New Services for Businesses in the Digital Age


Ventures is pleased to share that it is the recipient of a 2016 grant from the U.S. Community Economic Development (CED) program. This grant will provide $615,735 to fund our programs for low-income entrepreneurs over the next three years.

Funding will equip Ventures to launch new services designed to expand microbusinesses into full-time revenue-generating enterprises that can compete in today’s high tech consumer environment. The project will specifically help participants improve efficiencies in online marketing, ecommerce, and professionalism in the public sphere. New services will include:

  • More customized coaching and training, made possible through the hiring of a full-time Service Business Specialist to work with clients with service industry businesses (like landscaping, childcare, taxi drivers, etc.
  • Online sales platforms, through a Ventures ecommerce site and online business directory
  • Annual business pitch contest, with awards such as laptop computers, cash grants, free coaching, professional photo sessions, and more.
  • Materials to advertise businesses’ affiliation with Ventures while out in the community
  • Ongoing access to workspace and meeting rooms, as well as Ventures’ other services

Participants in these advanced services must be graduates of Ventures’ cornerstone eight-week Business Development Training program, and must meet income eligibility requirements. New services will work in conjunction with other Ventures services and will not replace any existing programs—including microloans, matched savings accounts, financial literacy training, advanced workshops, legal clinic, retail store, food truck, and etc.

The purpose of this grant is to help create at least 31 new full-time business ventures with the potential to assist many more business owners and employees over the next three years. The ultimate goal is to move participants out of poverty during the project period through targeted food business development services.

If you are interested in donating, volunteering, or otherwise supporting this project, please contact Beto Yarce, [email protected].