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The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, founded in November 2012 and hosted by the Aspen Institute, is a collaborative effort of over 70 artisan businesses, artisan support organizations, corporations, government agencies, and other partners who are working together to promote the full potential of the global artisan sector.  

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise was created to elevate the importance of the artisan sector, support and grow artisan businesses, and share best practices in a collaborative learning community. 

Entrepreneurship and the Creative Economy: A Conversation with José Andrés

Digital Learning Series Archive

Entrepreneurship and the Creative Economy: A Conversation with José Andrés

Gina Rogari

On February 8, 2018, the Artisan Alliance hosted a forum on the value of the creative economy, welcoming members, partners and friends to the new Aspen Institute headquarters in Washington, DC. What is the creative economy? It includes all the cultural and creative industries practiced in the United States and across the globe, whose principal purpose is production or reproduction, promotion, distribution or commercialization of goods, services, and activities of a cultural, artistic, and heritage-related nature.

At the forum, titled The Creative Economy Matters, Chef José Andrés invited participants to "be creative in solving the emergency of now." Andrés, interviewed by Artisan Alliance board member Pat Mitchell, spoke of his latest efforts to provide more than three million meals in the wake of last year’s devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico.  He started with a simple idea to feed a neighborhood that steadily grew as he was able to identify new partners to expand – always informed by the changing needs on the ground.

He also spoke about his work in Haiti, touring an orphanage with President Bill Clinton following the earthquake. After his first visit, he helped them build a bakery. The bakery helped to solve the immediate issue of feeding children and employees, while also creating something that they can sell to generate profits that can be re-invested in the children and school over the long-term. And while he encouraged all in the creative economy to go vertical when possible, he also cautioned: “make sure before you build the house, you have a very good foundation. That’s what the creative economy should always be." 

Watch the full interview with Pat Mitchell above.