Etsy Maker Cities

We're investing in local communities committed to creative entrepreneurs.

We believe inclusive creative communities build stronger local economies for everyone.

Yet, across the country, new business launch numbers are down, people are struggling to find good paying work, and communities are fighting to keep their youth from leaving town. Still, Etsy sellers have started and grown their businesses in 99.9% of all US counties, which is important considering that most national business growth after the most recent recession stemmed from only 20 counties, according to EIG.

We believe creative entrepreneurship has the power to provide meaningful opportunities for individuals to connect, learn, and grow, while building stronger local economies. In the US alone, Etsy sellers generated $5.37B in economic output and created 1.5 million jobs in 2018. We also believe that the best way to build inclusive economies comes from community projects where everyone has a seat at the table.

That’s why our Maker Cities initiative supports creative entrepreneurial communities by investing in innovative projects to help traditionally underrepresented groups participate in the creative economy and grow businesses.

These programmes grow local economies by building local wealth and economic power through entrepreneurial endeavours.

We’re not alone in this effort. This year, we are proud to partner with an organisation with shared beliefs around fostering creative local economies. We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Mastercard’s Centre for Inclusive Growth to launch the next iteration of Maker Cities. The Centre takes a new approach to philanthropy, and leverages research, data, programmes, and engagement to advance sustainable and equitable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world.

About the 2019 Maker Cities Grant Programme

Powered by the Etsy Impact Fund and the Mastercard Impact Fund with support from Recast City, five non-profit organisations will be selected to invest in a year-long economic development project of their choosing. We are seeking proposals that use data to drive innovative new programming that supports creative entrepreneurs in their areas and address the barriers they face related to accessibility, building community, small batch manufacturing, resource sharing and collaboration.

The programme will support non-profit small business development practitioners to not only build the capacity of small and microbusinesses but also partner with their cities and other key stakeholders to grow, connect, and help empower their local maker economy as an engine of local economic development.

Grantees will receive grants up to $40,000 in direct programme support in addition to the following:

  • A robust, custom built training programme and ongoing cohort support from Recast City, a technical assistance firm focused on business development for the maker economy to create thriving communities
  • Access to an online facilitated community where grantees can connect and share progress
  • Access to a city-specific economic impact dashboard powered by mySidewalk

Proposals must be submitted via our application portal by non-profit 501(c)(3) organisations in the United States by Wednesday 3rd July 2019. Applicants must assemble a Maker Cities Project team comprised of a team leader employed by the non-profit organisation, at least one Etsy seller, and one other member of the creative or microbusiness community (either a service provider, local government official, library, etc.). Applications must include an endorsement letter from a local government official outlining how they plan to support this work.

Apply now

Webinar replay
Recast City, our training provider, hosted a webinar to answer questions and walk through the application process on 3rd June. Participation in the webinar was not required, though if you are interested in viewing the webinar recording, you can do so here.

Our 2017 Grantees

Open Works—Baltimore, Maryland

Open Works was awarded an Etsy Maker Cities Programme Grant to expand an existing programme, Moms as Entrepreneurs (MAE), which teaches craft, life, and business skills to low-income creative entrepreneurs of colour. In partnership with the Baltimore Etsy Seller team, led by Keisha Ransome, they have designed a comprehensive training programme that not only supports programme participants, but also serves as a model for evolving the workforce development system to support entrepreneurship training and development. The government stakeholder involved is the Assistant Director for Cultural Affairs at the City's Office of Promotion and the Arts.

The Berlin Kreativ Kollektiv—Berlin, Germany

The Berlin Kreativ Kollektiv was awarded an Etsy Maker Cities Research Grant to conduct bottom-up research. Their research quantifies the creative community in Berlin, with a specific focus on the challenges faced by multi-national creative entrepreneurs that are new to the country. Led by Emma Wood, Annemarie Schumacher, and Iris Pohlgeers, the BKK presented their findings to the local government. The government stakeholders involved are the Head of Economic Development and the Team Leader for EU Cultural Affairs and Industry. Read more about how the BKK implemented their research grant here.

If you're interested in receiving Maker Cities updates or learning about opportunities to get involved in the future, please let us know by completing the form below.

If you would prefer to download the application in a language other than English, please click on the appropriate links. (Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish). For UK English, click here.

Grant FAQ’s

Why does the application require the support of multiple stakeholders?
We believe the best solutions are achieved through collaboration. The expertise areas of each stakeholder will be valuable from ideation to implementation. Additionally, we see this as a unique way to connect local government officials and non-profits to the local creative community.

I really want to apply but I don’t have connections to one or more of the stakeholders needed for this application. What should I do?
If possible, Etsy will try to help facilitate introductions. Please email with your requests.

Will an application be reviewed if it does not have support in all three areas?
Yes. We will give consideration to applications lacking only one stakeholder and may try to help facilitate introductions if possible. Priority will be given to applications with all three.

How will you evaluate applications?
In addition to looking for collaborative proposals, applications will be evaluated by their ability to articulate a well-defined problem or challenge that addresses a specific need in their community relevant to the mission of Maker Cities, clear outcomes and ways to measure effectiveness, and a thorough budget and timeline for execution.

Who will the grant money go through?
Funds will be disbursed through the local non-profit or accredited education institution.

What if an application requests more than the stated grant award amount?
Applications requesting money beyond the stated award amounts will be considered on a case by case basis, although priority will be given to applications requesting money at or below the stated amounts.

Do proposals have to relate to or only Etsy sellers?
No. This programme is meant to support the broader creative economy.

Is this opportunity limited to particular cities or countries?
No, unless otherwise prohibited by law. This is a global opportunity for cities of all sizes. However, the application has only been translated into the languages of Etsy’s core markets.

What’s going to happen to the cities that were selected last year?
The Action Teams from last year that have completed or will complete their plans will maintain their recognition as an official Etsy Maker City. These groups are welcome to apply for a grant under the new iteration of the programme.

When will applicants know if they’ve been selected as a Maker City?
All applicants will be notified of their status by June 2017.

History of Maker Cities

Maker Cities launched as a pilot program in 2016 by bringing together Etsy sellers and local city officials at a summit at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Representatives from 13 cities were present at the summit. These representatives created action plans of ways they could work together in support of building local creative economies. We learned from this experience there is a lot of enthusiasm and effort for this work. We also learned that by shifting our model, Etsy and partner cities will be better equipped to support the development and advancement of local creative economies by maximising our collective resources.

2016 Maker Cities
We are thrilled to recognise the following Etsy Maker Cities from the 2016 summit that have completed their action plans.

For additional questions, who should I contact?

For additional questions regarding Etsy Maker Cities, please reach out to For relevant press inquiries, please contact