Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)’s Emprendimiento Program increases opportunities for historically marginalized individuals by providing entrepreneurial training and access to capital for limited English proficient (LEP) and Hispanic community members.
Ventura County, CA – Graduation ceremonies were held May 2 – 11 in Oxnard and Santa Paula to celebrate 90 small business owners who completed Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV’s) Emprendimiento Program for entrepreneurial Hispanic and Indigenous Ventura County community members. The 90 participants successfully completed WEV’s free, 8-week business training program taught in Spanish and are now each eligible to apply for a $7,500 microgrant award to grow their existing small business.
Emprendimiento is a unique program developed by WEV for low-English proficiency individuals and is funded by the state of California’s Employment Training Panel’s (ETP), Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) initiative. Launched in 2021, WEV’s Emprendimiento program provides entrepreneurial training, technical assistance, and microgrants for small business owners to grow their enterprise in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. To date, 330 people have participated in WEV’s Emprendimiento Program, 261 have graduated, and $600,000 in microgrants have been awarded to entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. This summer $337,500 in grants will be awarded to the recent Ventura County graduates.
Emprendimiento Program information, including enrollment for the fall 2023 Santa Barbara County cohort, visit www.wevonline.org/classes-resources/emprendimiento/ .
(Graduates of WEV’s Emprendimiento Program in Santa Paula, May 11, 2023. Photo by WEV.)
(Ulalia Martinez, graduate of WEV's Emprendimiento Program in Santa Paula, May 11, 2023. Photo by WEV.)
Ulalia Martinez, is the owner of Ulalia’s Creation – custom, artisan jewelry and accessories for all ages and genders. Martinez participated in the Santa Paula cohort of WEV’s Emprendimiento Program and graduated on May 11th. The graduation was held at the historic Santa Paula Train Depot and attendees included John Marquez, Executive Director of the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce as well as Chamber Board Members Caitlin Barringer, Richard Rudman, and Monique Vargas. Marquez said, “WEV’s Emprendimiento program has provided new and innovative business training tools to help elevate the success of our small businesses in Santa Paula. We look forward to continuing our partnership with WEV to deliver programs like this that help drive a successful economy.”
(Patricia Magaña, graduate of WEV's Emprendimiento Program in Santa Paula, May 11, 2023. Photo by WEV.)
Patricia Magaña, owner of Pati’s Beauty Lounge on Main Street in Santa Paula, founded her business in 2016. A year after starting her entrepreneurial journey, she was still working full time as an early childhood educator when she came across a flyer for WEV. She decided to get in touch because she thought, “WEV could help the parents of my students. Little did I know I was the one who would benefit immensely from WEV”. Since then, Magaña has remained an active WEV client and most recently graduated from the Emprendimiento Program. She says, “Everything I’ve learned at WEV has helped grow and maintain my business… it has been the best thing I could have done as an entrepreneur. The staff, teachers and networking groups have all been of immense support. Without WEV my business would not be where it is now.”
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), www.wevonline.org
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to 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 a full range of small business support – including classes, consulting, and funding – as well as financial literacy programs 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).