(2013-03-15) Etsy Rockford Economic Development

Etsy is working with Rockford Il to try to scale up Etsy-based Entrepreneurship as Economic Development. One of the benefits of having a strong manufacturing history, however, is that many residents already have skills in the arts (such as watchmaking and furniture making) that were once the backbone of the local economy... Our visit led to a plan for Etsy and Rockford to co-create a Craft Entrepreneurship Curriculum, with Etsy’s platform and marketplace as the learning lab. The aim of the project is to teach people that if they have a craft skill, entrepreneurship and economic opportunity are within reach.

Sept'2013 update: We are now launching a Craft Entrepreneurship Program that we’ve created together. Last week, Rockford Etsy Team member Chris began teaching residents in the Rockford Housing Authority (Public Housing) how to use their craft skills to build a business and earn income. Our Seller Education team worked with the Housing Authority to develop a four-week curriculum covering topics from business finance to marketing, using Etsy as a live learning lab.

Jun'2014: taking the story to the Washington DC MakerFaire and Barack Obama. We will partner with U.S. cities to expand our Craft Entrepreneurship program to 10 cities, teaching unemployed and underemployed adults how to monetize their artistic skills online, using Etsy as a learning lab. By incorporating programs like Craft Entrepreneurship into workforce development, cities can ensure that the opportunities of the maker economy are accessible to all.

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