A woman standing in an art studio

The Arts Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate

The arts entrepreneurship graduate certificate is designed to help establish a creative business or organization. The certificate is achieved through a 4-course sequence of 7-week courses that can be completed entirely online.

To apply, click here.

Students who apply for this program are eligible for financial aid

Program Goals and Outcomes

The Arts Entrepreneurship certificate has five aims:

• To increase the infusion of arts entrepreneurship within the city of Memphis and beyond
• To provide the necessary tools to those looking to launch a new business or add a unique idea to an existing organization
• To provide students with direct experiences and relationship building with successful entrepreneurs
• To increase attention to the roles of diversity, equity, inclusivity, and social impact in the entrepreneurial process and community
• To provide the potential for funding entrepreneurial projects created and/or developed through the certificate

Mission Statement

This graduate certificate situates the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the intersection of creativity, artistic expression, and business acumen to usher in the next stage of big thinkers, dreamers, and doers in the city of Memphis and abroad. The certificate aims to support the development and articulation of startups, incubators, and other forms of entrepreneurship in order to build a creative community. We will give you the tools to live out your dreams.

Core Values

The certificate has a number of values that are the basis for the work done, both inside and outside the classroom. These values include strategic thinking, equity/inclusion/diversity, the social impact of entrepreneurship, tenacity, collaboration and community engagement, and a healthy dose of competition.

Meet the Arts Entrepreneurship Faculty

whitney hardy   Whitney Hardy has served as both an entrepreneurship non-profit executive and a for-profit founder. Before co-founding Hardy Beverages, Whitney fortified her strategic leadership and operational acumen alongside entrepreneurs in the Memphis start-up community. She is the founder of 3RDSPACE, an arts nonprofit focused on creatives, community, and economic development. At Hardy Beverages, Whitney builds a portfolio of CPG brands that supports play, wellness, and innovation alongside a data-driven sales strategy.
joe hanson   Dr. Josef Hanson is Assistant Professor of Music Education (Instrumental) and the Coordinator of Music Education in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. As a teacher, mentor, and scholar, he seeks unique ways to illuminate intersections between his two disciplinary passions, music education and arts entrepreneurship. Dr. Hanson teaches courses in instrumental music, research methods, and preparing new music faculty members, and serves a team of wonderful colleagues in facilitating undergraduate, online master's, and doctoral programs in music education. His research explores the role of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in creating more sustainable, equitable, and impactful models of music teaching and learning. 


Who is this certificate for? 

This certificate would be right for you if you are someone with a big idea, an exciting proposition, or a unique perspective on how to engage with the arts, and you need support in the logistics behind your ideas. It's also for you if you are looking to engage with the local arts community on a broader level, and want to be part of making better, more creative, more inclusive places for those big ideas. 

We welcome students who have an entrepreneurial spirit, an interest in problem solving, a willingness to learn the wide range of skills necessary for success, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels and stages of their work. This program is open both to applicants with Bachelor's degrees (pending acceptance by the Graduate School) and current U of M graduate students from a diversity of disciplines.

Certificate Coursework

The certificate will aim for an overarching understanding of and work within entrepreneurship, including the history, social impact, and ethics of this type of work; learning how to articulate a vision for a particular product or idea; developing a business model alongside knowledge of leadership and management development; learning how to best frame, market, and promote a product or idea; culminating in a formal pitch of the idea to potential investors and other entrepreneurs.

The certificate will require 12 hours of graduate coursework, and is constructed to be completed over the course of one academic year (August to May).

Course Descriptions

CCFA 7001: Arts Entrepreneurship I 

Historical and philosophical understanding of entrepreneurship in the arts; Developing a written
proposal for arts startup.

CCFA 7002: Arts Entrepreneurship II 

Developing a business model and marketing plan for an arts startup.

CCFA 7003: Arts Entrepreneurship III

Brand and product development for an arts startup.

CCFA 7004: Arts Entrepreneurship IV

Funding the arts startup and formally pitching the product.


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