Coloradans have a knack for discovering their passion and utilizing it to support an economic future. Pueblo is one of the many examples of communities that have found this balance and are being recognized for it.
Pueblo was recently named a 2019 Maker Cities Grantee by Etsy. 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.
While the grant will help support all Pueblo creatives, it emphasizes helping differently-abled community members and those with limited economic means. This effort complements those of the state by expanding economic opportunities to ensure they reach all Coloradans.
Pueblo has many other resources available to them to help in this effort. The Southern Colorado Economic Development District partnered with the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center to drive its creative economy effort through Pueblo Makes.
Pueblo Makes is a community collective with incredible potential that harnesses participants’ creative skills and supports them with entrepreneurial education. The Etsy grant will be used for custom-designed training, technical assistance and mentoring to help makers become entrepreneurs and expand the creative economy throughout the town.
The Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will provide the entrepreneurial education funded by this grant and includes business training, advising and technical assistance. The SBDC is focused on one-on-one business coaching and has vast experience working with solo entrepreneurs in the creative industries.
“An artist is an expert of their craft, but may not be an expert in strategic planning, financial management or marketing,” says Chaimie Pewitt, executive director of the Southern Colorado SBDC. “From ideation to established businesses, we will provide the business expertise and coaching so that artists can monetize their passion.”
Colorado is home to 23 state-certified Creative Districts and numerous cultural venues that showcase creative expression.The state values its creative industries and supports many forms of expression including design, film and media, heritage, literature and publishing, performing arts and visual arts and crafts.
“Pueblo’s Creative Corridor was certified by the state in 2014,” says Margaret Hunt, Director of Colorado Creative Industries. “They acquired several historic buildings for creative entrepreneurs and maker’s space through our Creative District Community Loan Fund in 2016.”