In honor of Women’s Economic Ventures’ (WEV) 25th anniversary, the Santa Barbara community gathered to support local small businesses and network at a celebratory WEV Client Business Expo. Thirty vendors—past and present WEV Loan recipients, Thrive in Five® clients, and business training graduates—showcased their businesses at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center on Thursday, April 28th.
Guests visited expo vendors such as Chocolats du CaliBressan, Dodo Blue & Company, Jig and Nicolette Jewelry, Isabella Gourmet Foods, Spruced, and Le Sorelle. Attendees shopped and connected with other community members and 15 lucky guests won prizes from drawings held throughout the evening.
“Starting and operating a business requires hard work, courage, and a great support system,” said Marsha Bailey, WEV Founder and CEO. “We’re proud to be able to provide comprehensive support to local entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. WEV joins the community in celebrating the contributions that small businesses make to our local culture and economy.”
Bailey’s remarks concluded with a champagne toast to WEV’s past 25 years of service, in which over 14,000 women and men have received business support.
The evening marked the launch of a WEV Client giving campaign focused on former WEV clients “paying it forward” with a donation to WEV to ensure other women have the same opportunity to benefit from WEV’s programs. The 2016 goal for the “Pay It Forward” campaign is $25,000 and donations can be made securely online at www.wevonline.org/payitforward.
About Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)
Women’s Economic Ventures is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women. WEV provides training, consulting and loans to help entrepreneurs start, grow and thrive in business. WEV serves all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from offices in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Santa Maria. While WEV targets its services toward women, it serves men as well, and provides many services in English and Spanish.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made more than $4 million in loans, assisting over 4,000 local businesses. WEV is a U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center, and a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
A pioneer in the field, WEV was founded by Marsha Bailey, a nationally recognized advocate for women business owners. Marsha is the board president of the national Association of Women’s Business Centers, and sits on the National Women’s Business Council.
WEV is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016! To learn more, visit the web site at www.wevonline.org.