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Winn Family Foundation Supports Expansion of Nest’s Artisan Accelerator Program

Maddalena Forcella, co-founder of Madda Studio, stands with Julian, a studio weaver, at a loom. Madda Studio is a member of the 2021 Artisan Accelerator cohort.

The Artisan Accelerator program is growing thanks to multi-year support from the Winn Family Foundation, and ongoing support from the Swarovski Foundation. Since its launch in 2018, Nest’s Artisan Accelerator program has helped businesses provide quality employment to over 14,000 artisans, supporting the wellbeing and livelihoods of those workers. In 2021, Nest is expanding the program cohort to include 50 artisan businesses, representing 19,515 artisans across 28 countries. In total, the members of this cohort, which includes a sub-cohort of refugee-focused artisan businesses funded by Alwaleed Philanthropies, practice 28 handcraft techniques enabling artisans to preserve their cultural skills and traditions while providing access to meaningful job opportunities.

Past AA20 participant, Larone Crafts shared, “The fellowship experience with Nest as an Artisan Accelerator cohort member is game-changing! The access to expertise in particular aspects of the business that we were having trouble with allowed us to focus on solutions through re-education, discussion and planning. The lessons are so numerous that I am still letting them marinate in my consciousness. For sure, these will influence the way I run my business and engage with customers and artisans alike in the next twenty years.”

Process shots from Batik Boutique (L) and Bombay Atelier (R). Both businesses are members of the 2021 Artisan Accelerator cohort.

Through the Artisan Accelerator program, Nest provides one-on-one support to each participating business to address their unique challenges and scale their growth and social impact. Since its launch, the program has helped 27 participating businesses across 17 countries increase their market access by 34% and generated $1,455,000 in total new revenue for program participants. Furthermore, the program has directly supported 14,015 artisans, the majority of whom were women, and 77,063 indirect beneficiaries.

Recognized as the preeminent incubator for artisan enterprises, Nest is building on its success and iterating on the program structure based on feedback from experts and participants. The new structure includes an extended timeline and highlights the program’s key attributes: targeted capacity building, sourcing and market access, and ethical handcraft compliance. All 50 businesses of the 2021 cohort will go through a Strategic Growth Assessment, six weeks of group training, a mentoring session with industry experts. Following these activities, 30 participants will be selected to receive targeted capacity building support through fellowships–reaping the benefits of our Nest Expert Network. This group will be winnowed down to 20 businesses that will receive access to digital trade show and sales platforms like MOM, the Maison&Objet digital platform, and have the opportunity to network with other Nest brand partners. In the final phase of the program, 10 businesses will be invited to participate in the Ethical Handcraft program.

“Coming off a trying year there’s a new sense of hope and revived courage to carry on. Now more than ever, we need the accompaniment and steady hand of a partner like Nest to craft the most strategic path forward and grow our environmental and social impact,” shared Itza Wood, a 2021 cohort member. “We’re thrilled to have been selected for the Accelerator program because we know it will set a solid foundation for growth and bridge us to expanded opportunities which will directly impact the women, youth, and rural populations of a rather disconnected and forgotten part of Guatemala.”

Process shots from Tharangini Studio (L) and Five P Venture (R). Both businesses are members of the 2021 Artisan Accelerator cohort.

Nest is looking forward to Itza Wood’s progression through the program along with all of the other 2021 cohort members and will continue to share updates on the learning and impact of this new, expanded direction.

Please see a complete list of 2021 Artisan Accelerator cohort members below:

Artisan Accelerator Businesses from North America

2nd Story Goods, Haiti
Aleppo Savon, Canada
Anuprerna, Canada
Madda Studio, Mexico
Patricia Govea Collection, Mexico
Refugee Artisan Initiative, USA

Artisan Accelerator Businesses from South America

Itza Wood, Guatemala
Mayan Hands Foundation, Guatemala
Finatur Colombia Foundation, Colombia
YUMAJAI, Colombia

Artisan Accelerator Businesses from Europe

Love Welcomes, Greece

Artisan Accelerator Businesses from Africa

AAKS, Algeria
Azizi Life, Rwanda
Bawa Hope, Kenya
Collaborative Craft Projects, Zimbabwe
Eclectic Chique, Nigeria
Hadithi Crafts, Kenya
Kenana Knitters, Kenya
Yadawee, Egypt

Artisan Accelerator Businesses from Asia

Angel Chang, China
Artisan Links, Pakistan
Batik Boutique, Malaysia
BayDar & Co., Myanmar
Bebemoss, Turkey
Bombay Atelier, India
Collective Humanity, Cambodia
Craft Stories and Lai, India
Creative Artisans Private Limited, India
Darzah, Israel (West Bank)
Five P Venture, India
gocoop, India
HDIF Armenia
Lal10, India
LIKHA, The Philippines
Ma Té Sai, Laos
Mbare, Egypt
Mint + Laurel, Syria
Nomadnoos, Nepal
Ock Pop Tok, Laos
OHRNA, India
Rim N’ Roll, Lebanon
Rochak Handknit Craft, Nepal
Sabbara, Lebanon
Sirohi by Skilled Samaritan Foundation, India
Soil to Studio, India
Solid Crafts (Solid Diamanta), India
Tharangini Studio, India
Vista 360° and AIDAI, Kyrgyzstan
Vrijesh Vestio, India
Waste Studio, Lebanon