Jabberwocky Studios and the Loop Community Improvement District (CID) are proud to announce their selection as one of five Etsy Maker Cities in the nation. Each Maker City grantee is receiving $40,000 in direct program support along with customized training and a year-long learning community provided by Recast City, along with access to tools and resources from Etsy and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to help them bring their project plans to life.
The Loop CID and Jabberwocky Studios are teaming up to support local small-scale manufacturers by creating a one-stop shop of resources for makers including a shared branding program, a community-wide awareness campaign, an online makers directory linked to Etsy shops, monthly educational events, regular maker meet-ups, Maker Fairs and tasting events, and assistance locating manufacturing space along The Loop corridor.
“Being named an Etsy Maker City means there’s something special happening here,” said Carrie Gartner, Executive Director of The Loop CID. “This grant will help us build a community of diverse local makers and use that energy to revitalize The Loop in a way that builds on the existing vibe of the street.”
The Maker Cities initiative seeks to unlock the potential of creative entrepreneurship to drive local economic development, revitalize cities, and help traditionally underrepresented groups participate in the creative economy.
“We want this program to create inclusive economic empowerment, and help a diverse group of makers turn a skill and a dream into a business,” said Linda Schust, Executive Director of Jabberwocky Studios. “Etsy recognizes and shares our commitment, making them the perfect partner for our efforts.”
Last year the Loop CID was one of six communities in the nation to receive a grant to support and identify local, small-scale manufacturers as a way to revitalize the corridor in a way that fits the current character of the street. That community-based process inspired a number of projects, including a planned shared kitchen at Mizzou North (opening early 2020) and a makerspace at MACC-Columbia (opening in July 2020). Shared workspaces are a key way to reduce the barriers to entry for startup producers and manufacturers.
“Not only do makers, artisans, small-scale manufacturers fit with the DIY spirit on The Loop, it’s a great way to revitalize the corridor and distinguish us from other areas of Columbia,” said James Roark-Gruender, Chair of the Business Loop CID. “We want The Loop to be known as the place where all makers and small manufacturers are welcomed and supported.”
Small-scale manufacturing is locally-based and focused on the production of tangible, artisan goods. This includes value-added agricultural products, breweries and distilleries, bakeries, coffee roasters, textiles, woodworking, metalworking, and 3D-printing. These small manufacturing industries usually have between 1 and 30 employees and are focused on both retail sales and wholesale distribution. This grant will also focus on small makers, especially those who work out of their homes and could benefit from business counseling, educational workshops, and shared workspaces.
“This partnership between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Etsy exemplifies how important creative businesses are to building the diverse and resilient local economies we need to create jobs and drive inclusive growth,” said Sandy Fernandez, Director of North America, Mastercard Center Inclusive Growth. “We are proud to support the Makers Cities initiative that will help traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs participate in the digital economy.”
The four other awardees are Conexión Américas in Nashville, TN; Southern Colorado Economic Development District in Pueblo, CO; Main Street Eureka Springs in Eureka Springs, AR; and Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation in Phoenix, AZ.
To learn more about this year’s grantees, visit etsy.com/makercities.