Help Ventures connect the dots to empower low-income entrepreneurs to improve their lives through small business ownership. Our goal is to connect our networks of staff, board, client, volunteer, and community supporters to raise $10,000 to support our mission in 2016.
Your donation will help us serve more people like Sal and LaMonica in 2016, giving them the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses, improve their financial stability, and change their lives (see Sal and LaMonica’s stories in the video to the left!).
Funds raised through Connect the Dots will help us meet our projected outcomes in the coming year, including:
- Providing business training for approximately 250 low-income participants;
- Delivering advanced training on sales, marketing, finances, and operations for at least 150 participants;
- Connecting at least 100 small product and food businesses to hands-on learning and revenue generation opportunities through our retail store and food programs like our food truck, commercial kitchen, and packaged food training.
- Deploying at least 22 microloans totaling over $50,000 for low-income individuals;
- Conducting at least 500 hours of customized one-on-one coaching for client-entrepreneurs; and
- Helping to grow at least 200 new business in the Puget Sound region.
Why We Do What We Do
Ventures addresses the need for living-wage jobs for low-income people of color, women, immigrants, refugees, and non-English speakers in the Puget Sound region. In South King County (where our services are concentrated), poverty rates are as high as 49% (more than three times the national average).[i] Small business development could be a pathway out of poverty for low-income individuals in our community. However, low-income individuals with good business ideas are unable to access business training and capital due to lack of assets and collateral, few social connections, low literacy or language proficiency, and inadequate education. Without traditional bank loans and the training needed to start small businesses, individuals are trapped in low-wage jobs, cycles of generational poverty, and financial instability. This severely limits households’ earning potential, and prevents small business development.
Ventures’ client profile:
- The average Ventures client supports a family of three on $22,267/year.
- 66% of current clients are women.
- 71% of current clients are people of color.
- 35% of current clients are Latinos.
Ventures aims to break this cycle of poverty by providing a toolbox of resources to equip low-income entrepreneurs to build bridges out of poverty by launching their own small businesses. Every year, 800 individuals enroll with Ventures and receive a valuable hand up, not a handout. Ventures empowers clients to increase their income, achieve financial stability, provide for their families, and enrich their communities through small business ownership. In fact, 34% of Ventures clients who depended upon public assistance at intake, were completely independent 18 months later. That’s 272 local families that are off public assistance and are supporting their family as a small business owner.
We empower our clients through business development services in English and Spanish. These services include:
- Hands-on training in marketing, sales, operations, and finances
- One-to-one business coaching
- Skill-building business workshops
- Microloans and matched savings accounts
- Financial literacy training and credit counseling
- Free small business legal services
- Computer lab and business resource library
- Access to retail space at our store in Pike Place Market
- Access to our Word of Mouth food truck and commercial kitchen at below market rates
Ventures empowers our clients to improve their lives and communities through small business ownership. Due to the success of our program model, our programs are in high demand. With your investment we will be able to continue to achieve success for our clients, our organization, and our community.
- Our graduation rate is 93%
- Our loan repayment rate is 99.3%
- Business revenues quadruple within the first 18 months of receiving services
- On average, 65% of clients are in business and generating revenue after 18 months of participating in our program (up from 33% at intake)
- Client businesses employed 68 people in 2015
Your investment in Ventures will build businesses and change their lives. With your support, a struggling single mother of two becomes CEO of her own small business; a disabled veteran launches his own company; or a young ambitious immigrant family opens up shop in their new country. Thank you for helping Ventures connect the dots between hard-working entrepreneurs and the support they require to improve their lives.
[i] 2010 U.S. Census