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(from left to right) Greta Strautman, Megan Hooker, Julie Samson (Instructor), Kate Pepper, Holly Woolson, Hilary Mann, Jennifer Macias, Enrique Leyva, Jan Arnold, Lindsay Hanson (front row) Susan Bardsley, Doris Wells, Cynthia Bailey, Jessica Jackson, Codie Laverdure and Candice Wilson during WEV’s Spring SET graduation now ready to take on the business world.

On May 21st a graduation ceremony was held at the Montecito Country Club in honor of 80 new local entrepreneurs (40 from Ventura County) who graduated from the Self Employment Training Course offered by Women’s Economic Ventures’ (WEV) Women’s Business Center. After 14 weeks of training in finance, marketing, leadership skills, and more, graduates are confident and ready to use the knowledge they have gained to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

WEV’s latest Self-Employment Training (SET) graduate businesses and business concepts include an etiquette class for youth, artisan baking, an organic fair trade & vintage clothing line, and children’s fitness.

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 3 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 Ventura orientations take place Tuesday, June 18th, 12-1pm and Thursday, July 18th , 12-1 pm . Visit 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 four workshops in Spanish in Ventura that will provide training on the most important aspects of starting and managing a small business. The workshop dates are June 22, 29, July 13 and July 20. The cost is $25 per class and registration is required. For more information or to register, please call (805) 456-2383.

About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

WEV is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. Since 1991, WEV has been providing training, technical assistance and microloans to primarily low-income women. WEV offers a continuum of programs to help both women and men start, stabilize and grow small businesses, including the Self-Employment Training (SET) program offered through WEV’s Women’s Business Center. WEV’s service area includes Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, with offices in Santa Barbara and Ventura. WEV’s Small Business Loan Fund provides start-up and expansion loans of up to $50,000 to pre-bankable microenterprises. For more information, visit WEV’s Web site at

This story is contributed by a member of the Ventura community and is neither endorsed nor affiliated with Ventura County Star

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