Funded by USAID through Creative Associates International, the “Sichuan Market Development” (SMD) project is working to improve sustainable livelihoods of ethnic Tibetans in China’s Sichuan province, providing these communities with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a growing market economy. Focusing on ethnic Tibetan communities in and around the provincial capital of Chengdu in Sichuan province, SMD will enhance the entrepreneurial skills of ethnic Tibetans working in areas such as eco-tourism, and works to boost the productivity of herders, artisans and business owners. In a changing economic environment, the project is designed to enhance the competitiveness of ethnic Tibetan businesses in local, regional and international markets and improves value chains of traditional industries. Through grant-making to local organizations, the project provides training and hands-on assistance to ethnic Tibetans to empower them with the skills and knowledge needed to build and grow sustainable businesses.

ATA’s role in the project is to strengthen the Tibetan artisan sector in Sichuan, through new product development, business training and linkages to broader markets, with particular emphasis on the Chinese market.

Accomplishments as of April 30, 2017

  • Conducted a two-weeks assessment in the Chengdu region identifying the actions needed to strengthen the Tibetan artisan sector and link artisan business to tourism and larger scale buyers, particularly Chinese.
  • In June 2015, ATA conducted a Stakeholder Meeting that gathered more than 90 Tibetan artisans representing 40 artisan businesses.
  • Conducted a Design Seminar and One-On-One consultations in 3 locations, for 25 Tibetan artisans enterprises representing over 60 artisans including carpenters, painters, metal workers, fashion designers, embroiders, textile and basket weavers, and tailors.
  • Over 250 design ideas were distributed during the seminar and consultations
  • The Market Readiness Program TM was conducted in Chengdu for 28 Tibetan artisan enterprises in both English and Chinese. The MRP covered topics such Distribution Channels, Costing and Pricing, Color & Trends among many others.
  • An International Product Development Consultancy was conducted for 14 Tibetan artisan enterprises resulting in over 140 new product concepts developed for the tourist market.
  • Connected with over 20 business partners in Chengdu who will link the Tibetan artisan enterprise to the Chinese market.
  • Completed a market study in Chengdu, China.
  • Linked with 2 Chinese main buyers in Chengdu
  • Completed an assessment of 11 Sichuan villages to incorporate the tourism value chain as a market linkage for Tibetans artisans. Through this assessment, over 140 artisans were identified as potential beneficiaries.
  • The project has benefited so far over 161 artisans over whom 50% are women

Project Lead in US

Maud Obe
Director of ATA Programs

Partners & Collaborators

ATA wishes to recognize Creative Associates International and Conscious Business Consulting, for their efforts in working with low income Tibetans to increase their income and improve their livelihoods.