Santa Barbara & Ventura County based Women’s Economic Ventures Receives $250,000 Investment Loan from Wells Fargo

Funding to Support Small Businesses in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties

(Santa Barbara, Ca) Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) of Santa Barbara has recently received a $250,000 EQ2 loan from Wells Fargo to fund its Small Business Loan Fund (SBLF), which provides start-up and expansion capital to small businesses that do not qualify for conventional bank financing.

“Wells Fargo has been a wonderful partner who shares our goal of diversifying and expanding the local economy and creating new jobs by providing capital to small businesses,” said Marsha Bailey, President, CEO and founder of Women’s Economic Ventures and the Small Business Loan Fund.

“Wells Fargo is the single largest investor in WEV’s Small Business Loan Fund, demonstrating their confidence in WEV’s products and the need for small business capital in our communities,” said Judy Hawkins, Executive Director, Women’s Economic Ventures and the Small Business Loan Fund. “With this investment, Wells Fargo will help WEV extend funding in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to create jobs for low and moderate income people, including women and minorities, and support business expansion of woman-owned and minority-owned businesses,”

Women’s Economic Ventures established its Small Business Loan Fund in 1995 with a grant of $75,000 from the City of Santa Barbara and $225,000 in matching funds from seven local banks.  The goal of the Small Business Loan Fund is to diversify and expand the local economy and create new jobs by providing start-up and expansion capital to small businesses that do not qualify for conventional bank financing.  To date, WEV has made approximately $2.1 million in loans, helping small business owners succeed with ventures such as construction, photography, fine art gallery, graphic design, transcription services, custom tailor, publishing, oriental medicine/chiropractor, senior assisted living services and more.

“EQ2 investments, especially for small business loan funds, are not made every day,” said Byron Reed, head of Wells Fargo’s Community Development Group for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region. “However, we are impressed by WEV and its commitment to providing capital and training for start-up and expansion of micro-enterprises, and its capacity to deliver consistent and solid results.”

“Wells Fargo is pleased to provide this investment to WEV, an organization that works tirelessly to improve our society by economically empowering those who need training and capital assistance,” said Marla Vasquez, Wells Fargo Pacific Coast Community Bank president and WEV board member.  “By offering this investment, Wells Fargo can provide WEV with a long-term source of funding for loans to small businesses that allows WEV to continuing growing and serving the Santa Barbara and Ventura communities.”

Funded by the Wells Fargo Community Development Corporation, this “equity equivalent investment”, or EQ2 investment, will enable WEV to fully capitalize its Small Business Loan Fund, increase the number of small business loans it can make in the next 10 years, and assist the organization in strengthening its revenue base.

What is the Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) was founded in 1991 and was established as a micro-loan fund and self-employment training program.

It is dedicated to creating an equitable and just society through the economic empowerment of women across the globe.  Since 1991, WEV has been providing self-employment training, technical assistance and microloans to primarily low-income women. Today, WEV offers a continuum of programs for women at every stage of the business lifecycle to help startup, launch, grow, and sustain a business. Services include comprehensive self-employment training program, advanced training, business counseling, coaching, and networking opportunities. WEV’s service area has grown to include north and south Santa Barbara County and Ventura County with offices in Santa Barbara and Oxnard. WEV’s Small Business Loan Fund provides start-up and expansion loans to pre-bankable microenterprises.  WEV was designated a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in 1999 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  In 2005, the Small Business Administration recognized WEV as the most productive Women’s Business Center in the nation. For more information please call 805-965-6073 or visit www.wevonline.org.

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