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About

For forty years, WomenVenture has provided women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to achieve economic success through small business ownership.

Mission

WomenVenture helps women attain economic self-sufficiency through the creation and growth of profitable and sustainable businesses.

Vision

WomenVenture empowers entrepreneurial women with tools, capital and support to lead businesses that create living wage jobs.

History

1977-78 – Judy Justad, Carol Truesdell and Marion Etzwiler establish CHART, a nonprofit organization supporting women entering or re-entering the workforce. The goals of CHART were to assist women in building a positive and accurate self-concept, identifying and pursuing satisfying life and work goals to help them become self-sufficient, building workplace skills and behavior, and preparing them to take responsibility for their own workplace satisfaction and career development. 

1982 – Kathy Keeley and Arvonne Fraser establish WEDCO (Women’s Economic Development Corporation), a nonprofit organization supporting women in starting their own businesses. The goals of WEDCO were to increase the economic self-sufficiency of women through self-employment, improve women's access to capital, and to act as a catalyst in connecting women to emerging business opportunities. 

1989 – Making history as the first Twin Cities nonprofit merger, CHART and WEDCO become WomenVenture. The two distinguished organizations joined forces to offer a full spectrum of services related to career and business development for an increasingly diverse population of clients that included teens, technology-driven businesses, women in non-traditional construction trades, and more.

1992 – WomenVenture begins providing microloans to women to start or grow small businesses.

1995 – WomenVenture introduces its Annual Conference, now known as the Women Mean Business Luncheon & Marketplace.

2000 – The U.S. Small Business Administration designates WomenVenture one of the nation’s first Women’s Business Centers.

2001 – WomenVenture receives the Oprah Winfrey Angel Network "Use Your Life Award." 

2012 – WomenVenture announces its new Strategic Vision; narrows its focus to supporting women-owned businesses.

2013 – WomenVenture introduces Getting Ready class designed to help emerging entrepreneurs determine if small business ownership is right for them.

2014 – WomenVenture launches GUIDED Business Plan™, a 15-week series that covers all of the critical components of creating and fine-tuning a business plan.

2016 – WomenVenture deploys the WeLend initiative, a transformative microlending program to reach low-income entrepreneurs.