About Beto Yarce
In 2003, at the age of 24, Beto Yarce moved from Guadalajara, Mexico to Seattle where he waited and bussed tables in a Capitol Hill restaurant in the evenings, while building his own business during the day. With just $250, he started selling jewelry at Fremont Sunday Market. He grew that small venture into a successful small business that operated for 13 years at Pike Place Market.
From those early days selling jewelry, Beto knew he wanted to do more than just live in Seattle – he wanted to give back and contribute to his vibrant new community. He started volunteering with Casa Latina, sharing his knowledge of entrepreneurship in America with undocumented workers who wanted greater financial stability for their families. He later joined the team at Ventures (then Washington CASH) and launched a comprehensive small business development program for Latinos.
In the years that followed, Beto grew that program into an impactful vehicle for economic opportunity, unleashing the potential of small business ownership to transform lives and communities.
A Career in Helping Others
Since 2008, Ventures’ Latino program has helped more than 1,000 Spanish-speakers grow their own small businesses. Within the organization, Beto has held four positions, taking on increased leadership with each role. In 2014, Beto became the organization’s most successful Executive Director at a time when it faced dire financial circumstances that threatened its ability to continue serving the Seattle community.
In this new role, Beto led a team of more than 30 staff and board members to recover from a $400,000 deficit he inherited, more than double fundraising revenue in a period of three years, restore community trust in the organization’s mission, attract new partnerships and investments, rebuild team morale, and achieve unprecedented levels of operational efficiencies.
Running For Office
Today Ventures—and Beto—are award-winning leaders in the movement for greater economic opportunity and equity for people of color and under-resourced communities in Seattle. Beto was named the 2018 City of Seattle Emerging Leader of the Year, awarded Crosscut’s 2018 Courage in Business prize, and honored at the Small Business Administration’s 2016 Washington District Excellence Awards. The Puget Sound Business Journal gave their 2018 Business Innovation award to Ventures under Beto’s leadership.
He is a member of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Small Business Advisory Council, the City of Seattle’s 2020 Census Task Force, the Greater Seattle Business Association’s board of directors, and Mexicans Abroad for the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
Beto lives with his partner Phil Smith in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
He is running for City Council because he believes economic opportunity can and must be tied to social justice—and the two can and must work harmoniously together to build a stronger Seattle.
Beto approaches problems by uniting rather than dividing. He knows how to break through divisive rhetoric to affect real change. He is unwaveringly optimistic, but understands the realities of managing people and processes, raising and allocating funds, and turning lofty visions into action-oriented realities. Above all else, he thrives on helping others.
“A lot of people talk about giving people a second chance,” says Yarce. “Many of [our clients] never even had a first chance. I want to change that.”
“Beto…also works with LGBTQ communities to advocate for equity in education, human rights, politics, business opportunities, and philanthropy.”
“This Seattle-based nonprofit empowers low-income individuals by opening up opportunities for small business ownership.”