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Women’s Economic Ventures representatives Judy Hawkins, left, Angel Cottrell and CEO and founder Marsha Bailey accept a $25,000 grant check from Citibank representatives Rashi Kallur and Domenico De Masi. (Women’s Economic Ventures photo)

Representatives of the Citi Foundation presented a $25,000 check to Women’s Economic Ventures during its Think BIG Conference and Business Expo.

An audience of expert speakers, Santa Barbara and Ventura County entrepreneurs and WEV staff members and leaders recognized the Citi Foundation for its support during WEV’s June 27 event at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort Hotel.

The grant will support WEV’s Think BIG series, which provides advanced training for entrepreneurs in the “grow” stage of their business life cycle.

Citi and the Citi Foundation have supported WEV’s growth since 2002 through foundation grants and corporate sponsorship. Citi and WEV share two key goals in serving the community: small business/economic development and job creation, and financial education.

Through Citi and the Citi Foundation’s support, WEV assists entrepreneurs to prepare for business growth and develop better understanding of the financial services that may be able to help them achieve their business goals.

“At Women’s Economic Ventures, we provide an array of services for women and men at every stage of the business life cycle,” said Judy Hawkins, WEV’s executive director. “Thanks to the support from Citi and our other dedicated sponsors, we can help small businesses expand and grow. In turn, these businesses provide jobs and economic development opportunities for individuals and families throughout the communities they serve.” 

In addition to the Citi Foundation’s grant to WEV for its Think BIG program, the Citi Foundation and the Aspen Institute/FIELD’s Citi Microenterprise Researchers Program funded and trained a summer intern to participate in WEV’s Success Outcomes Project.

WEV was one of only 20 organizations nationwide selected to participate in this prestigious research initiative in 2008. The internship program is designed to help organizations collect extensive data on their clients that can be used to improve or identify gaps in services, for fundraising or to advocate for entrepreneurship. These internships are also a way to introduce college students to the microenterprise field and to help create the next generation of industry leaders.

Marjorie Wass of SurfMedia Communications represents Women’s Economic Ventures.