Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)’s Emprendimiento Program increases opportunities for historically marginalized individuals by providing entrepreneurial training and access to capital for limited English proficient (LEP) and Hispanic community members.
Ventura County, CA – On August 23, Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) presented $337,500 in grant funding to participants who completed WEV’s Emprendimiento Program for entrepreneurial Hispanic and Indigenous Ventura County community members. Forty-five of the 90 participants who successfully completed WEV’s free, 8-week business training program taught in Spanish each received a $7,500 microgrant to grow their existing small business. For more information about the Emprendimiento Program, including enrollment for the fall 2023 Santa Barbara County cohort, visit: www.wevonline.org/classes-resources/emprendimiento/ .
Emprendimiento is a unique program developed by WEV for limited English proficiency individuals and is funded by the state of California’s Employment Training Panel’s (ETP), Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) initiative. Launched in 2021, WEV’s Emprendimiento Program provides entrepreneurial training, technical assistance, and microgrants for small business owners to grow their enterprise in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. To date, 330 people have participated in WEV’s Emprendimiento Program and 261 have graduated. With the August 2023 Grant Awards Ceremony, a total of $937,500 in microgrants have been awarded to entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
At WEV’s Emprendimiento Award Ceremony, graduate Catalina Almazán, owner of Artesania Ita Indivi Oaxaqueña, was one of the class speakers who shared her story with the attendees. “My first language is Mixteco… Spanish is my second language and I speak some English. When I was a child, my mother taught me that you don’t win every time – you must learn to lose, don’t worry, tomorrow will be better,” said Almazán. “And that tomorrow is finally here.” With dreams of being an entrepreneurial woman, she enrolled in WEV’s Emprendimiento Program. “Thanks to the WEV program for giving me the opportunity and opening the doors to learn and achieve success. This course taught me a lot and helped guide me on my business path. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible when you open your mind to learning and reaching goals alongside supportive women who have the same dream as I do.”
Gloria Martinez, Economic Vitality Manager for the County of Ventura, gave the welcome remarks and congratulated the program graduates. “With your creativity, skills and sheer determination, I have no doubt your businesses will thrive and make important contributions to Ventura County’s economy and community,” said Martinez. “This is an incredible accomplishment and demonstrates your commitment, passion, and vision to start or grow your own businesses here.”
Martinez also thanked WEV “for designing and implementing this outstanding program to empower Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs. We are grateful for WEV’s partnership and dedication to creating economic opportunity in our region.”
The program was approved by the County of Ventura’s Board of Supervisors for support through the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding Plan.
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV), www.wevonline.org
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to 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 a full range of small business support – including classes, consulting, and funding – as well as financial literacy programs 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 28,000 people throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. WEV has made more than $6.9 million in small business loans and helped nearly 5,300 local businesses start or expand, generating an estimated $873 million in annual sales and creating over 12,400 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).