With state unemployment rates still hovering high, gaining new business skills can provide a competitive edge, and starting a business may actually be a survival strategy. From 2008 to 2009, women-owned businesses totaled 7.2 million firms, employing 7.3 million people and generating $1.1 trillion in sales. Today, Women’s Economic Ventures is looking to add to this number and provides programs and other resources to help one start or grow a business. Its core 14-week Self-Employment Training courses start in September in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Read more.