For Immediate Release April 23, 2018
Contact: Regina Ruiz, 805-456-2356 ext. 106, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disaster Impacted Businesses Gain New Support Lifeline
Women’s Economic Ventures increases staff through grants and adds business help at the Montecito Center starting Tuesday April 24
Santa Barbara, CA—The Thomas Fire and Montecito Debris Flows had a deep impact on local businesses, but more help has arrived. According to a 2018 economic impact survey completed by the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, more than 60% of responding businesses had to close their doors at some point, some as many as 72 days. About 300 businesses responded to the survey, reporting more than 200 employees were laid off. Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) immediately jumped into action and looked to strengthen struggling businesses. WEV’s CEO Marsha Bailey explains, “Every business in Santa Barbara and Ventura County that relied on a storefront and many service businesses as well, were impacted by the disaster because of poor air quality and mass evacuations. Our downtown areas were like ghost towns.”
Through the support of the Hutton Parker Foundation, United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund, Wells Fargo Bank, Santa Barbara Foundation and Pacific Western Bank, WEV has added positions and services to directly support impacted businesses. Business Recovery Specialist, Nicki Parr, applies her forensic accounting background to provide financial analysis and support. Director of Communications Regina Ruiz, is spearheading business disaster recovery management and organizing the “Love your local business” campaign to get customers into local shops and restaurants.
“Things are not back to normal,” says Bailey. “For most small businesses, it’s going to take a long time to recover. Many need financial, technical and training support to evaluate their business model and rebuild operating reserves. We want to make sure our business clients are better prepared to withstand interruptions in the business cycle going forward.”
New Open House Hours at the Montecito Center for Impacted Businesses
To provide direct support to impacted businesses, WEV will hold open office hours at the Montecito Center (1283 Coast Village Circle, Montecito, CA) starting Tuesday April 24th between 11am and 3pm. They will be held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. The office hours will provide opportunities for business owners to discuss their business challenges and learn about loan options available through WEV and the SBA’s disaster relief program. Businesses can also schedule appointments daily with Nicki Parr by contacting her at email@example.com or 805-456-2348.
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business. WEV serves all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from offices in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Maria. While WEV targets its services toward women, it helps men as well, and provides many services in English and Spanish.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made more than $4 million in loans, assisting over 4,000 local businesses. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
A pioneer in the field, WEV was founded by Marsha Bailey, a nationally recognized advocate for women business owners. Marsha recently completed her tenures on the National Women’s Business Council and as board president of the national Association of Women’s Business Centers.
For additional information, visit WEV’s website at www.wevonline.org.