Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) is one of 55 entities to receive a 2022 AHEAD grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco for projects that will boost economic development activity and promote financial stability. Community West Bank partnered with FHLBank San Francisco to award a 2022 AHEAD grant totaling $27,500 for the WEV Advancing Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship initiative.
AHEAD economic development grants enable FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions including Community West Bank to fund economic development projects that target pressing community needs and bring greater opportunity to underserved populations. The 2022 AHEAD program awarded a total of $1.5 million in communities throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada. A full list of 2022 AHEAD grants are available on the Bank’s website.
WEV programs provide entrepreneurs with targeted training, consulting, and capital to increase their business management skills, financial acumen, and confidence to create and sustain viable businesses, promote long-term business resiliency, and improve economic security for them and their families.
WEV CEO Kathy Odell says, “This grant Award helps fund our work supporting business growth and the financial health of disadvantaged entrepreneurs.” Odell added that, “in the last two years, we have significantly expanded outreach to business owners of color – particularly Spanish-speakers – by adding bilingual staff and coaches, as well as developing new Spanish-language training programs and resources such as our free mentoring program.”
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).
To support WEV’s work, please visit www.wevonline.org/support.