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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. 

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artisan alliance

Support for the world's most untapped start-up community

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, increases local incomes, 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.

The Artisan Alliance, an initiative of the Aspen Global Innovators Group at the Aspen Institute, works to unlock economic value in the artisan sector. The Alliance collaborates with key partners, including Kiva and the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues, to develop resources that support the sustainable growth of artisan businesses. 

Join us

Join the Artisan Alliance as we design and implement support systems for artisan businesses, including: 

  1. Networking platform for organizations around the world that participate across the artisan sector, including artisan businesses, social enterprises, NGO's, government agencies, and others

  2. Innovative financing programs for artisan entrepreneurs to access much-needed capital

  3. Artisan Business Coaching programs to support the sustainable development of locally-owned artisan businesses

  4. Key events to showcase artisan entrepreneurs, share best practices, and uncover solutions to common barriers in the artisan value chain

We envision a world in which artisans are fully integrated into global commerce and where increasing revenues flow to artisan producers and communities in need of economic opportunity. Get involved! Download our fact sheet, learn more about our member network, donate to support our programs, and contact us for additional information.