South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium

Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration

SouthWorks MakerLab Network Receives Grant From The Coleman Foundation for Maker Entrepreneurship Program

SMHEC’s SouthWorks MakerLab Network Receives Grant From The Coleman Foundation for Maker Entrepreneurship Program

SMHEC has received a one-year, $55,900 grant from The Coleman Foundation to provide training to entrepreneurs whose businesses center on physical products.

Through our SouthWorks MakerLab Network, SMHEC will develop and deliver entrepreneurship education and support with resources specific to making/manufacturing for aspiring entrepreneurs who may not be professionally trained designers or engineers or otherwise have access to manufacturing capabilities. The programming will have two distinct tracks- one for craft/artisan- type businesses and another for businesses making a wider range of physical product-based products. Each track will provide access to the MakerLab and resources for fabricating the product and creating a business.

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Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship programs will run twice during the year. Etsy is an online marketplace for hand-crafted and vintage goods with nearly 29 million purchasers from nearly every country on the planet. SouthWorks is the exclusive provider of Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program, which provides a six-session training program to help artisans successfully create and manage their online store on Etsy. Selling on Etsy can provide supplemental income from their talents, and many Etsy sellers even build full-time businesses employing additional people.

Maker Entrepreneurship will provide training and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs with a product idea who have been thwarted by limited access to prototyping and manufacturing resources. Activities during the year will include community-building events, makerlab sessions, effective prototyping, design thinking training and consulting in order to build a product that meets user needs, lean startup techniques for physical products, and identifying eventual production resources.

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The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grant-making foundation established in Illinois in 1951. The Foundation supports educational institutions offering entrepreneurship education, organizations providing cancer treatment, education and support, and agencies providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities only in the Chicago Metropolitan area - its primary geographical focus.