This fall, students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute–Vanshaj Chowdhary, Mackenzie Banker, Yang Xu and Michael Prindle–have been busy enhancing ATA’s new e-platform Aid To Artisan U (ATAU) that provides a networking and resource platform for anyone interested in the craft sector. By joining ATAU, people can have discussions with artisans and entrepreneurs worldwide and learn and develop their businesses by taking its online free courses.  The latest activity of our interns was uploading an online catalogue for ATAU members to showcase their products. This catalog is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and buyers to connect and form mutually beneficial linkages.

“During our time here, we had the opportunity to meet with many interesting people. Going into this project, I did not expect to talk to so many people from all over the world. Interviewing people from different countries provided us with a better understanding of the craft sector and how we can make ATAU more beneficial for them” says Mackenzie Banker.

ATAU provides online training courses for artisans and artisan-entrepreneurs. Through a variety of free classes, artisans can enhance their skills and track their progress. The Market Readiness Program introductory course is one of the most popular classes that help identify characters of the US Retail market, and the importance of the roles of the buyer.

“Even with just the minor changes we made to the platform, we noticed a large spike in users. When all the features we recommended like the advanced search and the discussion forum get implemented, we expect there to be a large increase in both membership and activity on the site. In the future, we hope the site becomes the go-to place for artisans, buyers, or anyone interested in learning about the craft sector” says Vanshaj Chowdhary. Gilbert Kubwimana from Rwanda is very happy about this feature and seeing how people are blogging about their business brought ATAU platform. “With the increase in user base, this platform will be a big part of helping global business” reckons Kubwimana.