Celebrating Artisan Enterprise: The New Startup Economy Forum

Date: 09/02/2015 Description: The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise logo.  The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise is a global platform to promote artisan businesses, with a specific focus on women artisans and their families, their economic impact, and their preservation of cultural heritage.  - State Dept Image


Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Location: The U.S. Department of State



On September 10, 2015, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell hosted artisans, investors, policy makers, and representatives from business and civil society for a forum on how to scale the impact of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise.  The Alliance is a global platform to promote artisan businesses, with a specific focus on women artisans and their families, their economic impact, and their preservation of cultural heritage.
Secretary Kerry (Sept. 10): "The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise reflects exactly the kind of innovative thinking that we need to engage in if we’re going to expand this playing field as rapidly as we need to if we’re going to be able to implement our very ambitious post-2015 development goals and agenda...And it’s bringing to the world’s attention a set of issues that have really been neglected for far too long." Full Text»

Building on this summer’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, this forum focused on the impact artisans have on local communities and economies and how attendees can act to take that impact to the next level. It also highlighted the work of artisans around the world and finalists from a multimedia competition.

World exports of artisan goods are worth $32 billion a year, and tens of millions of people in the developing world, largely women, participate in the artisan sector.

Artisan enterprise does more than create jobs and income. It also fosters economically viable communities, sustains ancient traditions, and preserves culture that is essential for healthy and sustainable development.

But the artisan sector is extremely fragmented and under resourced. Globally artisans face many barriers: lack of access to finance and markets, inequitable supply channels, weak small business knowledge and skills, sourcing bottlenecks, and prohibitive shipping costs.

Everyone can play a role in supporting artisans. Policymakers and governments can work with the Alliance and elevate the artisan sector in their own countries. Investors and donors can support innovative projects and incorporate artisan goods into their value chains. And consumers can support the Global campaign and buy artisan goods.

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