(May 26, 2021)
Women’s Economic Ventures Selected for $50,000 Award to Invest in Contract Workers, Small Business Owners of Color Hardest Hit by COVID-19
Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) will receive $50,000 in funding to assist minority entrepreneurs and 1099 workers as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant, awarded by Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system and NALCAB – the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, will also provide technical assistance and training as part of WEV’s work to provide culturally relevant support to low-wealth entrepreneurs and 1099 contract workers of color.
“The pandemic has been particularly challenging for minority and women-owned businesses”, said WEV CEO Kathy Odell. “WEV is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with NALCAB and Kaiser Permanente to provide much needed training and capital to minority-owned businesses in Ventura County. This innovative program will provide forgivable loans and targeted training to help them move forward with confidence and build successful, sustainable businesses.”
Through a competitive process, organizations in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, DC were eligible to apply for grants up to $60,000 administered by NALCAB. The grants will support resiliency among entrepreneurs, including adapting their business model more effectively to the constraints of public health guidance, and assistance in navigating and accessing federal, state and local government, as well as philanthropic, emergency relief and business assistance resources.
Through its commitment to foster economic opportunity for traditionally underserved communities, Kaiser Permanente has also designated $15 million in grants to increase access to formal training, business networks, and recovery and growth capital to help businesses led by Latinos and other groups to overcome systemic economic disadvantage.
“With the understanding that a return to ‘business as usual’ is still far off, it is urgent that the small businesses and entrepreneurs of color who have suffered disproportionate financial setbacks during the pandemic receive aid and assistance to maintain their vitality,” said Stephanie Ledesma, interim senior vice president for community health programs at Kaiser Permanente.
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), www.wevonline.org
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through 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 small business training, advisory services, financial literacy programs and small business loans 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 19,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.4 million in small business loans and helped more than 5,000 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $770 million in annual sales and creating nearly 12,000 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).
NALCAB – National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders – is the hub of a national network of more than 130 mission-driven organizations in 40 states, DC and Puerto Rico that that serve ethnically diverse Latino communities across the US. Members of the NALCAB Network invest in their communities by building affordable housing, addressing gentrification, supporting small business growth, and providing financial counseling on issues such as credit building and home ownership. Our mission is to strengthen the economy by advancing economic mobility in Latino communities. The NALCAB Network serves hundreds of thousands of low and moderate-income people, the vast majority of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants.