Posted by: John Tozzi on September 17, 2008
Stowe Boyd points us to CraftNetwork, another craft marketplace connecting developing world artisans with customers around the world, along the lines of the World of Good eBay store I mentioned here earlier this month.
CraftNetwork adds an enterprise development aspect to help its artisan suppliers expand their businesses. As with World of Good, CraftNetwork has clear parallels with Kiva, connecting entrepreneurs on the sales side rather than the lending side.
Earlier this year, I read Jeffrey Sachs’ book The End of Poverty, about what it would take to help the roughly 1 billion people who live on $1 a day or less escape what Sachs calls a “poverty trap” to get a foothold on the economic ladder. Once they have the foothold, they can climb further themselves. But among the barriers to getting on the ladder is a lack of access to markets. For example, in countries with poor road infrastructure, even successful farmers may not be able to get their crops to cities to sell.
So for artisans, sites like CraftNetwork and World of Good provide access to markets, just as Kiva’s microloans provide access to capital. Both are crucial steps in making entrepreneurship sustainable in the developing world. Are there other marketplaces like these out there?