News Release: Ventures Announces New Board President
Will von Geldern

July 20, 2020

News Release

Small business and economic development nonprofit elects Octaiviea Renée, program graduate and former Board Secretary, as first African-American Board President

SEATTLE – July 20, 2020 – Ventures, a nonprofit that provides coaching, training, incubation, microloans, and advocacy for entrepreneurs with limited resources has appointed a new Board President. Octaiviea Renée, a graduate of Ventures’ Business Basics Course in 2011, has served on the Board of Directors for two years prior to her appointment as President. She recently spoke with outgoing President Melissa Forziat about what the transition means to her in this video interview.

Octaiviea has worked to expand and re-envision her business, The Lady O Experience (previously Untangled Spaces), with the support of Ventures business coaches and technical assistance. Since 2019, she has also served as the emcee for InnoVentures, Ventures annual pitch competition (virtual event from March 2020 available here). Octaiviea is the first program graduate to serve as Board President for Ventures, originally founded as Washington C.A.S.H. in 1995.

My hope and passion as Board president is to find innovative and creative ways to continue to unite the internal family of clients, staff, volunteers, and Board members and grow our external family of donors, fans, and supporters,” said Renée, “that we may continue to redistribute wealth by supporting individuals who identify as a woman, person of color, immigrant, and/or LGBTQ+ and are committed to establishing the desired trajectory of their life via small business ownership.”

“I am so proud of Octaiviea for her achievements as a small business owner and a member of our Board of Directors,” said Beto Yarce, Executive Director. This transition has been several years in the making, and we are so fortunate to have Octaiviea’s leadership in this role. She is an inspirational figure in our community and I cannot wait to see her leverage her talents and historical knowledge of Ventures as our new Board President.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to exacerbate economic inequality and disproportionately impact women, low-income individuals, and people of color, Ventures continues to provide low-income entrepreneurs with the tools that they need to compete. Despite the challenging business climate, more than 70% of Ventures’ entrepreneurs move out of poverty within two years of enrolling in our program. Through coaching, incubation, and financing, Ventures equips nearly 600 low-income individuals annually with the skills and experience that they need to improve their lives through small business ownership.

About Ventures

Ventures empowers individuals with limited resources and unlimited potential to improve their lives through small business ownership. Ventures accomplishes this goal by providing low-income entrepreneurs with access to business courses, industry-specific coaching, incubation, and capital to help them grow their businesses. Since its founding, Ventures has provided coaching, classes, and more than $1.4 million in loans to help low-income entrepreneurs launch more than 2,400 businesses across Washington State. The typical Ventures client supports a family of two on $26,540 upon enrollment. Our vision is that all individuals who seek to succeed as small business owners will have access to the tools and resources that they need to achieve their goals. You can support Ventures with a donation here.

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Press Contact

Will von Geldern
(206) 960-4974
wvongeldern@venturesnonprofit.org