Ventures empowers aspiring 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’ve adapted the Grameen model to the Puget Sound region and the business landscape in the United States, leading with business training 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 education and training
- Microloans and matched savings accounts
- Financial literacy training
- One-on-one coaching and mentoring
- Retail incubation through our store in Pike Place Market
- Food incubation through a training food truck and affordable commercial kitchen space
- Advanced training
- 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 of 2.6 on $24,124 per year. In 2014, 68% of clients were female, 67% were people of color, 38% were immigrants or refugees, and 26% were Spanish-speaking.