European Union External Action

European Union and Empreza Diak launch “Cultural Entrepreneurship in Timor-Leste - A Driving Force for Inclusive Development and Equality”

24/01/2020 - 02:49
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The initiative will support a cultural entrepreneurship movement in Timor-Leste while partnering with rural women, men and youth to strengthen the handicraft sector and promote it as an employment and income mechanism for rural communities.


European Union and Empreza Diak launch the project “Cultural Entrepreneurship in Timor-Leste - A Driving Force for Inclusive Development and Equality”. The European Union funded initiative will provide USD 440,000 over three years to promote handicrafts in Dili/Atauro, Manatuto and Likisa. The project will help over 1,800 craftspeople from grassroots communities to flourish (at least 65% of whom will be women), and will build the capacity of civil society organisations working with the handicraft sector. The project will work closely with the Secretary of State for Art and Culture and the Secretary of State for Inclusion and Equality. 


Included among the activities of the project are: training on micro business for Atauro women's craft associations, support for craft exhibitions and the creation of a digital database to improve access to markets and shops.


Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union said: “Timorese handicrafts are unique. There's a huge range of beautiful things – tais, woven baskets and mats, paintings, pottery, jewellery, dolls, embroidered bags, musical instruments, metal knives and wood carvings. There are large domestic and export markets which remain underexploited. Handicrafts have huge potential to generate income in rural communities, especially for women who are incredibly skilled. I'm proud that this new project will help craftspeople maximize their potential, by making production more efficient, by providing better access to markets, and by helping them to run small businesses. The Cultural Entrepreneurship project has the potential to change very many lives for the better, while bringing joy to all those who will purchase Timor-Leste's beautiful handicrafts."


EMPREZA DIAK “Good Business” is an award-winning non-profit organisation fighting poverty and inequality in Timor-Leste since 2010 through women and community economic empowerment, using the power of business. “Our team, stakeholders and beneficiaries are extremely motivated with the support from the European Union. It will strengthen and widen our innovative and impactful work over the past decade building livelihood opportunities and strengthening the capacity of community groups and civil society organizations in the area of inclusive business and women economic empowerment” said Filipe Alfaiate, Co-Founder and Chairman of Empreza Diak.


ED’s innovative approach - researching, testing and implementing market based, sustainable opportunities to break the cycle of poverty of rural communities living outside the market economy - was recognized by the Government of Timor-Leste with the award of the prestigious “Sergio Vieira de Mello Human Rights Award” in 2014.

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