Our Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter
Will von Geldern

June 9, 2020

Our Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

Ventures stands with the Black community. We serve hundreds of Black entrepreneurs, who we know face unequal treatment from loan officers, potential investors and partners, police officers, and many others. Our mission is to increase access and reduce barriers to small business ownership, and we know that racism and systemic bias presents a significant barrier for Black business owners and other people of color.
 
The Ventures team often talks about “building a movement.” We have been inspired by Black Lives Matter, who have built a global movement with a life-affirming statement. We also know that small business owners cannot fully pursue their dreams when they feel unsafe or unprotected in our society.
 
Ventures’ mission is to increase access and reduce barriers to small business ownership, and we know that racism and systemic bias presents a significant barrier for Black business owners and other people of color.
 
The Ventures team measures the progress of our mission through action. We met as a team last Thursday to talk about our response to the demonstrations and the #BlackoutTuesday social media event. Together, we decided that saying “Black Lives Matter” is one thing, but committing organizational resources is another. 
 
So yes, Black lives matter. Black businesses matter. And here is how we are acting on those words.
 
  • We will start by reaching out by all of active Black-owned business clients to ask them whether they need additional support during this unprecedented time. We are here for you.
  • Starting on June 19th, we commit to centering the stories of Black business owners in our community on social media and other communications in honor of Juneteenth. We typically center the voices of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in June to celebrate Pride Month, and we will continue that work, because it is not mutually exclusive. Stay tuned for a list of businesses to support!
  • We will continue the work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Team. This essential work is a part of our 2019-2020 strategic plan, and our goal is to reform our internal procedures and external communications to better serve people of color.
  • We also commit to asking tough questions during the remainder of the year, when we are planning our strategic plan for 2021 and beyond:
    • How do we direct the money that Ventures has control over (our budget) to support Black/African-American communities?
    • How can Ventures support and help other organizations that are experts and serve this community well?
    • How can we include Ventures entrepreneurs and staff in larger conversations about what Ventures can do to serve aspiring POC entrepreneurs?
We have served hundreds of Black entrepreneurs and people of color in South Seattle and beyond for the past 25 years. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to the community.

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About Ventures

Ventures is a Seattle-based nonprofit that empowers aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential. We provide access to business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs. We serve those in our community for whom traditional business development services are out of reach, with a focus on women, people of color, immigrants, and individuals with low income. Our ultimate goal is to support individuals to increase their income potential, achieve long-term financial stability, provide for their families, and enrich their communities through small business ownership. 

Since its founding, Ventures has provided over $1.4 million to help low-income entrepreneurs launch more than 2,500 businesses across Washington State. The typical Ventures entrepreneur supports a family of two on $22,267 upon enrollment, and 63 percent of Ventures entrepreneurs move out of poverty within two years.

Press Contact

Will von Geldern
(206) 960-4974
wvongeldern@venturesnonprofit.org
2100 24th Ave S. STE 380
Seattle, WA 98144