Eric Moss, Director of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2020
GSBA and Ventures Announce Inaugural Participants in Small Business Incubator Program
Five entrepreneurs representing LGBTQ communities of color, transgender, and gender diverse businesses are participating in business building program.
SEATTLE (February 19, 2020) – GSBA, Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, and Ventures partnered in 2019 to create the first small business incubator designed specifically to support LGBTQ POC, transgender, and gender diverse business owners in the Pacific Northwest. Applications for the program opened in August 2019, and in December 2019, five participants were selected for the first cohort, beginning January 2020.
The goal of the GSBA and Ventures Small Business Incubator Program is to empower entrepreneurs and achieve long-term financial stability. This eight-week course connects aspiring small business owners with peers and business coaches to learn how to take steps towards making their business dreams a reality. Participants will work with a community of entrepreneurs to refine a business plan and answer tough questions like “will this idea really make money?” and “how will your product or service make customers’ lives better?” Additionally, participants will receive direct business coaching, connect with/have a professional network of peers, and come away with an actionable path forward to supporting themselves and their families through their own business.
“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.
“GSBA is very excited to sponsor these entrepreneurs in the Ventures small business program,” says GSBA Vice President of Membership & Programs Ilona Lohrey. “Starting a small business is difficult to begin with, and we know from data and personal stories it is even more difficult 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, and can often make or break a new business in the first three years. 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.
Winter 2020 Small Business Incubator Cohort:
Gabriel Bello Diaz, AntiSocial – An arts and fashion magazine focused on highlighting the narratives of artists in Seattle through a multidisciplinary visual exploration of the vulnerability behind the scenes of making it happen.
Enjoli Izidor, Enjoli Izido Design –Graphic Designer with 11 years’ experience partnering with non-profits and small businesses that are working to elevate marginalized communities. Specializing in branding & visual identity.
ChrisTiana ObeySummer, Epiphanies of Equity – A Diversity, Social Equity, Inclusion and Intersectional Disability Consultancy. They provide full-service consulting ranging from trainings and facilitation, to organizational equity scans and strategic planning.
Yes Segura, Smash the Box – Augmented Reality (AR) Transportation application for smart mobile devices to engage, educate, and empower historically marginalized communities in redesigning our streets for people, not cars.
KJ Williams, RISE with KJ – Facilitates the work of diversity, equity and inclusion by working with organizations, groups and individuals across industries. RISE specializes in consulting, coaching, executive leadership support, keynotes, and topic specific presentations tailored to the specific needs of the client.
To find out more about the Ventures and GSBA Small Business Incubator or to learn how to apply, contact GSBA Business Training Specialist & Grant Manager Eli Coffin at EliC@theGSBA.org, or 206.363.9188. Stay tuned to GSBA emails for stories about these businesses as they grow.
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If you would like more information or photos of the participants, please contact Eric Moss, GSBA Director of Communications at email@example.com, or call 206-363-9188.
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 1,400 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.