Blank News Feature: A Year in the Making

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Knoxville officially became The Maker City this year.

With generous support from the City of Knoxville and the inspired brand identity gifted to the City by local firm Designsensory, we have claimed Knoxville’s place on the national maker stage.

The Maker City is the network bringing together makers, artists, developers, manufacturers, city officials, and entrepreneurs to create a stronger maker community. The Mayor’s Maker Council, in partnership with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, developed a year-long series of programs, workshops and networking events designed to build an informed and collaborative city, one that fully embraces the Maker Movement. We’re proud to share with you the highlights of this year that will propel us together into 2018.

 Photo by Shawn Pointer Photography

Photo by Shawn Pointer Photography

The Maker City Summit 2017 was twice as large as last year!

We doubled the number of informative sessions at this year’s summit, hosted in September at The Mill & Mine, by running two “tracks” of panel discussions and keynote addresses to help makers run more successful businesses. The new “Ask the Experts” sessions were a huge hit, as attendees had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with local experts on topics in fields like accounting, photography, branding, web design, and social media.

Knoxville was selected as 1 of 4 cities to receive a Smart Growth America Small Scale Manufacturing & Economic Development Grant.

Over the course of three days, representatives from SGA and local firm Recast City met with makers, realtors, developers, business and community leaders to glean information about local opportunities and challenges. The resulting report provided Knoxville a set of steps to support small-scale manufacturing businesses.

Knoxville received a Nation of Makers grant to convene key stakeholders in our community to discuss the role of the Maker Movement as it relates to areas such as education, entrepreneurship, workforce development, manufacturing, community revitalization, and community-based problem-solving.

The Mayor’s Maker Council remains actively involved in the ReCode Knoxville process, advocating for the maker community. The rewriting of the City’s zoning ordinances provides the opportunity to make our city more small-business and small-scale manufacturing friendly.

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Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship program created over 50 new Etsy shop owners in Knoxville.

This multi-module workshop series trained local makers to open, run, grow, and sustain a thriving Etsy business online. Students worked through rigorous, hands-on lessons designed to improve their photography, market their products, and manage their business. We look forward to hosting this program again in 2018!

The Maker Directory grew to 150+ members!

You can browse Knoxville-area makers by category on our sleek, updated website, themakercity.org. Discover local handmade gifts and collectibles, and connect with the perfect collaborator on your next project.

 Photo by Maranda Vandergriff

Photo by Maranda Vandergriff

We hosted 300+ makers at five Maker Meetups.

The resounding feedback at The Maker City Summit 2016 included requests for more maker-centric networking events. Meetup hosts provided a tour of their facility, shared their maker journey, and offered insight into their process of making.

Promotional partners opened new audiences for local makers.

Blank Newspaper features premium positioning of monthly maker stories and news. Knoxville Weekend supports these stories creating stellar videos about local maker businesses. Visit Knoxville highlights local makers and their handmade goods available for purchase by our visitors.

In 2018, we will continue to evolve The Maker City and its relationships within the Knoxville community to better serve our makers. We aim to host more social events, provide more business support and training, and create even more opportunities for makers to grow their businesses.