A Look Back at September 2023

We hope you enjoy our stories from last month where we share experiences of transformative trainings and new opportunities!

The eMarket Readiness Program: A Successful 4 Days of Learning and Growth

There is always something new to learn, and the eMarket Readiness Program (eMRP) always reflects the latest things affecting the world of artisans. We held the 2023 eMRP from September 19th-22nd; 4 days filled with learning and networking.

We hosted 44 participants from Barbados, China, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, México, Pakistan, Spain, United Kingdom, and USA, and provided simultaneous translation from English to Spanish and, for the first time, Chinese.

Each day started with a practical presentation from 1 of our 6 presenters, sharing information on topics ranging from consumer trends to building buyer relationships. An alumni panel hosted 4 MRP alumni who shared their experiences in applying what they learned after attending the program. The students also loved the buyer panel and asked the 4 participating buyers questions that concerned their businesses and how to build lasting relationships with buyers from the US.

Some of our participants also joined small group coaching sessions at the end of each day. This gave them the opportunity to review the topics of the day and receive feedback from one of ATA’s mentors and their fellow students. Here are some thoughts from students about the program:

“Thank you all!! This was wonderful and reignited my passion [for] working with artisan makers.” – Abbie Kline of Kandahar Treasure

“It’s not just about creating products to generate income; it’s also about considering the comfort of the customer and finding ways to promote and market the product…It involves telling the story of our artisans.” – Virgilio Cruz Gutierrez of Alianza Komon Atel

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all our consultants, translators, panelists and participants who made the 2023 eMRP so amazing!

Pictured: 2023 eMRP Participants from Tixmehuac México sharing their products during their Small Group Coaching session

Networking at the Annual Global Networking Cocktail Hour

On September 21st, we hosted our annual virtual Global Networking Cocktail Hour. This year, 62 people joined the event from all over the

world. Many in the ATA community look forward to this event as it is a great opportunity to

meet eMRP participants, entrepreneurs, buyers, and experts within the handmade industry.

During the 1.5-hour long networking event, participants joined different breakout groups, each of which discussed topics such as Product Design and Development, an opportunity for a Buyer/Artisan Meet and Greet, or they joined a room where they could speak freely about any desired topic. These breakout groups let the participants discuss topics that were important to them and give them the opportunity to make new connections.

It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones, and we are already planning and looking forward to hosting the virtual networking hour again next year!

Pictured: Screenshot of participants from the 2023 eMarket Readiness Program

Youth Training in Burkina Faso Has Begun

Last month, collaborating with the artisan enterprise Association Kogl-Taaba, we organized and facilitated an entrepreneurship training for the 19 youth in Koudougou as part of the “Resilience Through Craft” project. These youths, who are unemployed, learned about what it takes to run a successful artisan business during the 4 days of this intensive, in-person training.

Their activities included creating mood boards (a collage of drawings, magazine clippings and images) that help ignite creativity, putting on a mock tradeshow, and doing costing and pricing exercises to teach them how to cover all their costs and make a profit, among other activities. They particularly enjoyed a lesson on taking beautiful product photos, a skill that will help them create powerful catalogs in the future.

One participant, Elise Yameogo (32 years old), told us:

“Even if the project were to end today, we would have nothing to complain about because we already have the necessary knowledge to start a business.”

In October, a second entrepreneurship training will be held in the second community, Bobo-Dioulasso in collaboration with the artisan enterprise GAFREH, where an additional 20 vulnerable youth will be participating in the same activities.

This project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is in partnership with Creative Associates International (Creative) and their sub-partner, Lutheran World Relief (LWR).

Pictured: Youth working on the Costing and Pricing Leaky Bucket exercise (top right), Youth working on the icebreaker activity (bottom left), Youth working on simulation activity (bottom center), Group photo after tradeshow simulation (bottom right)

A Unique Program: Improving Leadership, Personal Finance, Health, and More for Mayan Families in Mexico

Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we are thrilled to introduce our new 3-year program to improve the livelihoods of poor indigenous families living in San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas, México. Collaborating with 8 local organizations, we have started to implement, Komon A’tel 2.0, “Building Spaces for Dialogue in San Juan Cancuc,” project.

We work directly with 1,100 indigenous Tzeltal (Mayan) families organized in 79 working groups including young entrepreneurs, health committees, water committees, and groups dedicated to building personal savings.

The project will enhance participation and dialogue among these groups to promote sustainable, effective municipal governance in their communities. The project will also improve leadership and management skills among representatives of participating groups at the municipal level. Finally, Komon A’tel 2.0 will improve these families’ access to clean water supply, health services, and income generation opportunities.

This is a continuation of our previous work within this municipality, and Director of Aid to Artisans México, María Eugenia Pineda, told us:

“We look forward to strengthening the organizational processes we initiated in 2020, enabling the population to consolidate their management processes among their communities and with other entities in income, health, and water-related matters.”

Stay tuned for more details as the project progresses!

Pictured: Delivery of certificates for the leadership training process during the Komon A’tel Project from 2020-2023

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2023 Canvas Home Small Grants!

We are very excited to announce the 10 winners of the Canvas Home Small Grants for 2023!

This year, we received the highest volume of applications in ATA history, totaling 82 submissions! This is double the number of submissions we received last year, showing that the Canvas Home Small Grants Program is becoming well-known around the world.

The 10 grant recipients will each receive $1,500 USD to help them buy materials, tools, equipment, or improve their marketing. The 10 winners represent 7 countries including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Kenya, Morocco, and Uganda. CLICK HERE to learn more about the winners and the Canvas Home Small Grant program.

We want to extend a special thank you to Canvas Home and Creative Learning for their kind donations and for providing this opportunity to our community.

Pictured: Artisan from Rainbow Development for Deaf in Kenya (top right), Artisans from Jothashilpa in Bangladesh (bottom left), Basket made by artisans from Skilled Samaritan Foundation in India (bottom center), Artisan carrying raw materials from Woven Worldwide (bottom right)

What’s to Come in October

-ATA’s Director, Maud Obe and Program Associate, Hannah Klein, will be travelling to México to visit the field and strategize with our team on the ground

-Maud will visit the High Point Market for a second time to meet old friends and walk this unique show

-The second entrepreneurship training will be held in the community of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso

-Dos Tierras and Ethic Foods, ATA’s exporting partners in México, will be attending SOCAP23, the world’s largest impact investing conference come together to discuss the world’s toughest challenges.

Stay tuned to learn more!

Pictured: Youth learning weaving techniques during the entrepreneurship training in Burkina Faso