What We Do
We teach women entrepreneurs the skills that they need to create sustainable micro-enterprises.
We support women’s empowerment around the world. By developing their capacity, we help women create sustainable livelihoods for themselves. Greater financial autonomy and the ability to generate their own income empowers women and extends a positive influence to their families and their communities.
Artistri Sud is a charitable organization launched in 2009 and based in Montreal, Canada. It was founded to respond to the needs of craftswomen in developing countries who are trying to access global markets in order to sell their goods and generate revenue for their families.
These artisans face many challenges—ranging from not knowing how to take a photo of their item to not knowing how to complete export documentation. Artistri Sud was created to meet these needs and help close the gap on poverty while conserving traditional crafts and skills.
We believe that ethical, sustainable business can help provide solutions to pressing social problems in the developing world, starting with poverty. And we know that traditional skills and know-how will certainly be lost if craftspeople cannot earn an income from them. We target women in particular because research shows that when women have their own money, they can usually influence how it’s spent, and they spend it on their children’s health and education. And we think this is the way to change the world.
What they Learn
Basic small business skills are essential for empowering micro-entrepreneurs to create sustainable revenue. Many see their business as strictly defined by their capacity to produce a given product, and not their ability to manage other critical aspects of their enterprise. An important focus of our training is in marketing and business development, which are essential skills for maximizing opportunities presented by local, regional, and international markets.
Global markets offer opportunities to developing world craftswomen only to the extent that they are able to meet their challenges and demands. Artistri Sud trains women to analyze and segment the market in order to innovate their product offering to meet the needs of the marketplace. We also focus on developing their creativity and technical skills with the objective of ensuring they have the skills and tools they need to nurture the inspiration needed to innovate their products in an informed and organic way. We also support artisans in analyzing and documenting their cultural heritage assets, to provide a framework for negotiating the discord between the need to innovate and the need to conserve.
A lack of resources means that poor women artisans are typically reactive and disorganized in their approach to creating and capitalizing on business opportunities. We provide the framework within which they can think strategically about their micro-enterprises while responding to unforeseen changes in the marketplace. Artistri Sud helps provide them with a long-term view and the strategy and tactics to develop their business so as to be viable over the long-haul.
Artistri Sud offers training programs tailored to meet the needs of women working in the handicraft and small business farming sector around the world. We view the ability to generate revenue and financial independence as critical to their empowerment in social, political and legal spheres. We focus on developing self-esteem as well as the leadership and entrepreneurship skills essential to building sustainable livelihoods in precarious conditions. Our approach encourages women to view themselves as capable, competent agents with essential life skills and experiences who are able to effect meaningful change in their lives.
We provide training in conducting market research to enable the women to create responsive and effective business strategies that will ensure their sustainability. Understanding markets is essential, not only for sales, but also to the extent that artisans choose to incorporate market trends and needs into their product innovation process.