Women’s Economic Ventures Self-Employment Training graduates take pride in their accomplishment and gather together during a class photo along with instructor Julie Samson. Back row from left: Alanna Whitney, Hayley Fedders, Joyce Brewer, Scott Linde, John Dewey, Ivaylo Peshev, Juliana Fabio, Paul Cassidy and Adrianne Tomkinson; second row from left, Jessica Oddi, Kristen Hislop, Hollie Zepke, Antonia Flores, Katie Walters, Christi Clayton, Ivon Demory Brown, Lizzy McCahan, Kim DiLoreto, Monique Bloedau, Michelle Freniere and Kim Welton; third row from left, Cassandra Koval, Christy Ramos, Takita Zavalla, Lauren Hannemann, Lisa Serby, Jean Nietsch, Cecily Hintzen, Ryane Alexander, Sonya Takasaki and Eva Torres. (Women’s Economic Ventures photo)
What do a raw artisan chocolate company, a women-owned and operated general contracting business and a beach yoga instruction company have in common? They have all been shaped by nonprofit Women’s Economic Ventures’ 14-week Self-Employment Training Course.
After months of training in finance, marketing, leadership skills and more, graduates of the Women’s Business Center of Women’s Economic Ventures’ flagship Self-Employment Training Course are ready to launch or grow their businesses and turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
Recently, 66 women and men from Santa Barbara and Ventura County celebrated their successful completion of WEV’s Self-Employment Training program with families, friends and the community.
The ceremony and exposition of WEV client businesses was held at the Montecito Country Club with graduates ranging from first-time business owners to those who turned to WEV to help expand their existing businesses. Forty-one of the graduates were from Santa Barbara, and 25 were from Ventura County.
“Small business is the backbone of today’s new ‘do-it-yourself’ economy, and Women’s Economic Ventures is committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams no matter what the state of the economy,” said Marsha Bailey, founder and CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures. “Our program graduates have worked hard for this moment, and we applaud them for achieving this milestone, which will help them create a livelihood for themselves that they are passionate about. WEV will continue to provide them with the tools and support they need to thrive and grow.”
With a robust menu of training, technical assistance, networking services and access to capital through its Small Business Loan Fund, WEV has helped to create or expand over 2,000 businesses since inception, creating or retaining over 3,000 local jobs and an average of 300 jobs in the community each year.
WEV’s Self-Employment Training course is part of WEV’s continuum of programs that help entrepreneurs start-up, grow, and sustain a business, including business consulting, entrepreneurial coaching, advanced business training, and small business start-up and expansion loans.
WEV’s comprehensive 14 week, 56-hour Self-Employment Training (SET) program is designed for women (all services are open to men) to provide guidance on how to start, operate and expand a 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 personal leadership skills, personal finances, marketing and sales, public relations and advertising, legal and insurance issues, record keeping, cash flow projections and writing a business plan.
Self-Employment Training courses are offered twice each year, with classes starting in September and February. The class runs for 14 consecutive weeks, one night a week for three hours, and includes two full Saturdays. Classes are taught in Santa Barbara, Camarillo and Ventura. Interested participants can sign up to attend a free one-hour orientation workshop in the months preceding the next course.
The next Santa Barbara County orientations take place:
» Tuesday, Jan. 7 from noon to 1 p.m. in Santa Barbara
» Wednesday, Jan. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. in Santa Barbara
» Thursday, Jan. 16 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Buellton
Click here to register or for more information.
WEV’s Spanish Business Training and Small Business Loan Workshops
In collaboration with the Rotary Foundation, WEV is also offering workshops in Spanish in Ventura that will provide training on the most important aspects of starting and managing a small business. For more information or to register, please call 805.456.2383.
— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures.