Since our earliest days, Etsy has functioned as an on-ramp to entrepreneurship, empowering people around the world to turn creativity into economic opportunity. Our Maker Cities initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to using the power of business to strengthen and empower communities. Today, in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Etsy is proud to announce the 2019 Maker Cities Grant recipients.
From the many inspiring proposals received from creative organizations across the country, we’re excited to award our Maker Cities Grants to five stand-out organizations whose efforts are focused on fostering diverse and inclusive creative communities in their local areas.
Conexión Américas—Nashville, TN
Supporting immigrant and refugee makers
Conexión Américas’ Maker Cities project will grow their microenterprise program to help immigrant and refugee microentrepreneurs benefit from Nashville’s creative economy and engage in the online marketplace. Their program will provide one-on-one technical assistance in Spanish and English to immigrant and refugee makers so that they can succeed in Etsy’s online marketplace and participate in Nashville’s creative economy.
Southern Colorado Economic Development District—Pueblo, CO
Creative entrepreneurship for the diversely abled and limited economic means
Partnering with local organizations to form the Pueblo Makes community collective, the Southern Colorado Economic Development District’s Maker Cities project will provide custom-designed training, technical assistance, and mentoring to help makers become entrepreneurs and expand Pueblo’s growing creative economy. While the program aims to elevate all of Pueblo’s makers, the program is specifically committed to supporting makers with diverse abilities, those with limited economic means, and others who often do not have a seat at the table.
Main Street Eureka Springs—Eureka Springs, AR
Supporting LGBTQ makers and older entrepreneurs
Main Street Eureka Springs’ Maker Cities Project will build out the Eureka Springs Maker Launch Pad, a program aimed at expanding the business acumen of local artists and makers. Open to all makers and artists but with an emphasis on LGBTQ makers and entrepreneurs over fifty, the program gives participants the opportunity to market-test retail products and prepare for online and in-person selling.
Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation—Phoenix, AZ
Opportunities for diverse artists and makers
Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporations’ Maker Cities Project will focus on developing the Roosevelt Row Academy. Through a co-op pop up shop, the artist-designed and -led program will connect diverse communities with a focus on underserved artists and makers and will build participants’ entrepreneurial skills.
Jabberwocky Studios—Columbia, MO
Supporting women and makers of color
Targeting women and makers of color, Jabberwocky Studio is teaming up with The Loop CID to create a one-stop shop of resources for local makers. The program includes a shared branding program, community-wide awareness campaign, online directory, educational events and maker meet-ups, along with pop-up shops, tasting events, and manufacturing space sourcing assistance.
The Maker Cities initiative seeks to unlock the potential of creative entrepreneurship to drive local economic development, revitalize cities, and help traditionally underrepresented groups participate in the creative economy. We know the best way to build inclusive economies comes from community projects where everyone has a seat at the table, and each city selected demonstrated just that.
We’re thrilled to support these organizations’ work to build inroads to their creative communities. Each grantee is receiving $40,000 in direct program support along with customized training and a year-long learning community provided by Recast City, and access to tools and resources from Etsy and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to help them bring their project plans to life.
“This partnership between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Etsy exemplifies how important creative businesses are to building the diverse and resilient local economies we need to create jobs, and drive inclusive growth,” said Sandy Fernandez, Director of North America, Mastercard Center Inclusive Growth. “We are proud to support the Makers Cities initiative that will help traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs participate in the digital economy.”
We know the best way to build inclusive economies comes from community projects where everyone has a seat at the table, and each city selected demonstrated just that. Through their support of entrepreneurial endeavors, these programs build local wealth and economic power. We’re looking forward to seeing how each program bolsters their local creative economy in the coming year.
To learn more about this year’s grantees, visit etsy.com/makercities.