Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) was founded in 1991 when women earned 56 cents for every dollar earned by a man. A male college graduate earned almost twice as much as a female college graduate. Women weren’t routinely viewed as managers or executives, let alone entrepreneurs. There were only a handful of organizations in the entire country devoted to helping women start businesses. WEV was a pioneer in the arena.
Fast forward to 2020. WEV has provided business training and consulting to more than 17,500 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and made over $6 million in loans to local businesses. More than 5,000 businesses have started or grown with WEV’s help, creating or sustaining an estimated 9,400 local jobs. And for those interested in ROI, every dollar spent on WEV results in $12 in tax revenue and jobs created.
Small business owners have grown to depend on WEV not only to learn how to write a business plan or secure a loan, but to find a community that encourages and supports them in their personal and business growth.
If you are invested in creating a better world for your children and grandchildren and are concerned about the economic stability of our country in general, then you should be interested in women’s entrepreneurship and women’s leadership. The cost of not caring is enormous. A seminal 2015 study by McKinsey & Company found that the global economy would grow by $28 trillion by 2025 if women reached parity with men in the workforce. That’s $7.5 trillion more than U.S. GDP.
If macroeconomics doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, think local quality of life. “WEV is helping to create a pipeline of sustainable entrepreneurs who build businesses that are the heart of our communities,” CEO Kathy Odell says. “The businesses we rely on daily for fresh juice, dry cleaning, childcare, staying healthy and fit, personal care services, dining out – businesses that enable our prized lifestyle.”
Now that is something worth investing in.