Q/A with City of Ventura Economic Development Manager Estelle Bussa

Estelle Bussa explains “what is economic development?”

Estelle Bussa joined the City of Ventura in May 2018. Her team helps provide resources that help businesses open and grow. She also helps businesses navigate the public agency process while also helping to make that process more collaborative and streamlined. She is a fourth-generation Ventura native, raising her own daughters here in our community. She has a strong background in strategic planning, project management and effective collaboration. We sat down with her to learn more about her efforts.

What is Economic Development?

I define Economic Development as the creation of capital, the creation of dollars from which community benefits are realized.  Through increases in revenues, or increases to the economic base, quality of life and community gains are achievable.  This can more tangibly translate to better streets, more police and fire, more parks to play in and extended services to the community.

What do you do?

Our mission is really to cultivate an environment for economic sustainability and growth. We help provide resources that help businesses plan, make possible, open shop and thrive here in Ventura.

Daily that can take many forms… from helping a business owner understand and go through the process of obtaining a permit for a tenant improvement, to educating a business on how to go about getting a business license or various permits.  We work with some of our larger companies in the City to understand their longer-term goals and objectives, so that we can work together on the infrastructure needed to support their plans.  The expansion of Community Memorial Hospital in the last few years is a great example of the partnership in action.

What are some best practices to support local businesses that lead to revenue enhancement?

First, connecting with business owners and entrepreneurs is important. The approach can’t be “them” and “us,” it must be more “we.” Meeting at industry events, chamber meetings or downtown associations is important to understand and solve problems. The City of Ventura wants to help businesses thrive and the relationships we build helps us understand the needs and how we can help make a difference in the process.


Second, building partnerships with educational institutions.  In Ventura County alone, we have three community colleges, and two universities.  Expanding that footprint just a few more miles and the reach is large. Learning, refreshing skills and retooling a workforce is critical in a dynamic economy.

Third, partnering with commercial real estate brokers and people investing in the region. They know what is happening in a given location and can speak to the opportunities and challenges.

And Finally, engaging with the community.  Ultimately, we want the workforce in Ventura, to live in Ventura… so understanding what is important to the community is vital!

Ventura is a great place to live, work and do business. It’s an honor to help build a strong economic future where my daughters and future generations can thrive in this beautiful place we call home.

Learn more about Economic Development in the City of Ventura at www.cityofventura.ca.gov/913/Economic-Development or schedule an appointment with Estelle by calling 805-677-3947.

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