WomenVenture client, Rachel Handren is the founder of 360 Dance Center.
When the pandemic hit, Rachel Handren was working as a dance instructor at Saint Paul Parks and Recreation—she had a group of four girls who had danced with her for years, about to enter their senior year. They tried virtual classes for a while, but they just weren’t the same. She knew she had to do something.
Rachel opened 360 Dance Center in September 2020 with a handful of students meeting in small groups—it was during that time that she attended her first WomenVenture class, qualifying for a scholarship to take Small Business Essentials. “That first class inspired me, if you take a class that inspires you to take further action, that’s a class worth taking.”
As her 360 Dance Center has continued to expand, Rachel has kept community service at the heart of her business. “Last fall we did a food and clothing drive. Our goal was to collect 360 items and we surpassed that within the first four days. We ended up collecting 2,358 items to donate to food shelters and other places in the Twin Cities.” WomenVenture donors invest in businesses that give back and enhance our community.
In the past year, 360 Dance Center has been able to return to some normality, and that means attending in-person dance competitions. One of the awards Rachel is most proud of is the sportsmanship award. “At each competition there are 20+ studios there, sometimes over 1,000 students and they award only one studio a sportsmanship award. At all three competitions we attended, we won that award. I talked to many coaches and parents who said your kids are so supportive and inclusive—that’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
Recently, Rachel came back to WomenVenture for a loan. She invested in a new floor for her studio and wanted to make sure she had access to capital during the slower summer season. “Now we have a better floor and working capital to add some tumbling mats, I feel I can focus on expanding my classes and my reach.” By providing women with training to ensure they are venture ready, access to capital, and support, WomenVenture offers a holistic approach to serving entrepreneurs.
Your investment in Rachel and other WomenVenture clients means that everyone has access to our services. Please consider a donation today to help women like Rachel continue to achieve their dream of owning their own business.
$150 pays for a woman to complete the Getting Ready course. $600 pays for a woman to complete the Small Business Essentials course with a business plan that prepares her for venture readiness.
65% of women we serve qualify as low-income and receive a scholarship to attend our trainings.
Donate today to help women like Rachel continue to achieve their dream of owning a small business.