Columbia is home to makers, creators, and fabricators. People brew beer in their basements, roast coffee in their kitchens, or build furniture in their garages. Others work in textiles or garment construction. School kids board the STEAM Bus to learn coding and engineering skills with a Raspberry Pi.
Small-scale manufacturing can bring innovation, creativity, and economic vitality to a long-neglected area like the Business Loop. So how can we identify and support these up-and-coming manufacturers with expert mentoring, funding, and marketing assistance? And how can we help them break ground here on The Loop?
The Loop CID was one of six organizations in the nation to receive a Smart Growth America grant designed to encourage local, small-scale manufacturing as a way to revitalize an underperforming area of the city and create new economic opportunities.
The Loop CID is partnering with Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) and other key stakeholders to move this project forward.
But we need your help!
Part of the Smart Growth America planning process includes identifying makers here in Columbia. It doesn't matter what stage of the process you're at---whether you already have a business, are looking to expand, or if you're dreaming of opening up your own shop someday. It also doesn't matter if you're located on the Business Loop or somewhere else. Go ahead and sign up.
Once we have the registry, we'll make the details available on the COMO MAKES website. It will help spread the word about the Columbia makers community and highlight your individual efforts as well. And of course, we'd like to keep you informed of our progress as we move forward with the grant process.
Are you an organization that supports small-scale manufacturers? Maybe you offer skills training programs or help people write a business plan. Perhaps you have financing programs available (yay!) or work with underrepresented small business owners. If you think you can be an asset to local manufacturers, visit our Resource Registry instead.
For all the details, visit our website at www.comomakes.com.