With a background in community development and income-generating projects, Nureen Das began her career in India working with numerous grassroots organizations on microfinance. It was through this work that Nureen became familiar with the intersection between entrepreneurs and access to employment through crafts. Nureen recognized the importance of a common platform for artisans to share their best practices and challenges and saw that these platforms were both lacking and inaccessible, prompting her to found Artesan Gateway.
The goal of Artesan Gateway is to create a network of organizations working towards creating a positive impact on the lives of those seeking a sustainable income and livelihood. Wanting to take her business to the next level, Nureen opted to participate in Aid to Artisans’ Market Readiness Program (MRP) to get a sense of both the U.S. and Wholesale Market. She saw the MRP as the perfect place to cultivate connections and build the network that was so vital to the prosperity of Artisan Gateway. The MRP increased Nureen’s familiarity with theories around color and design while also emphasizing the importance of including customers in the conversation, as she noticed similar demographics in the producers and buyers she came into contact with.
After participating in the MRP, Nureen started the Fair Play Forum, Artesan Gateway’s flagship program bringing together stakeholders to talk through key points and challenges they face. The conference has been held in Bangladesh and Bangalore and is this year being extended from a one-day event to two days with a pop-up market on the first day and workshops on the second, diving deep into questions surrounding impact and intent of work.
Artesan Gateway will be celebrating five years in 2020 and hopes to mark that milestone by evaluating other services that they can provide to leaders of social enterprises and NGOs while they hone their own business strategies. Nureen hopes to take the Fair Play Forum to Nairobi in the near future and continue to discover organizations to build relationships with.