Ventura County scored a coup of sorts last month when the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County was granted the contract to run small business training programs.
The programs, put together under the Small Business Development Center umbrella, are operated out of the Long Beach Community College District. In our region, the EDC-VC will keep a Small Business Development Center office open in Camarillo. It opened July 1.
An earlier SBDC effort, operated by Ventura College, was shut down in December due to lack of funding.
The EDC-VC brings a lot of assets to the table to help small business. It already has a revolving loan program, an outreach effort and a history of helping small companies overcome obstacles.
Under the oversight of President Bruce Stenslie, the EDC-VC has expanded its offerings with assistance programs for manufacturers and all businesses trying to reach global markets.
Santa Barbara will also be served by the new SBDC in Camarillo, and the EDV-VC is looking for a spot to establish a physical presence in the Santa Barbara area.
But the EDC-VC’s success underscores how far advanced the counties of Ventura and San Luis Obispo are in aiding business. Santa Barbara County has floundered for a formula that will provide business and economic development funding on a permanent basis.
Alongside EDC-VC, which is funded through a partnership between county government, city governments and major employers, is the Ventura County Economic Development Association. VCEDA is a membership and educational organization that advocates for business, forges connection with Naval Base Ventura County and puts on its own series of issues-oriented conferences.
In San Luis Obispo, Mike Manchak capably operates the Economic Vitality Corp., a public and privately funded effort that has received funding for a major economic development survey that will give leaders some direction in attracting new jobs.
Santa Barbara has very little in the way of countywide infrastructure for economic development. The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce has led the way, partnering with the city on an economic development effort, including a manufacturing committee that’s been very effective.