Community Initiatives

In addition to the wide range of support WEV offers business owners in the region, WEV also focuses on offering solutions to critical issues impacting our communities to advance our mission.


The Business of Childcare

Helping to Solve the Childcare Crisis

WEV partners with both Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County (SRRSBC) and Child Development Resources of Ventura County (CDRV) to deliver training to their clients on the Business of Childcare. WEV’s customized 8-week curriculum not only addresses the basics of small business ownership, but also dives deep into the specifics of running a childcare business. The curriculum is available in both English and Spanish, and the program aims to expand childcare capacity in the region while increasing revenue and household income for childcare providers and their employees. Since 2022, more than 60 childcare providers have participated in the program and $375,000 in micro-grants have been awarded.


“I am so happy I did this training early on in my business. WEV is a network of women who root for and encourage one another and it’s a wonderful circle to be in.”

Yvette Avila, Owner of Blossom Day Care


In this program, Yvette learned how to promote her business and the importance of having her finances in order. She now encourages others who are considering entrepreneurship to go for it; “At first it’s scary, but when you take that leap it only gets better, especially when you have great organizations like WEV and CRR helping you through every step.”




Increasing Access to Capital and Business Support for Disinvested Communities

Emprendimiento (Spanish for “Entrepreneurship”) launched in 2021 with support from the California Employment Training Panel’s Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (SEED) grant program. Emprendimiento addresses barriers to capital access and services by combining culturally relevant business training and support with microgrants to increase financial and business management skills for Latinx and Limited English Proficient (LEP) entrepreneurs. Participants receive eight weeks of free business training in Spanish and then are eligible to apply for a microgrant.​ Since 2021, more than 330 people have participated in the program, 261 have graduated and $937,500 in microgrants have been awarded to entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.


“I am an indigenous woman with a lot of motivation to get ahead in life. Whatever obstacles or challenges one faces in life can be overcome with the will to succeed and help from programs like this one.”

Catalina Almazan, Owner of Artesania Ita Ndivi Oaxaquenas



Digital Skill-Building Classes for Business Owners

Addressing the Digital Divide

The COVID pandemic highlighted the negative consequences of the digital divide for many in our region, including business owners. Without an online market presence, business owners may miss out on vital revenue opportunities. Thanks to State funding procured by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, WEV was contracted by the EDC to design and deliver a nine-week course to teach business owners the digital skills they need to get their businesses online and stay competitive. The “Get Your Small Business Online” (GYSBO) class is available for free in both English and Spanish across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Students learn how to create and launch a business website, use email marketing, make their company searchable online (SEO), create and implement social media strategies and develop a six-month action plan.


“I was feeling really overwhelmed trying to get my business started, and I luckily found this course. The one-on-one sessions were very valuable, and now I have a step-by-step plan of what I need to do to get my business online, and I feel like I have the path to do that.”

Tanya Young, Owner of White Owl Hypnotherapy



Financial Literacy Advocacy Group (FLAG)

Uniting Efforts to Promote Financial Education

FLAG was created in 2022 as a means to create partnerships between local organizations and individuals engaged in the vital work of financial education across the region. The group meets quarterly to share best practices in financial literacy programs and services, and to offer resources to community members.


“One of my favorite parts of working in financial literacy and inclusion is collaborating with other leaders and advocates in this space. Through FLAG, I’ve witnessed the power of cross-sector collaboration to prioritize the financial literacy needs of historically marginalized communities by not only sharing best practices and resources but also building bridges between financial institutions and communities in need.”

Irene Kelly, Financial Education and DEI Manager at WEV



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