Rachel Greenwald has joined the Etsy team as manager of the Craft Entrepreneurship Program, having previously worked at a non-profit helping small business owners access financing and education.
Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Chelsea Clinton spoke today about what “Technology’s Transformative Value” has to do with entrepreneurship and empowerment, and Chad shared that Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship is expanding to three new cities.
At Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored in New York, Chad told Chelsea that Etsy is working with partners in Newark, NJ; Watsonville, CA; and Dallas, TX, to offer Craft Entrepreneurship classes to low-income makers in each of these cities and guide them in turning their craft skills into supplemental income.
“We’re in a new era, where business is expected to play more of a social role. [Etsy is] being active in our communities in a way that makes a real impact and takes that into account,” said Chad. “It’s really the cooperation of government and business in a new way that can drive things forward.”
“I think we’re all better off when there are collaborative, cooperative relationships between business and government,” said Chelsea.
In addition to these new partners, Craft Entrepreneurship is also scaling in Rockford and New York. Here’s the full update!
Craft Entrepreneurship Goes Coast to Coast
Newark has been struggling for years with high poverty rates and an average household income that lags behind other New Jersey cities, but as Emily Manz from local non-profit Brick City Development Corporation (BCDC) explained, Newark’s story is one not of despair, but of revitalization and opportunity. The city has “a homegrown artistic and craft community that has so much potential,” explained local Etsy seller Nicole Poko.
“The technology sector is growing in Newark, and we are focusing on initiatives to assist Newark residents in all fields to leverage technology to create economic opportunity. Craft Entrepreneurship is a great example of this,” Emily said. We’re very excited to be partnering with BCDC to bring the Craft Entrepreneurship program to Newark this spring.
On the other side of the country, Watsonville, an agricultural town on the Central California coast, is facing a different set of economic challenges. With high unemployment and seasonal agricultural workers, the Watsonville community could benefit from supplemental income. The County of Santa Cruz, where Watsonville is located, has a vibrant arts community, and county officials at the Central Coast Small Business Development Center saw an opportunity to leverage Craft Entrepreneurship training as a way to bridge the county’s arts scene with the needs of its low-income residents.
Down south in Texas, our partners at the Office of Economic Development and the Dallas Public Library have been developing innovative programs for the city’s underserved communities, focused on entrepreneurial and workforce training. They are unveiling the Sammons Small Business Center in June and are eager to add Craft Entrepreneurship classes as a critical resource in this Center for low-income residents in Dallas. “This aligns so well with our mission to support grassroots economic development,” explained Jo Giudice, Director of the Dallas Public Library.
Scaling the Impact
After our successful pilot programs in Rockford and New York City at the end of last year, our partners in both cities have committed to scaling the program to a larger audience this year.
In New York City, the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) secured a grant from Citi Community Development, which is allowing SBS to scale the program to reach each of the five boroughs this year and translate the curriculum into multiple languages. SBS hopes to reach 500 students by the end of the year.
Rockford is launching its next round of classes through the Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) in May, and in the meantime, RHA is working with local Etsy seller and Craft Entrepreneurship instructor Christopher Bernd, to offer classes where program alumni can get extra support to refine their products and learn new skills. You can see some of the work from program alumni in New York and Rockford and share your support on Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship Page.
We’re continuing to scale the program with current partners and bring new pilot partner cities on board, and we remain committed to making this program open source and available to interested cities by the end of 2014. Some of you have already reached out to us with interest in bringing the program to your city — we’re excited to work with you soon.
If you are an Etsy seller or represent a community organization and are interested in seeing Craft Entrepreneurship where you live, please drop us a line.