Ventures empowers entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential to improve their lives through small business ownership.
Ventures was created in 1995 after our founder Peter Rose visited a Grameen Bank program in Bangladesh—a microfinance model that made small loans to groups of disadvantaged women. Since then we have adapted the Grameen model to the Puget Sound region and the business landscape in the United States, leading with business courses and supporting with financial tools and resources tailored to client needs. We continue to adapt our approach to incorporate best practices and meet changing client needs. Prior to the spring of 2015, Ventures was known as Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH).
We use a multi-layered approach to help low-income entrepreneurs move their businesses forward. Our strategy combines:
- Business courses
- Microloans and matched savings accounts
- Financial literacy workshops
- One-on-one coaching and mentoring
- Retail incubation through the Ventures Marketplace
- Food incubation through workshops and affordable kitchen rentals
- Ongoing support
Ventures is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a Small Business Administration Microloan Program Intermediary lender.
We serve individuals in the Puget Sound region of Washington State for whom traditional business education and financing are out of reach, with a focus on individuals with low incomes (defined as less than 80% of the HUD area median income). The average Ventures client supports a family on $24,124 per year when they enter our program. In 2016, 69% of clients were female, 67% were people of color, 29% were immigrants or refugees, and 30% were Spanish-speaking.