Will von Geldern is Director of Advocacy and Communications at Ventures and is a People’s Economy Lab Leader

Earlier this year, we wrote about our work to build an economy that is truly inclusive. Today, we are thrilled to announce another historic achievement for our community.

Last week, we unveiled Ventures’ first-ever policy agenda – a list of policy priorities co-created with Ventures entrepreneurs, staff and board members, and community partners over the last year. This list, endorsed by our Board of Directors, is the next step toward achieving our vision of systemic change. In the past year, we have worked hard to identify solutions to the barriers facing the entrepreneurs that we serve.

Building on that work, we are excited to announce our first two campaigns: Equity in Entrepreneurship and Food Justice.

Our Equity in Entrepreneurship campaign will advance our vision of a world in which everyone has the opportunity to succeed as a business owner. Our campaign priorities include a proposal to reduce the tax burden on aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources, a way to help Ventures entrepreneurs access more business opportunities with their government, and a demand that our representatives do more to provide training and technical assistance for micro-entrepreneurs at Ventures and across the nation.

Our Food Justice campaign builds on some of the work that we have been doing for the last few years, working with local policymakers to innovate and increase access in the edible economy. We will advocate for home cooking in order to create more opportunities for food entrepreneurs with limited resources, giving them the opportunity to grow their business before they can access capital. We will also push to level the playing field for early-stage businesses by reducing permitting costs and streamlining regulations for mobile food vendors and more.

With this agenda, the stage has been set. Now, the hard work begins – and we will only succeed if we work together. This means getting organized and raising our voices to increase access and reduce barriers to entrepreneurship.

Our work together begins on October 30th, when we will host our first-ever Advocacy Night at our headquarters in South Seattle to celebrate our progress and launch this agenda.

Do you see something on our agenda that you would like to advocate for? Are we missing something that affects you as an entrepreneur? You can let us know in person at Advocacy Night on the 30th.

Not a business owner, but still want to get involved? We will need supporters to organize events, contact policymakers, and work directly with entrepreneurs to bring our voices to important conversations. If this sounds like you, stop by Advocacy Night to learn more – and if you can’t attend but still want to get involved, please feel free to reach out to me directly at wvongeldern@venturesnonprofit.org.

Like so many of our programs, the success of our advocacy depends on our partners and engagement from our community. Help us create systemic change by attending an upcoming event or getting involved in whatever way you can. Together, we can and will increase access and reduce barriers to economic success for all Washingtonians.

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