Recent WEV grads

Angela Rosales, Very Ventura Gift Shop & Gallery, WEV Client of the Year;

To the crowd of over 220 individuals, Rosales credited WEV with providing her a network of resources and funding that has allowed her business on Main Street in Downtown Ventura to survive and thrive. Rosales shared that, “WEV rallied their financial network, educated us on grants and government programs… they were the first ones offering a low interest bridge loan before many of us business owners even had access to the PPP program.”  Like many local businesses, Rosales’ shop was directly impacted by the Thomas Fire as well as the pandemic shutdown. “If it weren’t for WEV stepping in just at the right time with access to capital, I’m not sure I’d be here today.”

achel Sears Casanta, Hypercat Cycleworks, WEV Resilience Award recipient 2022

Bicycle shop owner Casanta echoed a sentiment of gratitude when she shared her personal and professional story of resilience. She described how the bike shop she owns with her husband was the target of multiple burglaries during the height of COVID, and in 2021 she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. “WEV had my back, with messages of encouragement and financial support. I’ll never forget that; find the silver lining, focus on the positive,” said Casanta who proudly shared that she is now cancer free. Hypercat has been recognized with several industry awards and the business has enjoyed their biggest revenue months ever.

WEV’s CEO, Kathy Odell spoke about the common goal of economically empowering individuals. “The power of a strong, supportive community, where people pitch in and help each other practically, emotionally, and socially, supports mental and physical health. And it enables the entire community to better respond, adapt and recover from adverse events,” said Odell.

Dr. Susan Andrzejewski, CSUCI, Dean at The Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, WEV Partner of the Year.

Proceeds raised at the Empowerment is Priceless event will directly benefit WEV’s business funding and client programs, including financial literacy and education classes, business training courses, individual coaching, and business advisory services – all provided in both English and Spanish.

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