The Nest Professional Fellowship Program matches artisan producers with high caliber industry experts, and has proven to be one of Nests strongest assets to date. Nest is committed to expanding this program through the formation of strategic partnerships with existing corporate volunteer and employee engagement programs. Most major companies today are instituting volunteer paid time off ranging anywhere from five to 80 hours annually, and with hundreds of employees at each of these companies, there is an unprecedented opportunity if time and skills are directed strategically for massive global impact within the artisan sector.
The commitment leverages brand partnership to utilize the Nest Professional Fellowship Program to ensure that artisan training is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. Nest aims to grow brand partnerships to reach 100,000 artisans and be fully self-sustainable in the next three years.
Nests decade-long involvement in the artisan sector means that the organization intimately understands the needs and challenges that exist within the space, as well as the context-appropriate solutions that can drive change. And history shows the huge impact and efficiency potential of Nests Professional Fellowship Program specifically: In 2015, artisan businesses receiving fellowship support saw an increase of 76% in revenue and 45% in production through 48 completed fellowships, representing 4,966 volunteer hours or $293,925 in donated consulting services. Nests service provision cost for these fellowships was $24 per artisan, but with strategic investment in 2016, Nest has brought costs down to $5. Because Nests program leverages highly skilled, industry-immersed volunteer consultants, implementation costs remain low while the value brought to the artisan is 10 times (or $49 of value per $5 spent on servicing).
2017 Action Plan:
Expansion through like-minded brand partners in fashion and lifestyle industries, and expand portfolio to include educational institutions such as business schools, fashion institutes and design schools. Grow artisan network with a targeted focus for on-site fellowship placements for US artisans. Invest in a more robust website to house growing opportunities and matching needs.
Target partners: Fashion + Lifestyle companies and US and European MBA programs
Q1 Program growth through Lifestyle brands five new brands acquired
Q2 US artisan supply expansion 10 new groups entered into Nest Network
Q3 Build out of fellowship website
Q4 MBA partnerships relationships with four institutions established
2018 Action Plan:
Model refinement for increased scalability and program impact. Targeting function-based corporations (in high demand areas) for artisan programming. Additional focus on monitoring and evaluation to enhance refinement period.
Target Partners: Financial institutions, global logistics, and enterprise software
Q1 Launch Monitoring & Evaluation process
Q2 Financial institution partnerships two firms engaged
Q3 Global logistics partnerships relationships with two companies established
Q4 Begin seeking relationships with technology resources lay groundwork with four tech firms
2019 Action Plan:
Driving artisan growth and advancement through technology. Partnering directly with technology companies to bring skilled employers on-site to address and support technology integration into artisan businesses. Build out of a new program offering, Reverse Fellowships, where artisan business leaders are sponsored by brand partners to spend two weeks outside of their home location and in cities that serve as market hubs to learn directly from industry leaders and receive market immersion.
Target Partners: Tech and Travel industries
Q1 Clearly define artisan needs in technology
Q2 - Travel and technology partnerships establish partnerships with three Hotel/Air companies and solidify relationships with four Tech firms
Q3 Reverse Fellowship program pilot
Q4 Focus on growth strategy of Reverse Fellowships
With the recent adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have marked the beginning of a new era of international development. Gender is a central feature of the SDGs Outcome Document; it is highlighted as a standalone outcome and goal (SDG 5) and is integrated throughout the agreement.
To advance gender equality targets, Nest is joining a coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International, focusing on three core issue areas: 1) Promoting Womens Economic Participation; 2) Addressing Violence Against Girls and Women; and, 3) Advancing Womens Leadership in both Private and Public sectors.
Despite assumptions that artisan work is niche or highly localized, it is the second largest field for women in emerging markets. It represents tens of millions of workers, yet these artisans are among the lowest paid of the worlds workforce (WEIGO). However, craft production has significant benefits: it enables women to work while caring for dependents; provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent; and reduces urban migration. With growing consumer demand for ethical production, companies seek to include artisan production in their supply chains, but there are currently too few artisan businesses ready to produce at the needed scale.
There is a lack of access to the skill development and vocational training needed to advance artisan businesses. Current efforts to train, mentor, and consult with artisan businesses are often unsuccessful at overcoming key market hurdles, delivered by volunteers with no professional experience in the global fashion and home goods market in which artisans must compete to succeed.
Over the past decade, Nest has established itself as the definitive destination for artisan business development. Nests open-access Artisan Guild currently comprises over 185 artisan groups spanning 40 countries, reaching over 40,000 individual workers. Nest leverages both technology and a network of Professional Fellows to ensure that solutions are affordable, scalable, and high impact.
The three primary needs for Nests commitment are: 1) Brand/Corporate Partnerships: Nest seeks partnerships with companies that can utilize Nests Professional Fellowship program as a turnkey solution for employee engagement to provide rich experiences, both from the office and via travel, to their employee base; 2) Bridge Philanthropy: Philanthropic bridge capital will allow Nest to invest in human resources needed to cultivate brand and corporate partners, build tailored programs, and implement fellowship placements with maximum impact; and 3) Technology Support: Nest seeks a technology partner to support the creation of a digital platform that would allow for more seamless matchmaking between beneficiaries and volunteer fellows to occur at scale. This digital platform would also enable for richer monitoring and evaluation as the programs grows.
Nest offers a unique platform for employee engagement and team building that will assist corporations in furthering both their CSR and HR commitments. The Professional Fellowship program provides a turnkey opportunity for employees to utilize corporate volunteer time in a way that maps directly to their experience and workplace skillsets. All Nest Professional Fellowships are highly customizable and designed to meet the needs of partner corporations and their employees while also addressing specific needs of artisan businesses in the Nest Guild global network. Nest provides access to a rich and diverse group of artisan businesses around the world whose needs can be directly matched with the skills of volunteer professionals from partner organizations.