June 3, 2018
A celebration of entrepreneur graduates and business resiliency filled the Hilton Santa Barbara Resort the evening of May 30 at the Women’s Economic Ventures’ (WEV) graduation, awards presentation, and a shop-local market.
The People’s Choice Award went to Jean-Michel and 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 — Gabrielle Moes of Seasons Catering and Margaret Townsend of Animal & Insect Pest Management Inc.
The businesses reached $1 million in annual revenue at a given point — a milestone achieved by less than 2 percent of woman-owned businesses, and less than 4 percent of male-owned businesses in the U.S.
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. 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, a 14-week course with night and some weekend classes. Eighty percent 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.
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. Serving Santa Babara and Ventura counties, WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business.
WEV has 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.