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Maker City Summit offers entrepreneurs sustainability, growth strategies

KNOXVILLE – The Maker City Summit 2018 will bring together a host of experts in a variety of business disciplines to help local artists, craftspeople and small entrepreneurs earn a living doing what they love.

The third annual summit will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Mill and Mine in Knoxville.

Chase Reeves, co-founder and creative director of, will give the keynote address about how to design a business that will stay afloat. Marianne Canada, executive producer for Discovery Inc.’s digital team and head of the HGTV Handmade YouTube channel, and Eric Meyerson, chief marketing officer of Sensai, will discuss how to reach your audience with online marketing and social media.

The event will bring in panelists to address topics including finding your target customer, being smart about strategic growth, maintaining work-life balance and making the most of rejection. Workshop leaders will discuss legal issues and wholesaling. Knoxville-area entrepreneurs also will share their successes and challenges throughout the day.

In addition, makers may spend one-on-one time with experts in a variety of fields, work with local photographers to improve their photography skills and consult with Etsy entrepreneurs to learn ways to optimize their Etsy shops. Dana Walsh, brand marketing manager with Weebly, will help makers with e-commerce tools and guidance.

“Knoxville is The Maker City, and we were a city of makers a long time before we started calling ourselves The Maker City. We come out of an Appalachian heritage where everything from furniture to food was made from scratch,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “But now we have a new explosion of modern makers. Makers represent our future as much as they reflect our past.”

"Knoxville is lucky to have so many talented makers. It's my dream that The Maker City Summit will continue to draw those people out so we can build a supportive, strong, fun community that can have a real effect on our local economy." said Alaina Smith, chair of The Maker City’s Summit committee.

Registration is $44, which includes coffee and donuts, lunch, evening cocktails and a T-shirt. Participants also may sign up in advance for free 15-minute Ask the Experts consultations. A complete schedule of programs and presenters is available at

The summit is presented by the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Maker Council in partnership with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Launch TN.

Published August 31, 2018

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