On May 21, a graduation ceremony was held at the Montecito Country Club in honor of 80 new local entrepreneurs (40 from Santa Barbara County) who graduated from the Self Employment Training Course offered by Women’s Economic Ventures’ 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 upcycling clothing store, custom-designed solar electrical systems, refurbished vintage furniture, screen printing clothing, and editing and writing services.

With a robust menu of training, technical assistance, networking services and access to capital through its Small Business Loan Fund, WEV has helped create or expand more than 2,000 businesses since inception, creating or retaining more than 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 startup and expansion loans.

WEV’s comprehensive 14-week, 56-hour Self-Employment Training 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, Santa Maria, 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 orientations take place from 6 to 7 p.m. this Thursday, June 13, and from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 25. 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 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, June 29, July 13 and July 20. The cost is $25 per class and registration is required.

For more information or to register, call 805.456.2383.

— Danielle Deltorchio is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures.