From Jim Biggs, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center –
Knoxville is one of the 25 best Maker Cities in America, according to an article published on PopularMechanics.com. All of the communities named in the article focus “on a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity,” writes author Tim Newcomb. They are “the places that embrace the maker culture and let that ingenuity flourish.”
The article cited the City of Knoxville’s support as one of the influences that help elevate the maker community here.
“We are thrilled to be listed alongside other cities on the forefront of the Maker movement,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero of the recognition. “Knoxville is proud to be The Maker City, and we continue put a high value on helping our entrepreneur community grow and thrive.”
Knoxville amped up its commitment to the maker movement in 2016 with the formation of The Mayor’s Maker Council, which convenes local creatives to brainstorm partnerships, programming and opportunities in support of the maker community. The City works with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center to implement programs of The Maker City (themakercity.org), a project that embraces the idea that local crafters and artisans can make a living doing what they love.
The Maker City supports the maker community in a variety of ways: by hosting bimonthly maker meetups and informal lunch-and-learn sessions called Make. Learn. Grow.; hosting the annual Maker City Summit, a daylong conference that brings together a wide variety of experts on making and entrepreneurship for seminars, workshops and one-on-one advisory sessions; curating an online maker directory that makes it easy for consumers to search for handmade goods and contractors to look for small-scale manufacturers and fabricators; teaching free Etsy Entrepreneurship classes to help makers establish online businesses; and publishing an updated list of markets and festivals to help makers find places to sell their wares.
Knoxville joins two dozen other maker communities in the list: Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, S.C.; Detroit; Kansas City; Providence; Boston; Louisville; Baltimore; Cincinnati; Nashville; Minneapolis; Indianapolis; New Haven, Conn.; Asheville; Des Moines; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Maine.; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; Austin; Pittsburgh; Seattle; San Diego; and Santa Fe, N.M.