(via: FastCompany.com) The Etsy Craft entrepreneurship program is focused on teaching people with low incomes how to sell their crafts on Etsy. The idea that Etsy can help people by teaching them to use Etsy wasn’t cooked up in a PR think tank. Last March, Rockford, Illinois, Mayor Larry Morrissey tweeted to Dickerson suggesting that Etsy might help his city. “Since we need an ‘Etsy Economy,'” the Tweet said, “has Etsy begun any partnerships with high schools or job training?” Dickerson responded, and emails led to meetings that led to a partnership with Rockford’s Housing Authority and the first pilot of the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship program. By the time that launched, New York City had committed to running its own pilot, and shortly after that pilot started, funding from Citi had sparked plans to take the New York City classes to all five boroughs and to translate it into four languages.

Etsy’s partner organizations…market the classes through their networks and host them in their spaces. Etsy provides the curriculum, which covers topics like marketing, photography, pricing, and growth strategies, and helps finds successful Etsy sellers to be teachers. Only students with existing craft skills can enroll.

Unlike most economic development plans, what appeals to cities about Etsy’s craft entrepreneurship program is not that it creates full-time jobs. Etsy sellers are unlikely to start businesses that employee other people. In fact, they’re unlikely in the short term to even make enough money to fully support themselves. “We’re not telling that story,” says Dana Mauriello, who oversaw development of the Craft Entrepreneurship program for Etsy. “Because we don’t think that’s a practical goal in the short term. We want to start with what we know is realistic in the short term, which is, if you can sell an item this week, that’s great. And if that goes toward your savings, that goes toward paying your utility bill, that’s amazing.”

(Continue reading at FastCompany.com)

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