With unemployment near record highs, a local non profit is helping women on the road to self- employment.
Women’s Economic Ventures, or WEV classes are taught in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.
It’s business as usual for Olivia Alvarez of Guadalupe. She works at home as a small business consultant.
After working in the accounting industry for several years, she became a stay at home mom, but ultimately wanted to do more to help people.
“They’ll help you start a business, if it’s just at the point of an idea or if you’ve already been in business. they’ll help you fine tune,” Alvarez said.
She graduated from WEV in 2008. The 14-week program helps participants put together a business plan–a crucial step in order to get a loan.
I went to weave to figure out the marketing part of it because that’s not my background,” Alvarez said.
The numbers show 90 percent of businesses fail, but in this economy, many are open to trying something new.
“Everybody who comes to us is capable of writing their own business plan, but it’s the structure and camraderie that’s provided that really gives you the tools that you need,” said Katie Walters, a WEV instructor.
The program costs $2,000 two thousand dollars, but can be subsidized based on your income. For Alvarez, her growing business is a dream come true.
The non profit organization says there are more than 1,000 businesses in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties owned and operated by graduates of its WEV program.