Marsha Bailey, Founder, Women’s Economic Ventures

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Changing the face of business

I love watching colleagues blossom.Marsha Bailey, Founder, Women's Economic Ventures

Marsha Bailey, a resident of Santa Barbara since receiving her Masters in Communication from UCSB, leads an organization that’s making a difference in the lives of hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs in the region. She’s the founder of Women’s Economic Ventures, which is the outgrowth of an early interest in the feminization of poverty, the suffragette movement and direct experience working in crisis intervention.

She was surprised at her interest in entrepreneurialism and now finds working with women, and some men has been extremely rewarding. In talking about startups and empowering women through this type of education, she mentioned the startup rates are the lowest they’ve been in 35 years and that 60% of millennials want to be self-employed, but only 4% are.

Her interest in empowerment led to a role for the past five years as a member of the National Women’s Business Council in Washington. There, she’s worked on policy, the SBA, with the White House and at the State level.

Her members are in two camps. First, they hit a glass ceiling after acquiring 25 years of experience and want to venture out on their own. Second might be as the result of a significant life transition, divorce, or after an illness. She’s also seeing more younger women now, with many in engineering. This is a great leading indicator of the local economic development challenge we have here.

Something she loves teaching, “How to ask for the business.” Yes, we could all stand some more training in that area.

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