Moving Forward with Connection and Collaboration

As uncertainty looms across our cities and towns, we find ourselves reaching out for connection and opportunities to contribute. The Urban Manufacturing Alliance has built relationships with community leaders and organizations across the country, each with their own motivations and strategies for building more equitable communities in their part of the country and world — all through the lens of manufacturing.

Our network demonstrates a collective vision of how manufacturing can be a wealth building strategy for all communities. It shows how everyone can be part of an equitable economic system by embracing place and change, by forging new relationships, and by building supportive ecosystems. UMA acknowledges that no two cities or regions are exactly the same; but that only serves to strengthen how we work together to find out what makes a place unique and to find commonality and shared vision.

Below we have shared a couple upcoming events, and information about a recent collaboration in Birmingham, AL — all of which focus on bringing different stakeholder groups together to help continue our shared mission to collaborate, connect, and lift up communities by promoting making, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and inclusion.

Lastly we want to reinforce our appreciation and gratefulness to our community who, day-in and day-out, is doing the work to build new systems to promote wealth creation, inclusive communities, and racial equity.

In partnership,
The UMA Team

Looking ahead:

On Friday, November 6th, UMA is hosting our first Virtual Design Jam, in partnership with Design Core Detroit and the College of Creative Studies. COVID-19 has changed everything — including an awakening to how manufacturing, innovation, and technology will support our local and national health and economic recovery. The Design Jam brings together design students, professional designers, design faculty, manufacturing companies, makers, and entrepreneurs to tackle a design challenge leading to new product ideas using specific manufacturing processes, materials, and markets.

During this interactive, virtual session, teams mix their different expertise work together to design and prototype new COVID-related solutions. Design Jams shift product innovation, which typically happens behind a few closed doors, to a collective and open space — one where all types of voices influence the process. We have a few spots left, especially for designers, makers, and manufacturers. Click here to register.

On Thursday, November 12th, the Connecting Communities webinar series (a program supported by the Federal Reserve System initiative) is hosting its next event titled: Mobilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Rebuild Regional Economies. This webinar is an opportunity to hear from members of the Next Generation Sector Partnership. The partnership operates in 18 states around the country focusing on mobilizing business leaders from a single industry sector in a shared regional economy to work with one another and with a coordinated team of public partners to strengthen their industry and their community. This session will feature three Next Gen Sector Partnerships, based in Chicago, El Paso, and Northern Colorado. Each are examples of how activating local manufacturing business leaders to tackle shared challenges can have a dramatic impact on the overall resiliency of an industry and its community’s mid-sized manufacturers. Click here to register.

Looking back:

In September and October, UMA partnered with Nest to convene members of the Birmingham, AL maker community and their supporters in two workshops to discuss the process of creating a Local Brand Initiative (LBI). Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Business Accelerator, Made in Baltimore, Made in NYC, and Made in DC (all members of our LBI Community of Practice) provided their insight and expertise to the Birmingham community. Discussions covered the ways in which Local Brands can expand on individual maker brands, how a regional economy can be made more resilient and robust by promoting small businesses alongside large employers, as well as the process of building a manufacturer-focused entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance is a partnership of organizations working to sustain and grow local manufacturing in cities.