Press release from HandMade in America:
Asheville, NC – HandMade in America (HIA) announces a new fundraising initiative aimed at benefitting female artisans
and entrepreneurs from rural communities throughout Western North Carolina (WNC). This small fundraiser aims
to help female artists and entrepreneurs access the education and business training provided through HandMade in
America’s Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program.
Since its inception, the AWE program has helped hundreds of women in rural WNC grow and expand their small craft-
based businesses. The AWE program provides entrepreneurship education, career mentorship, support, and networking
opportunities to help businesswomen connect with one another, grow their businesses, and expand their skills. From
learning how to tell their story to knowing how to use social media and create business plans, each community of
women get the direct attention and education suited to their unique needs.
Linda LaBelle, HandMade’s Entrepreneurship Program Manager, knows firsthand how this program changes lives. “It is
just incredible, watching these women grow as artists, knowledgeable small business owners, and confident women.”
All donations received will go directly to scholarships and supplies the AWE program. The AWE program helps to
empower these women in rural WNC communities by providing them with tools to overcome the challenges that exist
in today’s economic climate. For every $60.00 donated, HandMade will be able to offer an AWE membership to one of
these unique craft artists and entrepreneurs for an entire year.
To learn more about the AWE fundraising campaign please visit their Indiegogo page.
HandMade in America envisions the WNC region as having a global reputation for a high quality of life, extensive cultural
offerings, and thriving, creative community industries where craft, heritage, and culture are seen as key investments.
Their service area covers the 25 counties of WNC and the Cherokee Qualla Boundary, which are predominantly rural
and includes 11,000 square miles. For over 19 years, HIA has collaborated with a variety of people, organizations,
and communities, built partnerships, connected resources, worked to revitalize 14 towns with populations of 2,000 or
less, and created numerous markets for craft artists (successfully growing the craft economy in WNC to $206.5 million in 2008.
HandMade in America grows economies through craft and creative placemaking, transforming both individuals and
communities through education, entrepreneurship and economic development. HandMade in America has a 19
year tradition for pioneering innovative ways to empower the people and towns of Western North Carolina through
programs that educate and facilitate the needs of creative entrepreneurs and communities. Additional information is
available online at handmadeinamerica.org or by calling (828) 252-0121.