Abtey’s Limousine Reaches New Heights with the Help of WEV
August 26, 2010
Christine Abtey of Abtey’s Limousine has been a long time Ventura County resident. Working for the County of Ventura Superior Court for 15 years (the last 10 of which, she ran the Jury Services Department), she has seen a lot.
One of her duties was to send prospective jurors to DUI trials. She saw first hand how many DUIs were occuring in the community and realized that there was a large need for safe transportation to be provided to and from events–especially if alcoholic beverages and cocktails were involved–as one means of preventing DUIs from happening.
In 2005, she decided to retire from the County and bought her first limo in October of that year. She soon found out that the limousine industry was especially difficult for a woman to break into and she grew discouraged. People were initially skeptical that a woman could be President, Owner, and Operator of this type of business, where they were typically used to seeing men in this field. After dreaming about opening a limo service for 10 years, she wondered if the business could survive and if she should continue.
In the Fall of 2007, the stars aligned and she came across an ad in the Ventura County Star for a Self Employment Training Course (SET) put on by non-profit organization, Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) in Ventura County. Not only had she seen the ad, but was encouraged by both her mother and a friend to attend WEV’s SET course.
She is so glad that she did attend WEV’s 14 week SET course. “WEV gave me so many tools and the knowledge to handle a business—from accounting, marketing, organizing and so much more,” said Christine. Additionally, WEV’s SET program gave her the support she needed to get through the first few years of her business. “My class, instructor and network provided me with the encouragement and support to keep going,” said Christine.
She has now been in business for over five years and after taking SET, she says that her client base has grown definitely due to WEV. She now feels that she is viewed as a professional by the community, because of a combination of factors, such as the credibility being a SET graduate offers, along with her good interpersonal skills and the relationships she’s built through giving back to the community. Her reliability and quality service have also contributed to her success. In fact, once people meet Christine Abtey and experience the service Abtey’s Limousine provides, they are usually repeat customers.
Abtey’s Limousine serves Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties and has just moved to a new and larger space in Ojai. Though 2009 was a challenging year as many people lessened spending on luxury items, she coped by adjusting rates to be competitive and continued providing professional, dependable, quality service. Adaptability is also a skill she polished up on during SET. Christine is optimistic that 2010 will be year of opportunity.
Today, Christine is still in contact with many people in her class. She gives back to WEV by coming back to speak with current program participants as an example of a local successful business, as well as volunteering her services at many WEV events. In fact, through participating in WEV’s Women and the City event last May, Christine met a contact who coordinates the Emmy Gift Bag items for the star filled awards show.
Abtey’s Limousine is one of the select businesses that were chosen to be included in the “fab bags,” givng away 50 limo certificates. The service will take up to four people, from Los Angeles or other original location to the Ventura area.
Advice Christine would give to other entrepreneurs is to have a goal and stay focused on it. “Never give up on your dream because you will regret it. You don’t know how it will turnout unless you try it and there is support is out there, like WEV, to help.” www.abteyslimo.com
Self-Employment Training (SET)
WEV’s comprehensive 14 week, 56-hour Self-Employment Training (SET) program is targeted to women (also serves men), and provides guidance on how to start, operate or expand a business. Participants leave the course with a complete business plan including a marketing plan, a cash flow projection, an operations plan, and a core network to help sustain the business. The program is offered in both English and Spanish, and provides week-by-week training in the most important aspects of organizing, financing, marketing and managing a small business. Topics include finances, marketing and sales, public relations and advertising, legal and insurance issues, record keeping, and how to write a business plan. After the 14 week course, WEV SET graduates emerge with the most important tools and resources they need to start a new business or grow their current business. Since 1991, WEV has helped to create or expand over 2,000 businesses, creating or retaining over 3,000 local jobs.
The Self-Employment Training course is offered twice each year, with classes starting in February and in September. The class runs for 14 consecutive weeks, one night a week for three hours, and includes two full Saturdays. Classes are taught in Santa Maria, Buellton, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Ventura. Participants considering the course are required to attend a free one-hour orientation workshop. These orientations offer a complete overview of the SET course and help clients assess whether self-employment is right for them. English and Spanish language orientations are held in Santa Maria, Buellton, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks and Ventura.
Business Plan Intensive
In late September, WEV will offer Business Plan Intensive, an accelerated, six-week business plan writing course, designed for business professionals who need access to capital quickly. Business Plan Intensive is perfect for new entrepreneurs and current business owners who need to implement a launch or a growth strategy and need an infusion of capital to succeed. The course includes emphasis on financial intelligence and integrated marketing techniques, and a viability study.
The Self-Employment Training course is part of the continuum of programs WEV offers to help women start-up, launch, grow, and sustain their own business, including: business consulting, advanced business training, and small business start-up and expansion loans. WEV is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. For more information please call 805-965-6073 or visit www.wevonline.org.
NEXT ORIENTATIONS IN VENTURA COUNTY: August 25th and September 1st, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Please visit website or call for more details.