LUMS launches support for craft businesses

By Tim Aldred

02 Mar 2022

Lancaster University Management School has designed a new support programme for creative craft and artisan businesses.

The university has launched CASCADE, a three-year collaborative research project led by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and supported by partners in the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria and Poland.

The aim is to inspire innovation by building the confidence of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the support and digital skills needed to stabilise and grow their businesses

The project involves a team of researchers hosting a series of funded workshops for entrepreneurs from across the UK and Europe in order to get an in-depth understanding of the barriers facing creative workers.

Researchers are using these insights to develop a free and accessible ‘toolkit’ for the sector, consisting of interactive learning guides on important topics such as inter-generational learning, digital marketing and how to effectively price products and services.

Dr Carolyn Downs of Lancaster University Management School is leading the project. She said: "The craft, artisan and creative sectors have enormous potential for the growth and sustainable development of communities, yet, sadly many workers in these sectors find themselves in precarious employment – and with access to little support.

"Lots of creative workers begin their business with a hobby and many seem to battle with confidence – which seems to be a big limiting factor for business growth. Some incredibly talented people we have spoken to appear to underestimate the worth of their craft, and can encounter problems as they are not selling their products at a price that reflects the time, skill and high-quality materials involved.

"Through this project we hope to boost the confidence and skillsets of entrepreneurs so they are equipped to maximise the potential of their businesses. We also hope to create a strong peer-network of creative workers so they can support each other, link up and potentially find new markets for their products and services."

It is co-funded by Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Union. Registrations are now open for craft and artisan workers to explore issues and opportunities surrounding sustainability and circular production either during an online workshop on Tuesday 8 March from 6pm-9pm or an in-person workshop at Lancaster University on Thursday 10 March between 1pm-5pm.

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