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Small-batch manufacturing needs connections to grow

June 27, 2019

In a recent report focused on the impact of the small-scale manufacturing sector, the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) compiled what they say is a first-ever examination of what this emerging sector looks like and what may help charge its growth. They found an information gap on these businesses, as many of them combine design, art and production, and fall outside of data collection categories used to classify manufacturers. The report begins to identify the role and economic potential of these emerging businesses to help local stakeholders identify actions they might take to grow the small-scale manufacturing sector.

UMA focused on firms in six cities: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Milwaukee, Portland (Oregon), and Philadelphia. They surveyed nearly 600 producers and found the consistent theme that many innovative, hard-working entrepreneurs are fabricating goods in local economies that have fewer resources, and they need more help. To help build these businesses and overcome challenges, the UMA report includes potential solutions to some of the common problems they found. For example, they suggest more diverse and creative approaches to connect job candidates to the manufacturing sector, taking a multi-stakeholder approach to capital access, finding ways to connect unrealized partners, and more. The State of Urban Manufacturing is available here.

manufacturing