presence? How is your business social conscience reflected in your social media? We will discuss the answers to these questions as well as what it means to take stands on social and political issues. You will leave with insights on what you should be posting, and how to keep your marketing plan tight.

    Make It Rain: Managing Your Cash & Revenue

    This session will teach creative businesses owners what they need to know about accounting, budgeting, taxes, and financial planning.

    Design Thinking Around Your Customers

    The experience you give your various audiences is at the heart of your creative business. This discussion will explore how to think like your customers, investors, and people you serve so that you can take their needs into consideration as you build your business. We will do hands-on work to identify your audiences' needs and learn to apply design thinking to your work as you build the next level of your creative business. How do you address needs in your audiences that you can't easily meet? You will learn from and help your fellow participants as you learn more about this way to look at the products and services you provide as a creative business.

    Ready. Set. Pitch

    This class is designed for entrepreneurs that desire to effectively communicate with investors, grant makers and other strategic audiences. The customized 1:1 coaching session assess where you are now and help you to define your priority audiences. During the session you will learn how to convey your unique value proposition (social impact, equity, inclusion) in a way that is conversational and highly specific to who you are talking to. The technics you will learn can be used on the elevator, at networking events, or formal business environments.

    Your Wellness, Your Business

    Pursuing your creative business can take over your life if you’re not careful. You love what you do, but sometimes things can get overwhelming. This course will teach you effective strategies for managing stress levels and the art of prioritizing self-care as a creative professional.  

    Marrying Purpose & Profits

    Creative Social Entrepreneurs will be encouraged to use innovative, sustainable, and profitable business entities, social impact organizations, and anchor institutions as their collaborative partners for creating long-term change and growth. This wrap-up session will revisit topics such as:
    - Social entrepreneurship defined
    - Knowing your worth as a creative business owner
    - Strategic planning
    - The power of collaboration
    - Social media marketing
    - Profitability and sustainability