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Craft Entrepreneurship Continues to Grow in the US and Internationally

Nov 18, 2015

by Graham Ashcraft

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

As we enter the holiday season, Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program is running full steam ahead in our quest to equip creative individuals from underserved communities with the means to start and run an online business. In fact, we’re growing, and we’re excited to announce that we’ve welcomed six new partner cities to the program, located throughout the US and in Australia and Canada. Soon, we’ll be hosting upcoming classes in Albany, Australia; Bozeman, MT; Helena, MT; Louisville, KY; Newark, NJ and Nunavut, Canada. To date, we’ve partnered with local organizations to provide Craft Entrepreneurship classes in 25 cities worldwide.

Albany, Australia

Etsy’s Western Australia Street Team is incredibly active in its community, volunteering at local pop-up markets and helping drive Australia’s #makeforgood initiative. Their stellar work prompted the Albany Public Library to reach out to the team, who in turn got in touch with Etsy to set up a collaboration with Craft Entrepreneurship. The combination of the port city’s emerging indigenous art scene and the team’s fantastic efforts resulted in this synergetic relationship.

Bozeman, MT

As one of the first Benefit Corporations in Montana, Human Scale Business shares Craft Entrepreneurship’s mission to deliver quality business education to the community. We’re excited to team up with an organization that focuses on serving entrepreneurs who want to make a living and lead fulfilling lives. We’re also deeply grateful to Montana State University’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship for donating their computer space to support this partnership.

Helena, MT

Lewis and Clark Library’s passion for educating its citizens and nurturing their artisanship makes it a great partner for the Craft Entrepreneurship program. Not only does the library serve those in Helena, but they also make their programming easily accessible to residents located in the rural areas nearby. The library offers a wide variety of forward-thinking tech courses, covering everything from basic blogging to online photo editing. The capital city’s library also supports local makers by providing access to a 3D printer.

Louisville, KY

Due to its reasonable cost of living and low sales tax, Louisville is a welcoming environment for small businesses. According to a recent Thumbtack survey, the Southern city ranks in the top five cities for small business friendliness nationwide. In recent years, the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement has been fostering this sentiment through initiatives such as awarding grants to small businesses. Louisville’s Economic Development Corporation, Louisville Forward, is making it even easier for independent creatives to get started by opening its doors to Craft Entrepreneurship.

Newark, NJ

We’re excited to be back in Newark, New Jersey, with a new partner: Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers University. With a mission to promote and foster a new generation of entrepreneurs and revitalize Newark, the center offers education that delivers real world experience in urban entrepreneurship and socio-economic development. This year, CUEED received the Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award for its Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative that helps small businesses in New Jersey grow, create jobs, and have a genuine economic impact.

Nunavut, Canada

Since 1998, the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association has worked with its community to strengthen the territory’s thriving arts and crafts sector. Nunavut’s Department of Cultural Industries and Economic Development brought Craft Entrepreneurship to Canada for the first time in August as part of NACA’s Nunavut Arts Festival. Aiming to unite and educate the region’s top artists, the festival was a natural fit for our workshop and a great way to showcase some of the amazing arts and crafts from local residents.

Bring on the Teachers

Working with more partners means we’ll need more teachers, so we’re thrilled to welcome eight excellent, seasoned Etsy sellers who are eager to share their knowledge with program participants.

“Being able to use my skills as an Etsy seller to help other artists whom I admire so much was a chance I jumped at!” says Christine Pensa of ArtThatMoves. “I felt each day with the artists in Nunavut was a gift and a new delight. The best thing was the privilege of meeting and getting to know other artists, learning about their journey and their stories, and keeping it in my heart.”

Thank You

We’d also like to thank our teachers and partners who have worked with us so far for joining us in this incredibly rewarding endeavor. Specifically, we want to give a shout out to Becky Garcia (dirtsastudio), Jordan McMullen (thistlethreaddesign), Amanda Crowson (primroseandpatches), Christine Pensa (ArtThatMoves), Kate Stevens (ceramicsnippets), Davina Farinola (fluidinkletterpress) and Sarah West (SimplySewFabric). Their extraordinary work ethic and hard-earned knowledge is vital to keeping Craft Entrepreneurship as effective and valuable as it is today. We’re constantly impressed by our teachers’ sincere desire to help other creative individuals succeed in their community.

Get Involved

We’re always looking for new teachers and partners to connect with so we can continue to grow the Craft Entrepreneurship program. If you’d like to apply or want to recommend a partner organization, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Header image by blancucha.