On Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton annouced the launch of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise at the annual meeting of the International Council of Woman's Business Leaders (ICWBL). The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise is a private-public partnership between the Aspen Institute the U.S. Department of State with the Aspen Institute acting as Secretariat.
Directly following Secretary Clinton's announcment, the Aspen Institute and the U.S. Department of State hosted the formal launch of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise at the U.S. State Department. Representatives from the 24 founding organizations as well as approximately 150 private sector executives, senior government officials, and non-profit organizations participated in the event.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world, largely women, participate in the artisan sector. Behind agriculture, artisan activity is the second largest employer and in the developing world, often the primary means of income. However, the value chain for artisan enterprises is fragmented and fraught with barriers that inhibit greater economic value and returns from occurring. To address these challenges, the Aspen Institute's Alliance for Artisan Enterprise will enable companies, non-profits, governments, and international organizations to collaborate to support and grow artisan enterprises, provide best practice services to the organizations that support them, and to support the broader recognition of the importance of the artisan sector to development, economic growth and preservation of cultural heritage.