For over 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, Vision & Values
Our mission is to empower women to achieve their economic goals by building profitable and sustainable businesses that transform communities.
Our vision is a world where women-owned businesses are the economic engine that powers our world.
Our values are inclusion, impact, and innovation.
In 1978, Judy Justad, Carol Truesdell, and Marion Etzwiler established 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.
Kathy Keeley and Arvonne Fraser established WEDCO (Women’s Economic Development Corporation), a nonprofit organization supporting women in starting their own businesses in 1982 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.
Making history as the first Twin Cities nonprofit merger, CHART and WEDCO became WomenVenture in 1989. 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. Since then, WomenVenture has added a comprehensive array of services to support small business owners on their entrepreneurial journey. Our lending program has grown from offering micro-loans to providing over $1.9M in loans during our last fiscal year.
Women’s Business Center
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) designated WomenVenture as one of the nation’s first Women’s Business Centers in 2000 and our training courses, volunteers, and consultants continue to support all entrepreneurs providing them with the resources they need to launch, grow, and sustain their businesses.
We are one of only three in Minnesota and we are part of a network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs who face unique obstacles in the world of business. WBCs ensure that critical resources are available to all women entrepreneurs, and specifically those who are economically or socially disadvantaged. Approved to offer SBA loan products under SBA’s Microloan Program.