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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. 


Artisan Sector

Artisan Sector

The second largest employer in the developing world

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The artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, particularly women, participate in the artisan sector. Artisan activity creates jobs and preserves ancient cultural traditions that in many places are at risk of being lost.

Globally, the artisan sector is significant and growing - international trade in artisan goods more than doubled between 2002 and 2012. Over 65% of artisan activity takes place in developing economies. Still, artisan businesses are seldom recognized as drivers of economic growth. The majority of artisans served are women and small producers working informally. Artisan entrepreneurs lack access to the tools and resources needed to succeed in the global marketplace. Artisans work in isolated environments, without business skills, market access, and the financial tools needed to boost production and sales.

With proper tools, resources, and like-minded partners, there is a huge opportunity to strengthen the global artisan sector to create jobs, increase incomes and preserve ancient cultural traditions that respect the uniqueness of people and place.