Yesterday, scores of Ventures team members – including staff, board, retail employees, and training course instructors—gathered with their families to celebrate 2017’s accomplishments and look ahead to a bright and impactful 2018.

Thank you, Friends of the Waterfront for hosting with a donation of your event space and to Ventures entrepreneurs Los Agaves and Mary Rose Bakery for catering. You helped make this a special evening for our team who has worked hard this year to achieve our mission. Thank you!

We are so proud of our accomplishments 2017 and thankful to you, our community, for helping to make this great work possible. To help bring the year to a close, we are counting down this year’s biggest achievements:

  1. We remodeled our office to increase the strength of our brand; the professionalism of our space; and staff comfort, productivity, and satisfaction.
  2. We approved the organization’s largest ever operating budget for 2018, at $1.8 million worth of services for the community.
  3. We deployed $80,000 in microloans to low-income borrowers to build their businesses.
  4. We remodeled and rebranded our retail store, the Ventures Marketplace at Pike Place, allowing us to hit the $1 million mark in checks distributed to clients from store sales since inception.
  5. We gained traction with The Ventures Network project, formalizing marketing collateral, creating the infrastructure needed to manage a large customer base, and building out a sales pipeline to help equip other nonprofits to replicate our programs in their own communities.
  6. We secured two large general operating (completely unrestricted) foundation grants from Satterberg and Northwest Area Foundation, totaling $600,000, giving us the freedom to serve entrepreneurs in whatever ways they need.
  7. We increased the customized coaching we provide for clients up to 1,250 hours so far this year!
  8. We hosted our first ever InnoVentures pitch contest, inspiring the community and investing in micro-businesses.
  9. We built the organization’s biggest and most engaged Board, with 19 members from a broad range of backgrounds and expertise. Thank you to our Board for all their service!
  10. We reached 500 entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential this year, reporting that two-thirds of the people we serve increase their household incomes within the first two years.

As we look ahead to 2018, we know there is lots of room to keep working, and we have exciting things in store, including the collaborative creation of a micro-business policy agenda to steer a brand new advocacy program; expansion into new communities like Bothell and Shoreline; greater and more flexible micro-loan funds; new micro-business courses; more industry-specific coaching and resources; and the second annual InnoVentures pitch contest with loads of prizes!

We look forward to sharing our progress with you over the upcoming year. Thank you for following along as we work to build businesses and change lives.