We are devastated by the rise in violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander community (AAPI). The violence that happened in Atlanta, Georgia was horrifying, wrong and unacceptable. Our thoughts go out to the families and friends to those who were lost in this tragedy.
Ventures is in solidarity with the AAPI community against racism and senseless acts of violence against their small businesses. We strongly believe that there is no place for racism or hate speech towards anyone.
We call on entrepreneurs, supporters and Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities to unite with us in solidarity with our friends and families in the AAPI community. We must continue to uplift all marginalized communities to achieve a brighter future.
At Ventures, our mission is to increase access and reduce barriers to small business ownership. Through the work we do, we know that racism and systemic bias presents significant barriers for AAPI and other BIPOC businesses. At times, the resources and support needed to overcome barriers can be found within one’s own community. We believe it is never acceptable for individuals and organizations with privilege to stand by when any community faces violence and hate.
The horrific event in Atlanta has brought much-needed attention to the outburst of anti-Asian hate crimes and attacks that have taken place since the pandemic began. As an organization, we have taken the time to stop and reflect on the work and commitment to the AAPI community we serve.
Ventures is an organization that strives to break down barriers, but this conversation forced us to confront some the barriers we still have. At Ventures we recognize that with a limited number of AAPI voices on our staff and board limits our understanding of the needs of the AAPI community; we can do better at connecting with our AAPI community. We acknowledge that there is a lot of work for us to do.
We met this week to talk about our response to Stop the Asian American Pacific Islander Hate movement. We took time to revisit our organizational resources and created a list of action items and commitments to measure the progress of our mission towards this community.
The following list of actions and commitments include the work we are already doing and some we are committed to start immediately:
- We will continue the work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Team. This essential work started as part of our 2019-2020 Strategic Plan and will continue for the future. Our goal is to reform our internal procedures and external communications to better serve all the communities we serve which includes AAIP.
- At Ventures we utilize every opportunity to celebrate our entrepreneurs’ successes and elevate their voices through their storytelling. Alongside those opportunities, we will utilize the national Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration to showcase our Asian businesses owners and their stories (May).
- Ventures will engage in the creation of an inclusive DEI statement
- Utilize our organizational privilege to help raise Asian businesses’ voices to amplify their needs and struggles as business owners.
- We commit to asking tough questions during the remainder of the year, when we are planning our upcoming Strategic Plan. Here are the questions we will examine:
- How do we direct the money that Ventures has control over (our budget) to support AAPI 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 AAPI and other BIPOC entrepreneurs?
Please consider supporting organizations like the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation NW, and Stop AAPI Hate, which have built and established trust within the community.
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.