We believe that everyone should have a chance to achieve the American dream and that small business ownership can be a pathway out of poverty.
We also believe in second chances.
During this year’s Pitch In campaign, we are raising funds to offer our business development services to currently incarcerated women who aspire to start a small business after release.
There are 17,000 non-violent offenders who have been released from prison and are on active supervision in Washington. However, there are no organizations in the Seattle area that offer targeted entrepreneurial training during and after incarceration, to help these individuals gain long-term, living wage employment.
Without a stable job, it’s difficult to stay off the path back to prison. And, on top of everything else, keeping people in prison is extremely costly to taxpayers. The state of Washington spends nearly $47,000 to incarcerate someone for one year. We have a better investment.
Innovation is one of our core values and we believe that self-employment through small business ownership is a viable solution for some people. We invite you and our community to make a philanthropic investment to grow our newest innovation: the Ready for Release program.
Our goal is to raise $40,000 in 40 days to empower 40 women with business development training in the Ready for Release program.
With your help, these women will be ready to start their own small business after release from prison so that they can support themselves and their families as they rejoin the community.
You can learn more about the Ready for Release program here.
For nearly 25 years, Ventures has equipped low-income individuals with the training and tools they need to start a small business and gain living-wage employment.
We give access to a robust toolkit of services that includes training, coaching, microloans, free legal assistance, financial literacy education, matched savings accounts, and opportunities to test their products while earning revenue at our retail store, located at Pike Place Market.
Ventures has helped start over 2,500 small businesses in Washington, with 70% of clients moving out of poverty within two years of using our services. We focus on helping people who traditionally have experienced significant barriers to starting a small business: women, people of color, and immigrants.