Small Business Majority, a non-profit founded and operated by small business owners, is taking the lead on a resource portal that will give small businesses increased access to responsible capital. Venturize, an all-in-one resource hub for small business financing options developed by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), will help connect small firms with approved lenders and business assistance providers that want to see America’s small businesses succeed.
Venturize currently offers unbiased education and resources to small business owners seeking loans to empower them to make the best financing decision for their business. Venturize was designed to help all businesses, and especially small business owners who are key economic drivers of their communities—people of color, women and younger entrepreneurs. These groups need to be supported because they are critical to growing our economy: For example, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent over the past 20 years, compared to a 44 percent increase among all businesses—a growth rate more than 2.5 times the national average. What’s more, firms owned by women of color grew at more than four times the rate of women-owned businesses (467 percent). However, the growth rate slowed last year, largely due to a lack of capital and resources. Research also shows minority-owned firms are less likely to receive loans, receive lower loan amounts and pay higher interest rates than non-minority firms.
Small Business Majority is overseeing Venturize through its next phase to serve this fast-growing segment of the economy and connect to more small businesses that need help accessing responsible capital and becoming loan-ready. As part of this next phase, Small Business Majority will leverage its partnerships with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), technical assistance providers and business organizations across the country to bolster their capacity to offer high-quality, personalized assistance and develop a customizable portal that offers a needs-based matching tool to connect entrepreneurs with the right resources. Venturize will be incorporated into Small Business Majority’s existing Entrepreneurship Program, which debuted in 2015 to help small businesses gain access to critical resources on issues like responsible lending, retirement, healthcare and other benefits.
“For entrepreneurs, getting even a small loan could determine whether or not a business succeeds or fails,” said Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer. “Securing funding is a major challenge for almost all entrepreneurs, and while obtaining capital might feel like an uphill battle, the truth is there are more funding options today than ever before. Our new resource portal outlines these funding options and provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to make the best decisions for their small business.”
OFN launched Venturize in 2016, and since its inception the platform has engaged an estimated 330,000 small business owners through its teaching tools and interactive resources.
To learn more about Venturize, please visit: http://www.venturize.org