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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. 


#ChooseArtisan: The Global Campaign for Artisan Enterprise

Natalie Deuschle

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise's first objective is to elevate the importance of the artisan sector. Above all, this means proving to the world the artisan sector matters.

The artisan sector matters to weavers in Cusco, Peru; it matters to felt workers in Kyrgyzstan; it matters to woodworkers in New York City; it matters to their families and to their communities. The artisan sector is the second largest employer in the developing world, worth over $32 billion every year. It creates jobs and sustains livelihoods, especially for women. This diverse economy also preserves cultural traditions and ancient techniques. Still, the sector is fragmented and misunderstood. 

Artisan enterprise cannot only matter to artisans and supporters; it needs to matter to policymakers, development professionals, impact investors, consumers, you, and me.

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise launched the Global Campaign for Artisan Enterprise at the U.S. Department of State in September 2015 to spread awareness about the value of the artisan sector. The global movement begins with the #ChooseArtisan Thunderclap - a social media campaign coalescing voices around the world and sharing why they choose to use their purchasing power for good. On November 6, 2015, over 500 unique messages will be shared with more than 1.5 million people on social media and compiled on the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise #ChooseArtisan Social Wall.

Leading to the Thunderclap launch, the Alliance is sharing messages to educate audiences about the magnitude of the artisan economy, connect individuals with the artisans who fuel the industry, show the rich diversity of artisan tradition, share how leading organizations support artisan businesses, and inspire new voices to join the movement.

These messages will begin to educate global citizens, policymakers, and business leaders about the impact and diversity of artisan enterprise. Speaking together, we can shine a bright light on the sector to drive awareness and enact change. Loud voices standing with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise include Chef Jose Andres and Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz. They also include individual artisans, their families, and their friends. 

Join the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise community today; sign up for the Thunderclap and unite your voice with hundreds of others who understand the artisan sector matters. Then, watch the movement unfold on the #ChooseArtisan Social WallTogether, we can speak louder than a single voice can speak alone.