Clinton Global Initiative Commitment To Action to ProvideInnovative Financing for the Artisan Sector

September 23, 2014

Press Release


For Immediate Release

Katie Drasser
The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise
The Aspen Institute


Clinton Global Initiative Commitment To Action to ProvideInnovative Financing for the Artisan Sector
Aspen Institute, United States Department of State, Kiva, & artisan businesses in over
20 countries to provide new financial products

New York City, NY, September 23, 2014 –– The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to create innovative financing for the artisan sector at the 10th CGI Annual Meeting. In partnership with the United States Department of State, Kiva and artisan businesses in over 20 countries this CGI Commitment to Action will fund new financial products that will unlock much needed financing for artisan businesses around the world. The financing will be distributed through loans from Kiva. More details on the program is available here.

“We are proud to launch this innovative financing effort that will dramatically impact the growth of artisan businesses” said Peggy Clark, director of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise and Vice President at the Aspen Institute. “It’s time to demonstrate the value of this sector that has been misunderstood and under resourced for too long. There is so much untapped potential for global development in the artisan sector, especially as we focus on women and girls. Now is the moment.

As a member-based organization, the Alliance’s mission is to elevate the power and potential of the artisan sector by addressing systemic barriers to artisan business growth, of which access to capital is a key barrier. As Alliance Board Member, Jacqueline Novogratz recently tweeted, “the artisan sector is the next frontier in impact investing”.

The artisan sector is the second largest employer in the developing world after agriculture yet it is rarely seen as a driver of economic development (USAID, 2006: “Global Market Assessment for Handicrafts). Thousands of artisan businesses provide income to individuals and revenue to communities, yet they lack basic business supports and resources to help them grow. A key barrier to growth, stability, and scale for artisan businesses is a lack of access to appropriate financing (Alliance Member Impact Survey 2013). Artisan businesses need innovative financing products specifically tailored to the artisan business asset conversion cycle. They also need access to social impact lenders that can raise the capital needed to support the growth and development of the businesses run by the hundreds of thousands of individuals working in this sector. As Carlos Pierre, Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Kiva said recently, “we want to ensure that most artisans don’t have to imagine what a better life could be like, but that they can actually experience it”.

The depth of the economic impact of artisan enterprise is often not fully appreciated. The artisan sector generates income, creates jobs, fosters community development, sustains ancient techniques, and safeguards culture and meaning that is an essential component of healthy and sustainable development–development that is grounded in the uniqueness of people and place. In conflict regions, economic community through artisan work can promote reconciliation, healing, and empowerment. Better integrating artisans into the global economy would increase the incomes and standard of living of many individuals and their families in the developing world, yielding micro-economic benefits that, properly scaled, could collectively transform the economic landscape of certain nations as a whole.

For more information on the initial loan product through the Alliance and Kiva:

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, hosted at the Aspen Institute, was launched by former Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2012. The Alliance is a collaborative effort of over 45 members, including small and medium enterprises, corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals who are working together to promote the full potential of artisan enterprises around the world. As a platform for public-private partnerships, the Alliance leverages the collective strength of our members to break down barriers commonly faced in the artisan sector. The mission of the Alliance is to support the power and potential of the artisan sector, to create jobs, increase incomes, enhance cultural heritage and promote development that respects the uniqueness of people and place. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at


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