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Belay Enterprises History and Mission

Belay Enterprises is a faith-based nonprofit organization that creates businesses to employ and job train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, and prison.

In 1994, a group of Christian businessmen and urban pastors, all with a heart for Urban Denver, began meeting about their desire to impact the employment side of poverty, and Belay was born.  Over the years, Belay has served hundreds of individuals looking to rebuild their employability.

The organization’s first project was Bud’s Warehouse, a home improvement thrift store that recycled leftover construction and home improvement materials.  Bud’s main goal was to provide job training and employment for individuals rebuilding lives.  In addition, profits from the business would be reinvested in the community by providing loans and technical assistance for entrepreneurial business startups.

As with many start-ups, Belay experienced a difficult road to profitability for Bud’s Warehouse. The store struggled with attracting customers even while receiving fantastic building donations from the community. Lack of profits made Belay’s business micro loan dreams difficult to sustain. In 1998, the micro lending program was suspended to focus energies on establishing Bud’s Warehouse. The hope was to revisit business development activities after Bud’s started to thrive.God soon answered the organization’s prayers. In February of 2000, Mark Koebrich, with the local NBC affiliate 9News, did a sweeps week story on home improvement deals at Bud’s Warehouse. The story aired on the night of a big snowstorm following the highest rated ER episode in NBC history. Overnight, Bud’s became a smash hit with long lines people waiting to enter the store for the next few days. Like the bible story of Jesus multiplying the fish and loaves, God multiplied Bud’s building materials to accommodate the store’s new popularity. Bud’s Warehouse was able to build on its popularity to increase the number of jobs for individuals rebuilding lives while developing resources for new ventures…an approach that continues today.

Steady community support for Bud’s Warehouse enabled Belay to incubate five additional faith venture projects with four of them maturing into independent agencies, including Baby Bud’s,  launched in 2002 as a baby products thrift store and job program for young single mothers (operating independently as Second Chances since 2009); Freedom Cleaning Services, a commercial building-services company launched in 2003 (now operating as a program of Second Chances); Good Neighbor Garage, which opened in 2003 to repair/rehabilitate donated vehicles for placement with low-income families; New Beginnings Custom Wood Works, a cabinet mill shop launched in July of 2011 to provide carpentry training; and Purple Door Coffee, a high-end coffee shop/ roaster employing homeless youth. 
Finally, Belay saw the need for a more intentional effort to assist faith venture start-ups, both incubating our own ventures and assisting others in the development of businesses the employ individuals rebuilding lives. We have started our long desired Venture Partner’s Program that recruits experienced business leaders from the community to work alongside Belay to identify, launch and provide mentor support of promising new ventures.