R.I.S.E. Artisan

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The R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund invests in and supports early-stage artisan enterprises that create sustainable livelihoods for rural communities with few economic alternatives. Created in partnership between Sprout Enterprise and Realize Impact.

Impact Opportunity

Micro, small and early-stage artisan enterprises typically lack the capital resources necessary for them to grow successfully. Catalytic capital is needed to support artisan enterprises in building more effective sales distribution, more efficient operations and more timely financial reporting. Only with appropriate capital and support will these artisan enterprises be able to grow.

Investment in artisan enterprises addresses key impact investment themes:

Women’s empowerment

The artisan sector is the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year according to the Artisan Alliance1. Artisan activity creates jobs, increases local incomes, and preserves cultural traditions that in many places are at risk of being lost. Over 65% of artisan activity takes place in developing economies.

The majority of artisans are small producers – often women – working informally which too often means this is an overlooked, undervalued and underfunded economic sector with still untapped potential.  At the same time, it is well recognized that women are key drivers of economic growth. According to USAID to eradicate extreme poverty and build vibrant economies in developing countries, women must gain access to and control of capital, land, markets, education and leadership opportunities.

Sustainability

Craft is the original circular economy. The craft story is in many ways what the story of craft has always been – of artisans making use of waste, left over or found materials, of design and innovation to perform the alchemy of material transformation into a product of function and beauty, of expressing and sharing cultural and community values, and of telling the stories of each generation.

Made by hand using or reusing local, natural materials, craft can have a lighter environmental impact than large-scale, machine-powered, industrial production.  Use of hand-powered processes, natural materials and recycled inputs, reduces energy needs and avoids toxic waste entering and eroding the environment.

Climate change

Clean energy innovation enables pioneering artisan enterprises to reduce their reliance on energy from fossil fuels. Solar energy powers equipment and lighting. Methane collected from local bio-digesters replaces propane transported from processing plants miles and miles away. Gasification of pine needles – a fire hazard cleared from forest floors – replaces use of diesel fuel to run power generators. Agricultural waste packed in briquettes replace charcoal for firing clay, and re-designed furnaces burn more efficiently.

Impact Investment Portfolio

The R.I.S.E Artisan Fund deploys capital using a range of investment vehicles from grants to revenue-based equity investments while seeking a return of capital for further investment, creating a reinvestment cycle that multiplies the catalytic impact of philanthropic capital.

R.I.S.E Artisan Fund invests in artisan enterprises who are redesigning business models based on:

  • Sustainable and ethical business practices
  • Skills development and training to increase sales and profitability for producers
  • Revenue or profit sharing with producers
  • Revitalization, revaluation and representation of traditional crafts and cultural heritage
  • Shared ownership structures around brand, design and stories

Impact Highlights

Since its inception, Sprout Enterprise® has generated more than $630,000 in international sales augmenting the international sales growth and business development of its artisan partners. More than $1.3 million in international grants have funded sustainable development initiatives in rural communities benefiting more than 2 million people.

Invest in the R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund

To invest in the R.I.S.E. Artisan Fund, you make a tax-deductible contribution directly to Realize Impact or make a grant from your donor advised fund (DAF).

The funds you invest will be reinvested again and again, multiplying the impact of your gift and the difference you make with your contribution.

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