A scheme for entrepreneurs in ceramics and other crafts to test and pilot their products and concepts at Taito department at the Finnish Craft & Design Fair
Taitoliitto (Taito - Finnish Crafts Organization) is a renowned craft organisation that has promoted crafts culture as skills and trade in Finland since its foundation in 1913. The Finnish Craft & Design Fair, held in the city of Tampere, is the largest handicrafts and applied arts industry fair in Europe, bringing annually together over 50.000 professionals and hobbyists since 1995. The fair is organised by Tampereen Messut Oy (Tampere Trade Fairs ltd).
Together these actors have launched a new scheme for practitioners of ceramics and other crafts to test and pilot their products and concepts at the Finnish Craft & Design Fair. Participants to the scheme are selected by Taitoliitto through applications following a public call. Applicants are expected to be young or new entrepreneurs or established entrepreneurs willing to pilot/test their innovative new products or services.
Selected practitioners are endowed with a stand at the Taito Enterprise-Lab department, where they can present and sell their goods, test new products and services, collect feedback from customers or invite them to co-design processes. It is also possible to test market products in the Taito Shop webstore. The selected practitioners gain visibility through Finnish Craft & Design Fair website and social media channels. Also, through one-year free membership in Suomen Yrittäjät, the largest business federation in Finland, the practitioners can access courses and consulting in business skills.
- Staff resources from the organisation for arranging the call, for selecting participants, their guidance, and for preparing the fair department.
- Infrastructure for the fair department, including the stand, electricity and lighting.
- Resources for online visibility / webstore.
Evidence of success
Although the practice is new, the initial call already raised interest with numerous applications sent in. Four out of 23 applicants were selected to the scheme. This illustrates that the scheme was well-responded and that the organisers are considered relevant, reliable and highly valued actors in the sector.
Another factor supporting the success of this practice is that it is launched with intention to continue the practice in the coming years.
No challenges yet encountered.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Enterprise-Lab is a pragmatic practice with a relatively light need of resources. Public institutions can self modify and adopt this practice or implement it in co-operation with relevant partners. The public body can, for example, cover for expenses for each practitioner participating the scheme while the partner body hosts the Lab. The practice can be combined with different forums, other than craft fairs, that support specific aspects of ceramic SMEs’ products or services. In this way, the practice can be used to lower the threshold for traditional SMEs to enter new markets.
Selected actors are supported throughout the process to maximise their learning experience, but the practice also spurs them to independent activity, to look for additional courses and consulting in business skills. The focus is on gaining experience and new knowledge in well-thought and practical ways. Therefore, the importance of different resources for the coordination and guidance should be valued.
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