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Women’s Economic Ventures Graduates 91 New Entrepreneurs

The 14-week program offered by WEV helps individuals start or operate a business

Despite the current economic downturn, people in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties continue to dream about starting and owning their own business.

After 14 weeks of classes in finance, leadership skills, marketing and more, graduates of Women’s Economic Ventures ’(WEV) flagship Self-Employment Training Course (SET) turned their dreams into reality with graduation ceremonies May 18.

On that day, 91 people graduated from the English and Spanish language SET programs in Santa Barbara and in Santa Maria, as well as in Ventura County. Forty-eight of the graduates are from Santa Barbara; 14 are from Santa Maria and 29 are from Ventura. The ceremony took place at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.

During the ceremony, each graduate was recognized for their achievements, and each person announced his or her new business venture. The event will concluded with a reception and “business expo,” during which graduates showcased their new or pre-launch businesses.

The new businesses include an environmentally responsible café serving all-natural food and pastries, a furniture design firm that specializes in ‘art from scrap’ pieces, a ‘virtual’ office administration service, and a safety and environmental consulting firm that assists employers to be in compliance with local, state and federal safety regulations, according to WEV officials.

There are now more than 1,000 businesses throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties owned and operated by graduates of WEV’s Self-Employment Training program or recipients of small business loans through WEV, program officials announced.

WEV’s comprehensive 14 week, 56-hour SET program is targeted at women, (but also serves 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.

The SET course is 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 Maria, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura. Open enrollment for the course means that participants can sign up at any time throughout the year, after attending a free one-hour orientation workshop.

Since 1991, WEV has provided self-employment training, technical assistance and microloans to primarily low-income women. Today, WEV offers a continuum of programs to help women succeed at every stage of the business lifecycle. Services include comprehensive self-employment training program, advanced training, business counseling, coaching, and networking opportunities to help individuals to startup, launch, grow, and sustain a business. For more information, visit www.wevonline.org.

Upcoming WEV orientation times and dates are noon on June 25 in Santa Barbara; call 805.965.6073, x100, or visit the web site. This orientation will be offered in English.

An time and date for the Santa Maria orientation has yet to be announced. Visit the web site for updates.

In Ventura County, an orientation will be offered in English at 6 p.m. on June 17, and in Spanish at 6 p.m. on June 18. For more information on the Ventura County meeting, call 805.604.9000, or visit www.wevonline.org.

Noozhawk staff writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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