Etsy Maker Cities

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

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

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.

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.

In partnership with the Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth, Etsy is proud to announce the 2019 Maker Cities Grant recipients.

Meet the 2019 Maker Cities Grantees

We selected 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.

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:

  • A robust, custom built training program 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
  • Access and training to a tool that provides insight into neighborhood level economic activity via Mastercard Retail Location Insights (MRLI)

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.

Our 2017 Grantees

Open Works—Baltimore, Maryland

Open Works was awarded an Etsy Maker Cities Program Grant to expand an existing program, Moms as Entrepreneurs (MAE), which teaches craft, life, and business skills to low-income creative entrepreneurs of color. In partnership with the Baltimore Etsy Seller team, led by Keisha Ransome, they have designed a comprehensive training program that not only supports program participants, but also serves as a model for evolving the workforce development system to support entrepreneurship training and development. The government stakeholders involved are 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.

The History of Maker Cities

In May 2016, we brought local government officials and members of the Etsy community together under one roof for the first ever Etsy Maker Cities Summit in Brooklyn, New York. At the Summit, these groups formed city-specific Action Teams to dream up initiatives to bring back to their home towns and implement together.

After two days of exploration, ideation, and analysis, several themes emerged around empowering micro-entrepreneurs and investing in creative local economic development. Here were some big takeaways:

  • Diversity and Accessibility: Communities crave the ability to bridge divides across languages and neighborhoods, introducing mentors, facilitators, translators, and advocates where they're needed
  • Makerspaces: The desire to create creative communities alongside physical spaces for making was shared by many cities at the Summit
  • Manufacturing and Scaling: Recognizing the importance of small batch manufacturing is vital to local economic development in Maker Cities, and many teams expressed interest in manufacturing education for their communities
  • Resource Sharing: Creating a way for resources to be shared organically within a community is crucial for Maker Cities.
  • Collaboration and Breaking Down Silos: The need to break away from a singular point of view is essential for long term economic and creative growth. To do that, each community must bring a multiplicity of perspectives and resources around the table for discussion.
  • Advocacy and Education: Policymakers and makers alike must widely communicate the value makers bring to a city, increasing maker visibility while understanding the specific needs of each city.

We learned so much from the summit experience and saw how enthusiastically communities banded together in support of 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 maximizing our collective resources.

2016 Maker Cities

The following Etsy Maker Cities Action Teams completed their project plans and continue to pursue innovative programming to support their local maker economies.


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