$412,500 Distributed to 55 Entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara County Through WEV’s Emprendimiento Program

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.

Santa Barbara, CA— On January 26th, Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) hosted an Award Ceremony at the Santa Barbara Library Faulkner Gallery and distributed $412,500 to entrepreneurial Hispanic and Indigenous Santa Barbara County community members.  Fifty-five Emprendimiento Program participants successfully completed WEV’s free, 8-week business training program taught in Spanish and applied for grant funding. Each graduate received a $7,500 microgrant award to grow their existing small business.  Emprendimiento Program information, including enrollment for the upcoming Ventura County cohort, visit www.wevonline.org/classes-resources/emprendimiento/ .

Emprendimiento is a unique program developed by WEV for low-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 company in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. To date, 213 people have participated in WEV’s Emprendimiento Program, 130 have graduated, and $787,500 in microgrants have been awarded to entrepreneurs in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Graduates of WEV's Emprendimiento Program in Santa Barbara, January 26, 2023.

Graduates of WEV’s Emprendimiento Program in Santa Barbara, January 26, 2023. Photo by Juan Pinnel

Olivia Carranza, graduate of WEV's Emprendimiento Program in Santa Barbara, January 26, 2023. Photo by Juan Pinnel.
Olivia Carranza, founder of Durango Financial Services, was one of the Emprendimiento class speakers selected by her fellow students to address the graduates. Carranza said, “Through the years working as an insurance agent for other companies, I encouraged several people in my community to improve their financial, personal, and professional quality of life, but I had not seen the need to do it for myself -- until WEV entered my life. I am so grateful to WEV, the instructors and my fellow business owners.” “I have always believed that a leader creates more leaders. I needed that leader for many years to extend their hand to me, and this is the case with WEV’s Emprendimiento course. Thanks to WEV and this course, I’ve realized that I can help myself and also be a leader to others,” Carranza added.

Among the fifty-five graduates on January 26th were 25 microgrant recipients from WEV’s childcare cohort in partnership with Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County. Additionally, through WEV’s partnership with Cox Communications and Human I-T, ten of the Emprendimiento microgrant recipients also received a free Chromebook. These devices are intended to help bridge the digital divide and build digital equity.


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).