Belay Enterprises History and Mission
Belay Enterprises, 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.
To build on Bud’s success, Belay pursued an incubation model for future businesses and started Baby Buds, a job-training program for single moms. A few years later, Belay incubated the Good Neighbor Garage and Freedom Cleaning Services. All three of these start ups were spun off from Belay after reaching self-sufficiency and continue to thrive as independent organizations.
Belay mission continues to build today starting new projects every year. Current ventures include Purple Door Coffee and New Beginnings Custom Woodworks. Starting in January of 2016, Belay Venture Partners will begin. Check out the website to learn more about these ventures.