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In March, we recognize the millions of Americans who have committed to transforming our communities and honor the invaluable contributions women have made to our nation’s history and progress.

AmeriCorps programs like WomenVenture have been essential in advancing equality and expanding opportunities for women and people of color in underserved communities. WomenVenture is an economic development agency serving diverse business owners in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The program's mission is to offer access to affordable capital, business training, and consulting programs to women, people of color, and LGBTQI+ entrepreneurs in underserved communities. WomenVenture and AmeriCorps members provide resources, increased skills, and expanded opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs to kickstart, grow, and sustain viable businesses to help them find financial stability and fortify their communities within the Minnesota business ecosystem.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

WomenVenture is dedicated to helping women and underrepresented small business owners in Minnesota achieve economic success. They are committed to assisting women in building a positive and accurate self-concept, identifying and pursuing life and work goals to help them become self-sufficient, building workplace skills and behavior, and supporting career development. Throughout the years, WomenVenture evolved to:

  • Support women entrepreneurs kickstart their businesses in the early 1980s to increase the economic self-sufficiency of women through self-employment.
  • Improve women's access to capital.
  • Connect women to emerging business opportunities.

WomenVenture has added a comprehensive array of services to support small business owners on their entrepreneurial journey. The program helps address the gaps in business knowledge, racial inequities, gender-based biases, and support networks that act as barriers to profitability for businesses owned by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQI+ community.

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AmeriCorps members serving with WomenVenture
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AmeriCorps member Autumn

AmeriCorps Support 

Today, AmeriCorps members serve with WomenVenture to support the organization's goal of increasing accessibility to economic opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs.

WomenVenture serves all clients across various industries, including education, public health, construction, retail, food and beverage, and childcare. The program has continuously evolved since its inception. Today, WomenVenture is placing an emphasis on supporting women looking to launch or grow their businesses in the critical industries of childcare and food entrepreneurship.

Women and members of underserved communities have historically experienced barriers breaking into the childcare, food, and agriculture industries. By focusing on and designing programs aimed at women and BIPOC entrepreneurs in these sectors, WomenVenture helps change the face of those business owners represented.

"I joined AmeriCorps because after graduating from college, I wanted to do something meaningful for my community and me. I wanted to gain valuable and practical life experiences and do something that would help contribute to my community. My most memorable moment during service was after writing a feature story about one of WomenVenture's childcare clients who had recently opened her in-home childcare business; the client reached out to WomenVenture's childcare business development specialist explaining how she had been getting calls from family and friends who had seen the story as well as calls from potential clients. She wanted to express her gratitude for the opportunity. Coming into my year of service, I had no idea how my work would make a difference in others' lives. It was such a heartwarming feeling and made everything I was doing feel real because I could see the impact," said AmeriCorps member Autumn.

In 2023, WomenVenture supported 1,232 emerging and established entrepreneurs with personalized business training, access to networks, and affordable operating capital through 5,333 hours of entrepreneurial training and 8,614 technical assistance and consulting hours in the areas of finance, marketing, and operations. More than 52% of clients served were a part of the BIPOC community, and 92% identified as female or non-binary. Through AmeriCorps members' service:

  • 75 businesses were launched;
  • 499 jobs were created;
  • 1,980 additional jobs sustained; and
  • 47 childcare businesses supported.

Celebrate Women Every Day

AmeriCorps Week may be coming to an end, but we continue celebrating our women AmeriCorps members across the nation, like Autumn, who help create more opportunities for women and underrepresented communities to transform their lives.

Find out how you can join the AmeriCorps movement to create lasting change in your community every day.