June 1, 2018
Santa Barbara, CA— A celebration of entrepreneur graduates and business resiliency filled the Hilton Santa Barbara Resort Wednesday evening May 30th, 2018. The Women’s Economic Ventures’ event featured a graduation, awards presentation and a shop local market.
The People’s Choice Award went to Jean-Michel & Jill Marie Carre of Chocolats du CaliBressan, who have shops in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. They were recognized for showing resilience to stay in business, through the difficult times our community faced during recent disasters. Last month, the entire WEV community was invited to vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
The event also featured two business owners inducted into the Million Dollar Club. These businesses have reached $1 million dollars in annual revenue at a given point, which is a milestone achieved by less than 2% of woman-owned businesses, and less than 4% of male-owned businesses in the U.S. The inductees included: Gabrielle Moes of Seasons Catering. Moes took WEV’s SET class in 1999, launched her business in 2000, and now at times has up to 75 staff members on payroll. The honor also went to Margaret Townsend of Animal & Insect Pest Management Inc. Townsend has been receiving support in the growth of her business through WEV’s Thrive & High Growth programs since 2014.
Dozens of students graduated from the Smart Entrepreneurial Training program. It’s a 14 week course with night and some weekend classes. 80 % of students submitted their business plan upon completion.
Attendees were able to browse through the shop local market before and after the graduation ceremony. Women’s Economic Ventures will soon be launching its Love Your Local Business campaign to continue raising awareness about the importance of shopping local.
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business. WEV serves all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from offices in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Maria. While WEV targets its services toward women, it helps men as well, and provides many services in English and Spanish.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made more than $4 million in loans, assisting over 4,000 local businesses. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
A pioneer in the field, WEV was founded by Marsha Bailey, a nationally recognized advocate for women business owners. Marsha recently completed her tenures on the National Women’s Business Council and as board president of the national Association of Women’s Business Centers.