Etsy & The City: Small Business Ideas

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February 9, 2014 by Alyse LaHue

I heard a story on the radio a few weeks ago and was completely intrigued by the innovating thinking that had connected two unlikely partners, and through Twitter nonetheless:

One is a downtrodden old midwest city with an unusually high unemployment rate due to major factory closings and relocations over the last decade.

The other is a young, online hub for small business handmade crafters from around the world.

Rockford, Illinois meet Etsy.

The two connected via Twitter in 2012 when Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey reached out to Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson with the above tweet. The Rockford Mayor knew that many citizens of Rockford carry with them a vast variety of trade skills that could lead to economic gain but nowhere to utilize or showcase them.

A few months later and the groups were meeting to see how they could work together. From it was born the Craft Entrepreneurship Curriculum, which was intended to teach those with pre-existing trade skills the ways they could utilize those skills as an entrepreneur (selling their goods through Etsy, or otherwise).

In my natural way of relating every single thing I read to my life in the world of sports, I am inspired by this extremely unlikely pairing and what they have thus far accomplished. I’m always on the lookout for our next partner and possibilities in the strangest places.

Dream it, attack it.

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Learn more about the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship program.

Read about the pilot program and support the Rockford Etsy Team!

Another great video on the project can be seen here.

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Alyse LaHue

Gonzo Soccer & Leadership Academy - NonProfit, Co-Founder

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