WEV General FAQs

What is WEV’s mission? And what do you offer?

Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women.

WEV is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills. WEV provides small business training, advisory services, financial literacy programs and small business loans in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.  While WEV’s focus is on women, it welcomes people of all gender identities into the WEV community. Business courses, programs and loans are provided in both English and Spanish.

When did WEV launch? What impact have you made since then?

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and small business advisory services to more than 19,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.4 million in small business loans and helped more than 5,000 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $770 million in annual sales and creating nearly 12,000 local jobs.

WEV is a non-profit. Why do you charge for services?

As a non-profit corporation, WEV is supported by a variety of funding sources including grants, donations, and fees. WEV offers some free services and, when necessary, charges a nominal fee for two reasons:

1) We believe that clients will be more committed to successfully completing our programs if they have invested their own money in their training and

2) Program fees are an important component of WEV’s funding and sustainability. The funding allows us to offer programs at lower costs, provide scholarships whenever possible, and continue serving our local business community.

The difference between a non-profit and a for-profit corporation is that the non-profit exists for the benefit of the public. There are no shareholders in a non-profit and although we may show a “profit” at the end of the year, any excess earnings cannot be distributed but must be kept in the non-profit coffers to serve the organization’s mission.

Does WEV help men and others too?

Yes. While WEV’s focus is on women, we welcome people of all gender identities into our WEV community.

Is WEV endorsed by any national organizations?

WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Microlender, as well as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

How is WEV managing in-person classes, events, and meetings during the COVID pandemic?

WEV places the utmost importance on the health and safety of our community. WEV follows all guidelines set by CALOSHA and the local municipalities governing our service areas. Because of this, our policies regarding in-person events, meetings, and classes may change during or after registration/enrollment. We will provide the most up to date information possible to all registrants and enrollees as guidelines change.
As of August 30, 2021 and until further notice, WEV requires everyone attending an in-person class, event, or meeting to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Does WEV have a calendar of events?

Yes. Visit our Upcoming Events page to see our list of networking events, webinars and special events. For specific training courses, coaching programs, and advisory services, please visit those webpages (such as Training Programs, Advisory Services, QuickBooks & Financial Empowerment).

I live outside of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties; can you direct me to an organization like yours in my area?

Does WEV offer networking opportunities to local businesses?

Yes. WEV is a business resource network for anyone looking to start a business, grow a local business, or improve their business skills.  We host monthly networking events in English and Spanish.

Check out our Strong Women, Strong Coffee and Café Conexito events on the Upcoming Events page for more information.

Whether you participate in any of our business training courses, advisory services, financial literacy programs, coaching, or small business loan programs – volunteer or support us – you become part of the WEV community. The WEV community is comprised of like-minded business colleagues, educators, trainers, mentors and advisors – networking and connecting to help local small business owners learn and thrive.

Sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on all WEV happenings.

Do you have a list of  WEV client businesses?

Yes, WEV’s Client Business Directory showcases local businesses whose owners are graduates of WEV’s business training programs, Small Business Loan Fund recipients or Advisory clients. Support your local economy and fellow WEV business owners by searching the directory before making purchases of goods and services!

Advisory FAQs

Are WEV’s Business Advisory Services right for me?

WEV’s Business Advisory Services could be the right fit if you are:.

  • Ready to gain a deeper understanding of the current state of your business
  • Looking to grow your business
  • Seeking help in areas of your business that you are unsure how to address
  • Interested in accessing experts in areas of business ranging from Marketing Plans to Contract Law
  • Hoping for accountability to reach your goals
  • Excited to invest now in your long-term success
  • Dedicating more time to working ON your business than to working IN your business

How do I know if I should join the Thrive advisory program?

Thrive is for clients who are currently in business, and are committed to stabilizing or expanding their business. Ideally clients have a current business plan and are able or willing to track business financials.

If you are unsure which program is the best fit for your business, one of our program staff will be happy to have a conversation with you to help decide.

How long is the Thrive advisory program?

Upon enrollment, we ask that clients commit for one year. Many clients re-enroll annually for several years.

What if I only want short-term help?

We have options! If you have a specific question regarding your business, fill out an Interest Form and we can pair you with an expert to provide guidance.

When can I enroll in Business Advisory Services?

Enrollment is ongoing – you may enroll and receive services at any time.

How much does the Thrive advisory program cost?

Thrive costs $95 per month, or – if paid in full up front – $995 for the year.

Which Business Advisor will I be working with?

Upon enrollment, you will be matched with the advisor we feel will be the best fit for your business’ needs. You can read the biographies of our business advisors here on our website.

Business Training FAQs

How do I enroll in a training program?

  1. Complete an Interest Form.
  2. Once you complete the form, use the links provided to schedule a conversation with one of WEV’s Program Coordinators.
  3. After this conversation, a WEV Program Coordinator will invite you to submit a complete online application.

Can I take WEV’s Digital Marketing class without taking Marketing 101?  I already have a solid understanding of basic marketing concepts.

No, you must complete the Marketing 101 course in order to enroll in the Digital Marketing course. The two courses are designed as a series and you will need the deliverables created in Marketing 101 to participate in the Digital Marketing class. However, we encourage you to join Marketing 101. This course provides a great refresher of the foundations of marketing, a structured opportunity to create/update your Unique Selling Proposition and your Marketing Plan, and the chance to get feedback on your marketing strategies.

Are class sessions for WEV’s Marketing Course Series online or in-person?

Both! The courses are designed as hybrid learning experiences:  the first and last classes are held in-person to give you the opportunity to meet and connect with your instructor and classmates and the rest of the classes are online.

I don’t know much about marketing at all. Is WEV’s Marketing Course Series for me?

Absolutely. WEV’s Marketing 101 course begins with basic, foundational concepts and then we build up to more advanced concepts in the Digital Marketing course. No previous experience in marketing is required.

How often are WEV’s classes held?

Classes begin on a quarterly basis. Not every class is held every quarter. See course descriptions on our Business Training page for the upcoming dates of a particular class.

Where are the classes held?

Currently all courses are virtual. We anticipate returning to teaching in-person classes in Santa Barbara and Ventura once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

How much do classes cost?

Cost varies by course but will fall between the range of $0 – $225. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Can men take WEV’s classes?

Yes, all of WEV’s programs and services are available to women and men.

I am taking the Plan Your Business course with my business partner/spouse, so do we both have to pay the tuition?

Yes, both would pay tuition since clients are enrolled as individuals. However, you can work together on the same business plan.

What time are classes offered?

Most classes are offered in the evenings between 6:30-8:30 pm, but this varies by course.

Do you provide child care?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer child care.

Can I retake WEV’s business training courses?

Yes, we permit graduates to retake courses; scholarship eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Can I buy a copy of the SET workbook?

The current version of the SET workbook is available to past graduates for $100, or $35 for an older version. You may purchase one by calling your regional WEV office, subject to availability.

Are classes offered in Spanish? ¿Se ofrecen cursos en español?

Yes, classes are also offered in Spanish. Please review our Spanish course descriptions and call our office at (805) 456-2383 for more information. Si, se ofrecen cursos en español también. Favor de revisar nuestra página de Capacitación Empresarial y llamar a nuestra oficina al (805) 456-2383 para más información.

Loan FAQs

Visit the Loans FAQs page here.