SANTA BARBARA — Local nonprofits Women’s Economic Ventures and Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project have been awarded a $500,000 grant for the 2021 Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development program.
The award is given annually by the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Employment Training Panel to support the entrepreneurship of immigrants. WEV and MICOP plan to use the SEED funding to help support marginalized individuals who face barriers to employment by providing them with entrepreneurial training and micro-grants to start their own businesses in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, according to a statement.
“We are thrilled to partner with MICOP to launch the SEED Program,” WEV CEO Kathy Odell said in a statement. “With MICOP’s expertise in supporting and empowering the indigenous migrant community in our region, and WEV’s history of providing small business training and small business loans to women and other local entrepreneurs, we have the combined expertise to provide our SEED participants with pathways for economic self-sufficiency.”
Together, WEV and MICOP plan to partner in outreach efforts to enroll individuals with limited English proficiency for entrepreneurial skills training. Once completing the training, participants will be eligible to apply for $5,000 micro-grants to start their own small businesses. The SEED program will be conducted over the course of two years, starting with outreach and training among migrant farmworkers in Santa Barbara County in 2021, followed by Ventura County in 2022.
“MICOP is beyond grateful to be part of a partnership with WEV to launch a new and innovative initiative that will recruit and train indigenous migrant entrepreneurs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties,” Arcenio López, executive director of MICOP said in a statement. “MICOP continues to strengthen collaborations that share common values and a vision to create social change. SEED is an exciting opportunity for indigenous migrants to achieve economic equity by supporting visionary indigenous entrepreneurship.”
— Madison Hirneisen