$238,500 in Grants Awarded to Small Businesses Hit by the Hill/Woolsey Fires

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) announces 38 business recovery grant recipients from Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. 

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), a non-profit based in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, helps small business owners launch, grow and succeed with training, loans and consulting.  Thanks to a generous contribution from Wells Fargo, WEV is pleased to award 38 business recovery grants to small businesses that were economically impacted by the November 2018 Hill/Woolsey Fires.  

Recovery grants were awarded for businesses that lost revenue, contracts, services, equipment, operations or inventory as a result of the fires.  Of the 38 businesses owners who received the recovery grant, 21 suffered significant or total loss.  A majority of the impacted businesses that received the grant are based in Los Angeles County (82%) where the Woolsey Fire caused the majority of destruction.  The remaining 18% of grant recipient businesses are located in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

Kimberlee and John Kayton, owners of Apex Building Construction Associates in Los Angeles County lost their home and business in the November 2018 wildfire.  Kimberlee said, “Losing everything we ever owned in the Woolsey Fire is almost beyond comprehension.  Women’s Economic Ventures is the first and only organization that reached out to us with assistance to rebuild our business.” 

“We believe that the long-term success and resiliency of our communities, and our business, depends on our ability to collaborate across the public and private sectors to help communities better prevent, prepare for, and respond to foreseeable and unforeseeable events—like the Hill and Woolsey fires,” said Ernie Pineda, central coast region bank president, Wells Fargo. In crafting our relief and recovery action plan for the region, we realized we needed to go beyond short-term aid and develop a long-term resiliency and capacity building strategy to help prevent or minimize future impacts of large-scale disrupters to the local economy.” 

WEV’s Business Recovery Specialist Nicki Parr says, “This grant program is not just about recovery but also about building long-term business resilience. In addition to their grant funds, all grantees will receive training on how to make their businesses stronger for the future, and be more prepared for the unexpected challenges ahead.”  WEV is grateful for the partnership and support from Wells Fargo to help stabilize our local businesses, community members and economy. 


About WEV 

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.

Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and small business advisory services to more than 28,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.9 million in small business loans and helped nearly 5,300 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $873 million in annual sales and creating over 12,400 local jobs. 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).  

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,700 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 33 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2019 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.