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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 35
GSBA and Ventures take aim to elevate LGBTQ Communities of Color, Transgender, and other Gender Diverse Business Owners
Section One
ALL STORIES
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GSBA and Ventures take aim to elevate LGBTQ Communities of Color, Transgender, and other Gender Diverse Business Owners

The organizations are launching a small business incubator program

Entrepreneurs and budding small business owners face a labyrinth of obstacles beginning the first day of their business. These obstacles can become insurmountable for entrepreneurs from LGBTQ POC, transgender, or gender diverse communities. Barriers, including lack of access to capital, new-business resources, and a network of experienced mentors, can often make or break a new business in the first three years.

GSBA, Washington state's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, and Ventures have partnered to create the first small business incubator designed specifically to support LGBTQ POC, transgender, and gender diverse business owners in the Pacific Northwest.

'We know many small businesses succeed or fail in their first year of doing business. We also know that economic disparities are greatest among LGBTQ POC and transgender communities, including new entrepreneurs. We believe that strong and vibrant diverse businesses build strong and vibrant diverse communities,' said Louise Chernin, President & CEO of GSBA.

As part of the incubator, participants will receive a free first-year membership to GSBA, along with a consultation with GSBA VP of Membership & Programs, Ilona Lohrey, to help new business owners maximize the benefits of membership. They also will receive bi-weekly mentorship sessions while enrolled with Ventures' course from a GSBA staff member or business mentor. Participants will have access to the GSBA Business Empowerment Workshop Series, fees waived for LGBTBE Certification, and will receive a certificate for completing the Ventures Business Basics Program.

'Ventures has helped entrepreneurs launch more than 2,500 businesses with proven courses, tools, and resources to see new business owners succeed. We focus on supporting 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,' said Beto Yarce, Executive Director of Ventures.

The GSBA and Ventures Small Business Incubator Program will officially launch on Friday, August 30 at 10am, with a Kick-Off Celebration at Landscapes Café (2901 Western Ave.) in the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. A small program will begin by 10:15am with comments from previous Ventures graduates, GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin, and Ventures leadership. This event is open to the public, new business owners, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and press are encouraged to attend.

Applications for the GSBA and Ventures Small Business Incubator Program will be found online on August 30 - https://bit.ly/2zwJlwf

GSBA is Washington State's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, and the largest LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce in North America. They represent over 1,300 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share the values of advancing equality and diversity in the workplace. For more about GSBA, visit theGSBA.org.

Ventures is a Seattle-based nonprofit that empowers aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential. They provide access to business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs. They serve those in the 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. Their 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. For more about Ventures, visit VenturesNonprofit.org.

Courtesy of the GSBA

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