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The following article was posted on January 26th, 2011

BY JACOB LOPEZ

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) will be holding free one-hour orientations in the coming weeks for its spring business training programs. WEV’s core 14-week Self-Employment Training courses will begin in February for those looking to start or improve their own business. The program’s target is women, but it serves men as well.

“At a personal and a community level, the course is really helpful for people looking to start or to grow their business, or in helping them decide that it is not a feasible thing to do,” WEV Program Manager Leah Gonzales said.

WEV has a strong track record with these courses. Within 18 months of receiving services from WEV, the percentage of clients operating a business increased by 104 percent. The average gross business sales per client increased 565 percent, and the average gross business sales per client business increased 145 percent.

The benefits aren’t exclusive to the businesses. In 2009, WEV client businesses created and retained an estimated 216 jobs in Santa Barbara County, created a total of 131 new jobs, and generated an estimated $820,149 in tax revenue for the state and local economy.

One example of the program’s effectiveness is the story of Nell Stillwell. A career change at 50 years old is never easy, but WEV helped make it possible. Stillwell had a different outlook on life after the untimely death of one of her daughters and a battle with depression. She decided her new mission would be to counsel those dealing with tragedy.

Today, Stillwell has a very successful practice as an Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner.

The WEV courses will be taught in Santa Maria, Buellton, and Santa Barbara in both English and Spanish.

For more information, including a list of upcoming dates, call 965-6073 or visit wevonline.org.

Intern Jacob Lopez compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at [email protected]

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