Jim McMahon Published: Monday, 16th June 2014

Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, is thrilled to announce that it has partnered with Oldham for its first Craft Entrepreneurship Programme in the UK.

Set up in Rockford, Illinois in 2013, this innovative programme provides free micro-business training to local people with craft skills and a vision to start their own business.

The training will guide potential craft entrepreneurs to turn their creative skills or hobby into a viable self-employment opportunity.

The six week course, which will take place in two hour weekly lessons, will cover topics from business finance and how to start selling online to product photography and marketing.

Oldham Council and Oldham College are both backing this innovative programme which can provide a DIY solution for those out of work or looking to increase their income.

Registration for the six-week training programme, which starts on July 16, is now open and Oldham residents can apply.

The initiative came about following an approach to Etsy by Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, who met them to outline his ambitions for the borough.

Councillor McMahon said: "Etsy’s partnership in Illinois - where they took online retailing straight into the community - inspired me to think about the range of creative skills lying ‘dormant’ in Oldham and we're delighted to bring them to town."

"Manufacturing and craftsmanship have always been vital to our town’s prosperity and we're determined to support residents who want to do better in life and go for an opportunity that could be the start of something really positive for them.

"There is a notable rise in the kind of creative micro-businesses like those hosted on Etsy and we want to work together with them and Oldham College to unleash that creative entrepreneurial spirit.

"This scheme could represent a fulfilling way of helping people increase their household incomes.

"It also perfectly complements our Get Oldham Working campaign which not only aims to create 2,015 new job opportunities by 2015, but also to support our residents into good quality, fair employment which makes the most of their skills and experience.”

All learning will take place in Oldham College’s brand new Learning Hub in Oldham Town Centre, and sessions will be delivered by Etsy-trained teachers, including experienced local Etsy sellers like Nicola Rowlands who runs a thriving stationery and homeware business from her home in Manchester.

Matt Doris, International Community Programme Lead at Etsy said: “Oldham is no stranger to economic hard times, but with its history of craftsmanship and manufacturing excellence in the textile industry, it was the perfect choice to become our first UK partner for the programme.

“The Craft Entrepreneurship Programme will support local people by offering a viable path to supplemental income, which can make a real difference in their well-being. We’re excited to work with Oldham and we can’t wait to see how the programme develops.”

Etsy seller Nicola Rowlands, who will be running some of the sessions, said: “I'm excited about getting involved and meeting the students.

“Passing on knowledge is a hugely satisfying thing to do - and I'd really like to come away from this programme feeling like I'd helped someone on a path to becoming self employed by maybe sharing some of my own success and - more importantly- failure stories.

“Running a small business is no small feat and requires determination, creativity, some people skills and a lot of trial and error.  

“A lot of those things can't be taught but Etsy has been there for me every step of the way as a sort of backbone for my business and I'm looking forward to introducing a group of talented people to the wonderful ways they can let their businesses grow online by using their own determination and creativity.”

Register your interest by e-mailing: madeinoldham@oldham.gov.uk

The course will run from 16 July to 20 August every Wednesday morning between 10.30am and 12.30pm at Oldham College. The course is free with no restrictions

News archive Oldham Council news RSS feed